After one of the most brutal Beijing winters in living memory with far more snow and subzero temperatures than is frankly necessary, the warmer weather is finally starting to come to Beijing. May is a great time of the year in Beijing because it hasn’t gotten so hot that you just want to live in a fridge, but is still warm enough to sit outside in the day and often in the evening as well. Here are my five picks for the best places to begin the warmer season with tasty food and cooling drinks.
Nothing says summer is coming quite as much as palm trees, Mojitos and a Caribbean theme. This is why once the weather clears up it is imperative to start visiting Kokomo. Although not the hippest place in town as it once was before the bar scene exploded, this Sanlitun stalwart still has one of the best rooftop terraces in town and the drinks are reliable and reasonably priced. Sundays are a great time to visit with their BBQ deals and DJ’s spinning relaxing tunes from early afternoon.
Q Bar is not just one of the best places to get reliably poured, good-value cocktails, but as the weather gets better its roof terrace is a great place to while away an evening with a date or a quiet chat with friends. Being on top of a hotel means it offers great views and an outdoor vibe for those who enjoy great visuals with their martinis.
For an even more upmarket vibe, you can try Shui Bar in the Westin Beijing Financial Street. This restaurant and bar isn’t cheap, but it offers great views whether you sit on the open air terrace or in the restaurant itself. It’s great for a special occasion or for a date at this time of the year.
If you want a more raucous and raw atmosphere, then 2 Kolegas is a great option for outdoor events towards the end of the month when things really start to heat up. It’s basic rock chic and great outdoor area means you can enjoy some of Beijing’s finest underground acts with a cheap rum and coke al fresco.