Apartment bar crawlin'

A block of flats full of cocktail bars, you say? It’s time to move in

Here at Time Out, we love discovering a new bar in Beijing, whether it’s just opened or has been hydrating its customers for years. Even better than discovering one new bar is discovering five, especially when they’re all handily in the same building.

Yolee Plaza on Gongti Bei Lu is obvious from the main road for its Costa Coffee, Pizza Hut and various other uninspiring shopping mall stalwarts. But behind the main mall there are a couple of ordinary-looking apartment blocks, containing some residences, plenty of offices, and, it turns out, a glut of surprising bars. For a bar crawl that feels like an adventure but is also in one building, or just for some cool new spots, head to Yonglee for an eclectic, elevator-heavy evening of fun.

Unit One

Sheung

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With its mellow Ibiza-chill soundtrack, sleek furniture and impressive wine collection, not to mention the quite frankly stunning south-facing views of nighttime Gongti and beyond, Sheung is a cool outsider in the otherwise fussy (but still fab) bars on this crawl. The bar’s motto is 'Life is too short to drink wrong wine', which is one we can all get behind, although there are some bottled beers and available as well. Whatever your tipple, make sure your grab a spot by the floor-to-ceiling windows and soak up that vista.
Room 1707.

Corner Plus

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A raucous, smoky whiskey bar, Corner Plus is a spot to party late into the night at. The cocktails are decent, as is the view, but it’s a tiny space that’s mostly taken up by the well-stocked bar and the harried bartender behind it. This is no bad thing – it just means you’ll be hard-pressed to find a seat, which suits the lively atmosphere of the place. Don’t come here for a quiet drink or a date; do come for a wild, burly night out that will probably lead you to KTV.
Room 1817.

The Secret

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The Secret’s name is misleading – it’s actually one of the most established bars on the Yolee block, spread over two lush south-facing rooms. There are two things to know about The Secret: there is no menu, and it is wholly Frida Kahlo themed. Regarding the first point, the jib is that you just tell the waiter what kind of drink you fancy, and she’ll whip one up for you to the tune of 100RMB a pop, and it’ll be very good. On the second, everywhere you look here is plastered with paintings, figurines or embroideries of Frida. Including the ceiling. We’re not sure why, but we’re into it.
Room 2022.

Also try Knight Bar (621), Dog House (1805), Piqi Craft (2021).

Unit Two

Botany

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Perhaps the only bar on the block to be known by outsiders (or expats), Botany is littered with Time Out Bar and Club awards, and rightly so. The cocktails are the best in Beijing – creative, complex and considered – there’s a good chance you won’t want to leave here and move onto your next joint. You should, because that’s the whole point, but you’ll doubtless find your way back to Botany somehow.
Room 1209.

Manna

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The theme at Manna, for no discernible reason, is deer. Perhaps the founders were going for a hunting lodge vibe, with mounted antlers on the wall and plush leather upholstery, although this is somewhat undermined by the bathtub full of bottles in the bathroom, which is more frat party in ambience. Theme aside, the drinks here, mostly cocktails and whiskeys, are good, if a little pricey at 150RMB-ish each.
Room 1913.

Also try Davinci (1612).

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