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.
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.
Mas: tropical-themed cocktail bar near Beixinqiao subway station. A decent-sized porch and the relative solitude of the street provide ample opportunity for daydreaming of white beaches while sipping on one of the 30-plus cocktails on offer.
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
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.
Great Leap Brewing Original #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.
If you’ve had enough of slick cocktail bars, head down to Cellar Door
for a bit of rough-and-tumble. Almost so homely you’ll forget you’re in an actual bar, Cellar Door is a friendly spot to kick back. When the sun is shining, it spills out onto the basic but comfortable outdoor seating area.
, meaning ’The Nest’ in Spanish, has a couple of outdoor benches and tables to house its overflowing revellers. Alongside a decent wine selection, it also offers an impressive array of imported beers.
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
Blue Stream Bar
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.