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The 8 Best Nightspots in Beijing

By Chris Boyle

Face Bar

You’ll find that as the sun goes down, Beijing is only just getting started. Watch as the city becomes an urban jungle of trendy bars and exclusive nightclubs far more extravagant and opulent than anything in the West.

For something more cultural, enjoy a Chinese opera or symphony at the beautifully designed National Center for Performing Arts or enjoy something different with a night boat tour. With so much to see and do, you might just be out all night.


Beijing Opera Show

The Beijing Opera Show is an introduction to Peking Opera’s many forms, presenting the audience with a taste of Chinese cultures, and unfolding stories from history and art.

For foreigners who aren’t used to hearing it, Peking Opera, with its unique pitches and affectations, is unlike anything in the West — a theatrical form you will either love or hate. However, regardless of your understanding of the singing, everyone can enjoy the exquisite costumes, dramatic gestures, acrobatic fighting and other spectacular theatrical aspects distinctive of the Peking Opera. Visitors can enjoy this show while sampling traditional Chinese hors d’oeuvres and sipping tea. Private tables can be booked.

+86 10 8402 3595

Beijing Theatre Cultural & Development Co. Ltd., A3306 Dongya Wangjing Centre, Chaoyang District

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For the couple with a sense of adventure, this romantic ride starts around 8.30pm and is a magical experience.

A car brings visitors to the River Romance Dock located at Lotus Market, where a fleet of traditional Chinese river boats are docked. Each has its own boatman, ready to take you on a moonlit cruise through Old Beijing. You’ll be able to enjoy tea and snacks on the boat along with the sweet music of Chinese stringed and woodwind instruments, and will experience a peek into the daily lives of local people in the old parts of the city.

+86 138 1154 5162

China Industrial International Center, Fourth Ring Road


The newest addition to the circle of bars and venues that encircle the Worker’s Stadium, The House is cool for one reason only: its ultra-glam rooftop bar.

This is the place to be when the days are warm and the sun has gone down. VIP tables and a bottle service at The House can be booked for the ultimate summertime party experience.

+86 10 6552 6661

North Gate, Worker’s Stadium, Chaoyang District

Night Tour of the CCTV Tower


Completed in time for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, this is the best place in Beijing to get a bird’s-eye-view of the city.

The highest point of the CCTV (China Central Television) tower is 1,329 feet (405 meters) tall, making it the fifth highest tower in the world. The TV Culture Hall takes you on a quick journey through the central Chinese broadcasting network’s past and present. Best of all, there is a rotating dining hall serving international cuisines, at a more manageable 725 feet (221 meters) above the ground, where you can enjoy dinner while taking in a slowly spinning 360-degree view of the glittering metropolis. The restaurant creates an elegant and romantic atmosphere whilst gently revolving every 90 minutes.

+86 10 6716 0201 ext. 1006

2001-1-1, Nanxiaojie Guangqumen, Chongwen District


Punk is The Opposite House’s pulsating, provocative late night bar and club.

The antithesis of everything you know about hotel bars, this is where luxury goes underground. From the latest dance beats to classic punk rock mixes, this place is all about the sounds and where you’ll catch renowned DJs from Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and all around the region playing the sets that made their names. Music aside, it is known for its incredibly well-designed stylish interior (a mixture of urban and neo-Gothic design encased in a glass shell) and for serving some of the best cocktails on the Beijing bar scene. Favorites include the Lychee Martini and the Jasmine Iced Tea, a mix of vodka, whiskey and jasmine tea with a cinnamon garnish. Punk is always host to a hip and happening crowd, especially on Fridays, so dress to impress.

+86 10 6410 5222

The Opposite House, 11 Sanlitun Road, Chaoyang District


This is unequivocally the hottest, hippest, most extravagant nightspot in all of Beijing. Designed by Philippe Starck and taking up an entire level of the LG towers, Lan features an upscale restaurant, a special cocktail bar, an oyster bar and 35 private VIP lounge rooms, where Beijing’s celebutante, jet set crowd preen, pose, sip champagne and dance the night away in tune to the zeitgeist of their emerging country.

Interiors at Lan include paintings hung on the ceiling and toilets in which every imaginable surface is mirrored. Lan is the highest of high-class in Beijing and popular among entertainment industry up-and-comers, so keep your eyes open for the regular CCTV presenter or Korean movie star. Check their website to see what’s going on — the venue is frequently booked for art shows, fashion events and exclusive launch parties. And no matter what, don’t leave Beijing without spending a night wrapped up in its mad hatter world of decadence.

+86 10 5109 6012

4th Floor, LG Twin Towers, 12B Jianguomenwai Avenue, Chaoyang District


Xiu is, without a doubt, the brightest light on the Beijing nightlife scene right now. Xiu was awarded 2010 Best Bar of the Year by Time Out Beijing and voted “The Bar with the Most Beautiful People” in The Beijinger’s 2010 Bar & Club Awards.

Half palatial indoor lounge and half rooftop terrace wonderland, Xiu’s spectacular ambiance is matched only by its divine cocktails —the Grand Marnier cosmo is especially fab. Xiu’s sprawling open-air patio is the Beijing socialite and celebutante’s selfexhibition hall of choice, with water flowing around the terrace’s sharp edges, giving the impression of a colossal Chinese pavilion suspended in the clouds. This is the place that everyone seems to be talking about and, when it comes to rumors, everything you’ve heard is true, from the strictly glamorous door policy (dress in your best) to the celebrity clientele. A number of VIP rooms and tables are available for private parties or bookings.

+86 10 8567 1838

6th Floor, Park Life, Yintai Centre, 2 Jianguomenwai Street, Choayang District


This bar is lush and opulent, inspired by the Silk Road and filled with exotic antiques.

A trendy and diverse crowd flocks to Face Bar each night for its excellent cocktail menu, stunning décor, and lovely outdoor patio space, making it a top spot in Beijing. Face Bar also has an indoor hall which can be booked if you’re inclined to host a private affair. If not, simply relax instead on one of the antique opium-den-style daybeds in the bar area with a few friends and toast away your troubles like a Silk Road traveler after a long day’s journey.

+86 10 6551 6788

26 Dong Cao Yuan, Gongti South Road, Chaoyang District


Vics is an old standard of Beijing nightlife, one of the largest and most impressive clubs in the capital with two dance floors and a range of private rooms and VIP areas available for private bookings.

Local nightlife scenesters frequently rave about the DJs, who play a varied mix of genres, though predominantly Hip Hop and R&B. The club also brings in big-name performers from time to time, including the likes of Fat Joe, and has been featured on the E! Channel. This joint is diverse, young and loved by the city’s fashion industry insiders, who host a monthly private party here. Having been around for ten years now but newly renovated, Vics has proven it never goes out of fashion to dance night away. It is the place to see and be seen. Not just a club, it’s a Beijing institution. Let there be (purple) light.

+86 10 6553 4392

North Gate, Worker’s Stadium, Chaoyang District

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