The Forbidden City
As Beijing progresses in the 21st Century, its nightlife is following suit. With Bars and clubs springing up in a burgeoning scene of white-collar workers increasingly wanting to relax with drinks and dancing. Beijing’s main areas for nightlife are listed below.
Ladies' Street: This area is situated off Liang Ma Qiao Lu, a short distance north of the Kempinski Hotel and embassies of Israel, Japan, ROK and USA. By day it has some fashion shops, as its name suggests, but it is also home to some interesting new bars, restaurants and clubs.
Wudaokou: Where most of the foreign and local university students hang out. There are a number of bars and restaurants, which serve a great variety of wine, beer and liquor for cheap. This area is also well known for its huge Korean population and a good place to find Korean food.
Dashanzi: Beijing's new trendy art zone, out north of the Lido hotel, this old warehouse and factory district has been taken over by art galleries, art shops and bars. Well worth the trip to experience the cutting edge of the Beijing art scene. Also known as Factory 798.
Zhengyici Theatre: Originally an ancient temple, this ornately decorated building is the oldest wooden theatre in the country and the best place in the city to experience Beijing opera and other operatic disciplines like Kunqu. Restored by a private businessman with an interest in reviving this dying art, the theatre reopened in 1995 after a long period of disrepair.
Guangfuguan Greenhouse: This laid-back place on the bar-cluttered Yandai Xijie gets top marks for novelty. Formerly the Guangfuguan Taoist Temple (according to the characters carved on the lintel above the arched doorway), the shrine has been requisitioned for the city's exploding bar scene and simply decked out with art posters. The temple's roof guardians are still intact and the presence of religious statues reminds visitors that they drink on sacred turf
World of Suzie Wong: Recently reopened after renovations, Suzie Wong's décor still screams Shanghai opium-den and attracts Beijing's most beautiful people with house, techno, pop and rock. Get here early if you want one of the kang-style, low-level beds stacked with pillows. The club entrance is south of Chaoyang Park. Suzie is on the second floor.
Drum & Bell: In the alley between the Drum and Bell Towers, this bar's staff is among the friendliest in town. The comfy rooftop terrace is loaded with couches and armchairs and in summer, regulars camp out here until closing.