Running the full length of Gui Jie, Beixinqiaosantiao is the main drag in this hutong cluster, and features a string of chuan’r restaurants. Make your way carefully past the searing buckets of coal that line the alleyway to the imaginatively named Leg of Lamb restaurant. Here, you can skip the meat kebabs and go all out with a whole leg of mutton (52RMB per jin). The partially cookedleg (which requires reservations) is brought out and set up to grill on the table. Once the meat’s cooked to perfection (or you just can’t wait any longer), start carving and dig in.
Leg of Lamb 63 Beixinqiaosantiao. Open 11am-midnight daily. (138 0129 3221)
Once you move away from the Beixinqiao subway station, cafés are few and far between – unless you know where to look. This unassuming hutong hotel offers a café that is perfect for relaxing midday with a coffee (20-30RMB).Surprisingly, the hotel also offers its own dark beer, alongside a handful of imported bottles. During the summer months, and especially on blue-sky days, take advantage of the outdoor courtyard space that’s filled with flowers and fresh air.
When the weather’s nice, show up early or you’ll have trouble finding a seat at this tiny bottle shop. You’ll find the usual range of imported beers in the fridges, from Leffe to Brew Dog (30-55RMB), plus Beijing’s everyman cocktail – the mojito (20RMB). Pull up a stool and watch the street fillup as locals pour into the hutong for dinner. If you get peckish, the next-door restaurant usually has bowls of peanuts and edamame for snacking.
19 Beixinqiaosantiao. Open 3pm-midnight Mon-Fri; 3pm-2am Sat-Sun (132 6118 3114)
This spot has earned a reputation as a faux-meat restaurant, but the veggies aren’t the only reason to come here. In fact, the dishes can be hit and miss – stick with the more traditional, straight-up vegetarian offerings. The courtyard also houses an organic shop that sells everything from tea and fruit to plant food, and the front room serves as a café where you can chill out with a pot of tea.
A stone’s throw away from Beixinqiao subway, this brewery serves up coffee and smoothies by day (25-35RMB) and beer and cider when the sun comes down (30-40RMB). As one of the only places in the city brewing their own cider, the fruity concoctions sell out fast so keep an eye out for when they’re on tap.
Lark Brewpub 67 Beixinqiaotoutiao. Open 10am-midnight daily (139 1130 2258).
The colourful bar specialises in daiquiris (the cocktail kind, not the frozen ones) and puts a Latin twist on the rest of their drinks menu – try the Tomas Collins (40RMB) for a refreshing tipple.
Más 25 Beixinqiaotoutiao. Open 6pm-late Tue-Sun (6405 4337)