A night out in the Gu Lou, Nanluoguxiang and Hou Hai area is a night of culture, charm and mom and pop shop cafes and bars. You aren't likely to find any big business here. With a view of Hou Hai Lake for some, or of the famous Nanluoguxiang historical hutong alleyway for others, these bars are all small, cultural and chic. These are not one-night stops, these establishments become your favorite places in Beijing overnight, and remain the places you want to return to time and again.
On Nanluoguxiang, the culturally hutong community alleyway, you'll find adorable little bars like Ned's, an Aussie-owned and themes watering hole that specializes in giant mugs of Jack and coke. Pass By Bar, towards the southern end of Nanluoguxiang, is a prime example of a cultural hutong cafe and bar where you can either get a delicious meal or else drink from a menu that spans several pages. Salud, a Latin-American themed rum bar displays an impressive amount of rum-based knowledge and several home brews. With two floors, you'll be able to watch the establishment fill up on weekend to standing room only. The bartenders are flashy and vibrant, and make drinking there a blast.
Hou Hai Lake has several stand out bars, namely Lotus Blue, which is a delicate blend of Thai food, Belgian comic book characters and a fully-stocked Western bar. You'll love the view, adore the decor and find yourself returning again and again for the atmosphere. Huxley's, down a back alley around the lake, is a low-key, hostel-like establishment where you are just as likely to meet your new best friend as have a quiet night updating your diary. Hai Bar and Hope Bar are local Chinese favorites near the lake where you can get a cheap drink, hang out with locals and even learn their famous dice betting game.
Gu Lou has a few impressive bars as well, namely Mao Livehouse, which is a club/bar that looks more like it would be at home in downtown Detroit than in Beijing. You'll find several adorable shops, cafes and bars nearby, including a vampire-themes alleyway bar around the corner from Mao.
Adorable travel-focused cafe and bar... read more
51-6 Di'anmen Dajie
Homage to Herge, and the best spot for HouHai lakeside dining... read more
16 Yandai Xiejie
No nonsense bar with very low prices... read more
20 Hou Hai Nan
West of Yinding Bridge
Nan Luogu Xiang 66
Home-brewed rum, dancing and tapas!... read more