Think that Wudaoying Hutong is too popular? Check out its neighbours for plenty of secret shops and wonderful beers
One of the sweetest little shops in the Fangjia area, this store has a narrow focus but a wide selection of goods. Paper fans, paper lanterns, wrapping paper, notebooks – if it’s made from pulped trees, Paper Talk is all about it. Very useful for Beijing’s arts and crafts set, but absolutely worth a browse if you just happen to like pretty things.
Paper Talk 12 Fangjia Hutong, Dongcheng district. Open 9am-6pm daily. (8403 8935).
What it lacks in (ironically) space, this munchkin-sized art gallery makes up for in quirky style, thanks to its stock of prints and postcards featuring fun artwork from Chinese artists. Curiously, it is also the base of operations for Vamp Utopia, a Chinese-language yearly publication about vampires.
Mi Space 51 Fangjia Hutong, Dongcheng district. Open 1.30-9pm daily. (6405 5477).
Translating as ‘The Nest’, this is indeed a gathering place for birds of a feather: specifically, folks with a taste for imported beers, from the British Samuel Smith’s to all manner of Belgian and German offerings. There’s also outside seating and a supply of wines and nibbles if beer’s not your thing.El Nido 59 Fangjia Hutong, Dongcheng district. Open 5pm-late daily. (8402 9495).
Based just off the popular Wudaoying Hutong, Station is a new café, bar and boutique design shop. Yep, it seems like multitasking is in this season, so grab an orange juice (or a bottle of beer if you’re feeling naughty) and either browse the handmade ladies’ fashions on offer or soak up the seasonal sunshine in the seating area outside. Bespoke garments are also available.Station 20 Jianchang Hutong, Dongcheng district. Open 11am-10pm daily. (6402 9115)