The best hutong bars for outdoor drinking

From beer gardens to rooftop terraces and street-side stools

Photo: Shuo Jin / Flickr
Although some people tend to forget it in their PM2.5-inflicted depression, Beijing does not always resemble a post-apocalyptic Mordor. With spring upon us, the flowers aren’t the only things blooming: formerly cramped hutong bars also burst into life like butterflies escaping their cocoons, spewing stools and tables out onto the streets.

Here follows a list of bars at which you can simultaneously raise your Vitamin D and blood alcohol levels without having to inhale too many exhaust fumes from the ring roads.

Baochao Hutong



A favourite among local Francophiles and swing dance fans, Modernista returned to the Beijing bar scene in 2015 newly renovated and twice the size. Gifted with a small terrace, this place is a good spot for daytime elbow-benders as the outside premises are forbidden territory after 8pm (neighbour guanxi).


Hippo Beer Shop


As the flags from around the globe indicate, Hippo Beer Shop is an internationally minded venue with the imported beers to match. During the warmer seasons tables and chairs flow from the bar and occupy the street to the delight of sun-starved bar patrons and despair of motorised traffic.




Mai cocktail bar peddles a range of expertly made cocktails and boasts a wee courtyard with room for a handful of patrons – perfect for a small group of friends on a warm summer's eve.

The Other Place

the other place

A cosy bar and café with a nice courtyard located in a quiet space just off Beiluoguxiang. With a decent range of beers and cocktails and a smooth soundtrack, The Other Place place is equally fit for boozing in the sun or diving into your book with a cup of coffee.

Dianmenwai Daijie

Great Leap Brewing Original #6

great leap 6

The original brewpub from one of Beijing's principal brewing institutions, Great Leap #6 is an unassuming little boozer with no-nonsense, high-quality beer and a spacious outdoor beer garden.

Jianchang Hutong



The capital’s take on a British gastropub also allows for some scant seating outside. If you succeed in fighting your way to one of the seats, Stuff'd is a good spot for people-watching, given its proximity to neighbouring Wudaoying Hutong, all while stuffing your face with homemade sausages and ales from Arrow Factory Taproom next door.

Jiugulou Dajie

Blue Stream Bar

blue stream

Although not exactly a hutong bar, Blue Stream Bar is a perfect place to take a breather after some strolling around the Gulou area. Blues and folk acts entertain downstairs on a small stage, but the real treat is the cosy roof terrace providing an awesome view of the Drum and Bell Towers.

Read more

Spring in Beijing

Spring is finally here! Take advantage of the warmer weather and get outdoors

Read more
  • 4 out of 5 stars