Time Out Bar & Club Award winners 2015

We unveil Beijing's best bars and clubs in 2015 as awarded by our editors and readers

leftDiscover the best bars, clubs and nightlife spots in the city as decided by Time Out and you.

As well as a winner and a merit award chosen by Time Out's expert panel of judges, Time Out Beijing's 2015 Bar & Club Awards includes a readers' choice in each category, as voted by our readers.

Check out the full list of winners by category below.
Find Beijing's most reliable spots to catch the game on a weekly basis. We unveil Beijing's best sports bars of 2015, as decided by our editors and readers in the Bar & Club Awards 2015.


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This Irish bar takes sports as seriously as it does pulling perfect pints of Guinness. With what must be the city’s highest screen-to-sqm ratio, this Irish bar shows every major game on – and all at the same time.

They don’t discriminate, either. In addition to more popular sports, Paddy O’Shea’s even accommodates Beijing’s burgeoning e-sports fan base, with weekly live streams of the most hotly contested video game competitions.

Paddy’s also sponsors nine local sports teams, everything from the Beijing Celtics to the Hash House Harriers (‘a drinking club with a running problem’), to a handball team without a name, ensuring a steady stream of sport lovers and an exuberant crowd.


Merit Award The Local


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Aiming to be your neighbourhood local (hence the name), the team here are keen to please and can seemingly show anything. Gather enough people and ask the owners nicely enough and you should be able to get your game screened. At nearly three metres across, their projection screen is the next best thing to actually being in the stadium. Catch the Aussie Rules here and you’ll feel like you’re Down Under.


Readers' Choice Paddy O'Shea's

Find Beijing's hidden away hotspots worth seeking out. We unveil Beijing's best hutong bars of 2015, as decided by our editors and readers in the Bar & Club Awards 2015.


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Great Leap Brewing Original #6 sums up perfectly what it means to be a hutong bar – a cosy, laidback courtyard drinking hole stolen away in the winding alleyways of Gulou. The now-classy space has come a long way since the bar’s humble beginnings – its original ramshackle interior was retrofitted to look more like the brewery’s flagship brewpub, and this autumn saw a facelift for the courtyard. Original #6 has got the charm of the hutongs, with the polish of professionalism and a steady stream of inventive beer out the taps. Friend in town? Take them here for modern China in a nutshell.


Merit 4corners


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It could be said that 4Corners hides multiple personalities within its warren of rooms. When taken as a whole, its bar, restaurant, music and courtyard space combine to form an ultra-hip hangout. Weekly open mics, quiz nights and storytelling sessions plus banging live music on the weekends make it a Gulou destination.


From whiskey to Baijiu, these watering holes have got you covered. We unveil Beijing's best specialist spirit bars of 2015, as decided by our editors and readers in the Bar & Club Awards 2015.


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Since summer 2014, Capital Spirits has changed the way we view China’s most iconic spirit, baijiu. Boasting over 50 varieties from all over the country, the team at Capital Spirits has tailored the notion of a ‘specialist spirit’ bar into a unique, only-in-Beijing experience. Knowledgeable bartenders are there to guide you through your first (or tenth) baijiu experience, with 12 different tasting flights on offer.



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The Distillery is another bright spot for speciality spirits. Championing gin as its spirit of choice, with 40 international varieties presented, the drinks nerds behind the bar are also experimenting with distilling their own alcohol, and offer a rotating selection of house-made options including classic, seasonal and ‘with Chinese characteristics’.


Luxury lounge bars, stunning roof terraces, sophisticated cocktails and more. We unveil Beijing's best hotel bars of 2015, as decided by our editors and readers in the Bar & Club Awards 2015.


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Open 24 hours a day, Centro is a legend in nightlife circles. In a town where people love the latest thing, Centro has stood the test of time. That’s no mean feat, when the cool kids look down on hotel bars as not being real enough. Centro keeps it real, though. The cocktail program is solid and expansive, they throw parties that never end and they’ve been known to host a world-renowned guest bartender or two. Plus, and it’s a big plus, the happy hour is maybe the best in the city. Centro is going to outlast us all.



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Xian reinvented the wheel for hotel bars by offering everything under one roof over at East Beijing. There’s vibes for everyone, from frat boys chugging beers and playing foosball to eurotrash poseurs wearing sunglasses and trying not to bop to the band. It’s a place to let your hair down, and people do. Especially at the wild bashes. Xian has put Jiuxianqiao on the map.



Find Beijing speakeasies, inventive creations and fun twists on classic concoctions. We unveil Beijing's best cocktail bars of 2015, as decided by our editors and readers in the Bar & Club Awards 2015.



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Since opening in the summer, Infusion Room has quickly become plan A for anyone who’s about the drinks. The menu’s imaginative and unlike anything else in town, while the intimate surrounds have echoes of its former factory life and hit just the right blend of classy yet casual. Think The Kombu Soup, a clever riff on a dirty martini with a salty water spray, virgin olive oil and Japanese kelp; or Papa’s Childhood, which is reminiscent of a Beijing breakfast with homemade soy milk, whisky, wild honey and sesame sauce.



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A heavyweight in the cocktail scene right out the gate since opening in 2012, this classy two-floor dive keeps raising the bar. Co-owner Warren Pang continues to be one of the more brilliant minds in the city’s cocktail scene, supported by a strong team of the next generation, including one-to-watch Sunny Sun. Glamorously tricked out in woodpanelling, leather banquettes and polished concrete floors, it certainly isn’t a bad place to sip on an Old Fashioned.


Readers’ Choice Infusion Room


Where to sip good pints of Beijing's best ales, beers and ciders. We unveil Beijing's best microbrewery taprooms of 2015, as decided by our editors and readers in the Bar & Club Awards 2015.


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Great Leap Brewing #45 Brewpub has nailed the perfect combo of everything we want in a taproom – a relaxed, airy atmosphere, some killer greasy grub and a top-notch leafy rooftop patio for the warmer months. Oh yeah, and heaps of beers rotating on draft with a guest tap from different breweries around the world each month.



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Relative new kid on the block Jing A Brewing Taproom took Beijing by storm last autumn and hasn’t let up since. Besides offering what we all now expect (a solid roster of their own brews, a gorgeous space, enough bar bites to stave off that hangover), it’s like the Jing A crew can’t get over finally having a home of their own. Nearly every month sees another new event or collaboration at the taproom, whether a pop-up kitchen or a fun run where everyone chugs beer and runs a mile.


Readers’ Choice Jing A Brewing Taproom


Beijing's best club and theme nights for a polysexual crowd. We unveil Beijing's best LGBT nights of 2015, as decided by our editors and readers in the Bar & Club Awards 2015.

Winner Funky


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Yet again, Funky – the Mainland’s slickest LGBT venue – has risen magnificently above itself this year, setting standards for entertainment, theme nights and music that are honestly hard to beat. Particular highlights in 2015 were innovations on global circuit parties, including the White Party, Neon Rainbows and Songkran. By borrowing what works elsewhere (well-groomed pan-global gogo boys, cutting-edge beats and a three-tier interior comprising lounge, terrace and dance pit), and cutting loose what doesn’t (carpet, foam, or a combination of the two), Funky’s winning formula keeps packing the hotties to the rafters every weekend. This place would be a class act on the scene of any world city. In Beijing, it’s an effing miracle.


Merit Les Booze


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Les Booze has done what many thought was impossible – become a self-sustaining social and dance night for girls who love girls that is so successful it’s on the eve of launching a second franchise. China’s lalas, both local and foreign, have lacked a hangout they can call their own for so long that when Les Booze came along, nobody gave it a chance. Instead, the organisers have learned what works, and coordinated what might be one of the friendliest and most laid-back nights in town. No wonder that, gay, bi or straight, Beijing’s ladies have kept coming back for more.


Readers’ Choice Les Booze

The capital's top spinners and decksmiths. We unveil Beijing's best DJs in 2015, as decided by our editors and readers in the Bar & Club Awards 2015.

Winner DJ Watermelon


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Despite a strong track record of spinning for nearly a decade, DJ Watermelon may not be the first name you think of. That may be because of his 14 years abroad with stints in Japan and Korea. Recently returned to Beijing in 2013, Watermelon has spent the last two years building steam and dropping the funkiest beats. He’s been the leading force in the Full Time Chillers Crew. Now, you’ll find him at all hottest parties around, opening for the likes of DJ Shadow and DJ Krush.


Merit DJ Weng Weng


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The main man behind underground club Lantern, DJ Weng Weng has been a huge part of Beijing’s electronic scene for over a decade. Over the years, he’s kept Lantern firmly dedicated techno and underground house in a climate where EDM and generic pop is the stock standard. He also co-founded Acupuncture Records, the label that went on to pioneer electronic music fixtures like Intro Festival – which incidentally, Weng Weng saved this past year.


Readers’ Choice DJ Weng Weng

Parties with big names, funky tunes, a buzzing crowd and more. We unveil Beijing's best club nights of 2015, as decided by our editors and readers in the Bar & Club Awards 2015.

Winner Syndicate Sessions


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In their eleventh year of parties, the bass-loving Syndicate crew have done everything from hosting festival stages at the Great Wall Party and Intro to presenting international talent like Doc Scott, Om Unit and Sam Binga this year. Syndicate’s near-monthly club night Syndicate Sessions never fails to impress wherever it’s popping off around town, with the group’s talented crew – like Blackie.


Merit Neon Zoo


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Neon Zoo has also been going strong for nearly three years and always packs the house at underground alternative club Lantern. This Day-Glo mad bunch of party animals, led by the NB Noise gang of Danny Flora, El-Mar Bengal and Sasha Zhou, features a ‘strictly EDM free’ music policy, so get ready for everything deep, progressive and with a serious house vibe. With a rotating line-up of guest DJs, the night also presents the wackiest surprises, with experimental UV light technology, body paint and everything in between.


Readers’ Choice Street Kids

Raised dancefloors, confetti cannons, bottle service and more. We unveil Beijing's best mainstream clubs of 2015, as decided by our editors and readers in the Bar & Club Awards 2015.

Winner Sir Teen


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Jaw-droppingly supersized with a lightshow not to be challenged, the party is always on at Sir Teen. Even on Sunday, the crowd is heaving and the EDM is keyed up to 11. With names like LMFAO’s Redfoo and electronic duo DVBBS making appearances this year, this newcomer has invested in bringing over big-name acts.


Merit Spark


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Even the city’s mainstream clubbing mainstays are keeping it fresh. Spark in The Place has always been a staple among the city’s nightlife tastemakers, bringing in artists like will.i.am and Lil Jon in years past. This summer, the space got a refresh and has already brought some uber cool artists, like Sander van Doorn, and a random guest celebrity slot from footballer Rio Ferdinand. Expect more to come in 2016.


Readers’ Choice Elements

The top homes of alternative clubbing nights out in the city. We unveil Beijing's best alternative clubs of 2015, as decided by our editors and readers in the Bar & Club Awards 2015.

Winner Dada


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Can you count how many times you’ve burst out of the black box of debauchery that is Dada only to discover the glint of the first morning rays on your sweat-encrusted mug? Us neither. But if you can count because the answer is zero, then you are doing something seriously wrong. Pulling in what feels like more high-profile guest DJs than the rest of the city combined, this indie club has played host to names like Traxman and Lady Chann this year. Entry charges are minimal even for big billings and frequently free when local crews headline, with a youthful and enthusiastic crowd packing the dancefloor every weekend. It’s small, it’s grimy, it’s the only club in town where you can’t book a table, and we love it.



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Year after year, Spanish party house Migas continues to fuel the summer with top-tier cocktails, an unparalleled rooftop specially renovated each season, and some of the best clubbing in the city. Winter’s hardly different, just minus the open-air terrace from the equation. Music director Jeff Hinson collaborates regularly with some of the city’s coolest promoters like Street Kids, and has brought in international acts including Roland Clark and Crazy P.


Readers’ Choice Lantern

 
The best places to rock out. We unveil Beijing's best live music venues of 2015, as decided by our editors and readers in the Bar & Club Awards 2015.


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Dusk Dawn Club (DDC) has been steadily making a name for itself since it opened in the summer of 2014, wowing Beijing rock regulars with its exquisite courtyard interior, wide selection of whiskies and craft beers, and varied roster of shows. This year, it distinguished itself with bold, eclectic programming that ranged from modern jazz to Nordic pop, challenging both audiences and musicians to reach outside their comfort zones. Perhaps just as important: it’s doggone pleasant, which is a welcome change for anyone who doesn’t appreciate the dive scene.



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Repping a more down ‘n’ dirty approach to rock, School Live Bar continued its streak of near-bulletproof programming, hosting week after week of no-holds-barred punk and rock shows featuring some of the best talent Beijing – and occasionally, other cities – has to offer. But School doesn’t just excel at hosting boozy, rambunctious gigs; the venue has a knack for identifying and nurturing talented young artists, and this year was no exception.


Readers’ Choice School Live Bar

These new drinking holes most impressed Time Out Beijing over the past twelve months. We unveil Beijing's best newcomers of 2015, as decided by our editors and readers in the Bar & Club Awards 2015.


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Since opening in the summer, this cocktail bar has quickly become plan A for anyone who’s about the drinks. The menu’s imaginative and unlike anything else in town, while the intimate surrounds have echoes of its former factory life and hit just the right blend of classy yet casual.


Merit Hush


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In the club scene, small but mighty Hush took over Gongti last autumn as Beijing’s first ‘hip-hop champagne room’ – all words we like. Sure, you can get the latest top 40 bangers and Usher remixes at any of its neighbours, but this isn’t the kind of hip-hop that Hush is about. Hush spins the classics and R&B, and it’s all about the vibes and VIPs – with major celebs, like Matt Damon in the summer, rolling through on the regular.


Readers’ Choice Jing A Brewing Taproom

 

Check out Time Out's favourite Beijing drinking hole. We unveil Beijing's best bars of 2015, as decided by our editors and readers in the Bar & Club Awards 2015.


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Beijing’s come a long way from not so long ago when ‘cocktail’ once meant a watery G&T, and probably with fake booze at that, but the team over at Infusion Room is straight-up skyrocketing us into the future. With head bartenders Paul Hsu and Kevin Song at the helm, this intimate bar in south Sanlitun boasts the city’s most forward-thinking cocktail menu, expertly executed. 



Great Leap Brewing #12 Brewpub

Two years after opening, Great Leap Brewing #12 Brewpub still pulls no punches. Looking for a lively drinking atmosphere? Weekends or weeknights, this is your stop. The sleek interior and rough finish makes even the messiest night feel more reputable, and both drink and service are put out with consistent professionalism. The flagship taproom continues to be Great Leap’s crown jewel and an all-round marker of what Beijing nightlife has the potential to be. We can drink to that.

Readers’ Choice Infusion Room

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