Time Out Bar & Club Awards 2016: the shortlist

Preview the shortlist of nominees in Time Out's 2016 Bar & Club Awards

1605349580Take a look at the nominees up for the Time Out Beijing Bar & Club Awards 2016 with our shortlist of entries in each category, including best new bar, best club night, best live music venue, best hutong bar and more.

Click through the list below for the shortlisted venues or events in each category.




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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 live music on the weekends make it a Gulou destination.


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A small, ramshackle courtyard with bags of character, Amilal is the archetypal hidden hutong gem. Hodgepodge antique furniture, original architectural features and the occasional impromptu jam on traditional Chinese instruments from regulars make Amilal stand out from the generic crowd. The bar is lined with a selection of whisky, including some rarer bottles – somehow priced at 50RMB. 


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This one-of-a-kind baijiu bar boasts a rustic, elegantly lit space decorated with a smattering of well-chosen antiques. If you can set aside your preconceptions about baijiu long enough to get in the front door, Capital Spirits will change the way you think about what is now the most widely produced spirit in the world.

The Distillery

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The second project from the guys behind baijiu bar Capital Spirits, The Distillery is a more refined, keyed-up version of the flagship and has wasted no time making a name for itself.

As the name suggests, the real draw is the house-made liquor. The bar’s first available in-house spirit is a heady, full-bodied beast of a gin and it also boasts a fine collection of speciality gins from around the world.


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This tiny bar (even for hutong standards) might be decidedly laidback, but don’t think for a moment that the team don’t take their drinks seriously. In what has become the bar’s unofficial tagline, they serve ‘serious drinks for not so serious people’ – and they aren’t kidding. Fang has quickly made a name for itself for its signature cocktails and house specialities.


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The original in the Great Leap series, this hidden hutong gem is a microbrewery pub serving delicious Beijing-brewed draught beer. It's an ideal summertime location with an iconic courtyard, but also a cosy, recently renovated interior for cold winter nights. A reminder of Great Leap's humble beginnings.


Mala Mule

This trendy hutong cocktail spot has remained a mainstay on the scene for over six years thanks to its inventive creations and fun twists on the classics. The prices are some of the best in the city (most cocktails 40-50RMB) with popular Wednesday night specials from 35RMB bringing in quite the crowd. Signature drinks like the Mala Mule and the Sichuan Highway were some of the first cocktails in the city to popularise the use of local ingredients.


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A Latin-inspired hutong tapas and cocktail bar specialising in daiquiris. The 30-plus strong cocktail menu means there's always something to tickle your fancy and the trio of owners are particularly warm and affable. On summertime evenings, Mas hosts outdoor barbecues and attracts a loyal following of Beixinqiao locals.

Modernista

Over the years, Parisian-styled bar Modernista has attracted a loyal crowd with a programme of live music and creative events – not to mention a vast selection of absinthe to keep things interesting. After shutting up shop for four months in early 2015, the europhile favourite returned bigger than before – in fact, doubling in size – with a new jazzy cocktail bar slinging a number of seasonal signature cocktails and loads more space for dancing and live music.

Ron Mexico

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Ron Mexico is a snug, two-storey neighbourhood whisky and cocktail bar packed with community feels and palpable cheer. It's the only bar in the city to serve locally brewed Buzz beer (25RMB a bottle); a far superior alternative to your Tiger or Tsingtao. Ron's also got you covered if you're after something craftier by way of a fetch-your-own fridge at the entrance. Choose from a list of seasonal cocktails or go ahead and create your own.


Tiki

The Bahama hat-clad team at Bungalow brought something truly new to Beijing when they first opened their doors last year, expertly mixing up fixtures from the '30s and '40s that launched the tiki drink trend in southern California. The menu features over 60 different drinks, many of which are found nowhere else in the city. If you close your eyes and pound back a few happy hour cocktails, you might just believe you're on a sun-lounger by the sea.

Arrow Factory

The second location from the Arrow Factory Brewing team upped the ante in Bejing's craft beer scene when it opened with a bang early this year. An upgrade from the tiny (but popular) tasting room off Wudaoying Hutong, the large onsite brewing operation at the Liangmaqiao digs always delivers on fresh, tasty and perfectly chilled beer. Take a pint up to the rooftop terrace for a view of Liangma River.


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This tiny taproom nestled behind the stalwart Wudaoying house of sausages Stuff'd serves everything from IPAs to stouts from the brewery started by owners Thomas Gaestadius and Will Yorke (also founder of Vineyard Cafe down the road).

Great Leap Brewing Original #6

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The original in the Great Leap series, this hutong gem is a microbrewery pub serving delicious Beijing-brewed draught beer. It's an ideal summertime location with an iconic courtyard, but also a cosy, recently renovated interior for cold winter nights. A reminder of Great Leap's humble beginnings.


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If you're looking for a lively atmosphere any night of the week, just follow the punters through the imposing iron door into bearded brewman Carl Setzer’s flagship microbrewery. It's a re-imagined gastropub for a Beijing audience. Think long wooden benches, soft lighting and one of the best burgers in Beijing.

Great Leap Brewing Brewpub #45

GLB45 pizza

What sets Great Leap #45 apart from the rest is pizza and of course, frosty pints of excellent craft beer. Where pizza and beer in Beijing once meant Yanjing and a triangle of spongy toast coated with ketchup and ‘dairy product’, a beacon of gloriously browned crusts and robust sauce has emerged. The interior is keeping with the brand's other taprooms, but the upstairs terrace is unique among the city's craft brewing outlets.


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What was originally marketed as a four-month long pop-up experiment two years ago became one of Sanlitun's hottest drinking destinations. The team behind the operation is energetic and full of enthusiasm – and it shows. Birthday parties, going-away parties – hell, even engagement parties – it all happens at the Jing A Brewing Taproom.

NBeer (Huguosi)

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NBeer Pub will make a beer nerd out of you, whether you like it or not. It shines through as a battle royale of Beijing microbrews: get a flight of six beers and your taste buds play referee as Great Leap Brewing, Tipsy Face, Panda and Nanjing-based brewer Master Gao’s face off.


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Sprawling three floors with two bars and nine massive fermentation tanks, Panda Brew has barrels of potential. 


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A great spot for a pint or two in the hutongs, Peiping’s industrial-chic taproom is a masterpiece to look at and the beers on tap compare favourably with other practised home breweries. 


Slow Boat Brewery Taproom (Dongsi)

Slow Boat Beer

The original Slow Boat is a place for concentrating on the artisan beers at hand. With seasonals regularly added and tasting flights available, there’s something to please most palates here. The staff are knowledgeable about the product – and the taproom has its own toilet, giving it major points.

Botany

For a unique cocktail experience there is nothing quite like Botany right now, least of all in the middle of Sanlitun and at such an approachable price point. From Frankie Zhou (formerly of TRB) the cosy apartment bar – hidden within one of Yoolee Plaza's residential compounds – is bucking the trend with professional service, a bonkers drinks programme and a tastefully restrained atmosphere that’s good for more than just a damn fine drink.


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Button your waistcoat and buff that pocket watch – Bottle, Boot & Cigar (BBC) is one for the gentry. The shelves are stocked with a huge selection of rare bottles, many not found anywhere else in town and exotic bitters, some of which are house-made. There's no menu and the space is tiny but the bartenders seem to nail it every single time.


Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin Bar both dives headfirst into the speakeasy-era aesthetic that dominates the cocktail scene in the capital and maintains a healthy awareness of just how ridiculous it truly is. Behind the bar, Nick Hsie has an unexpected flair for the unconventional with botanicals from ingredients like bitter melon, Taiwanese sugar cane and winter melon working their way into mixtures of crushed ice and top-shelf booze. Charlie Chaplin Bar shuns menus in place of the bespoke cocktail approach.


Infusion Room

If you’ve had just about all you can take of exclusive watering holes that opt for dress codes, membership fees and secret passcodes to keep out the hoi polloi, but then fail to deliver, prepare to be surprised. While there are no membership fees or dress code, Infusion Room certainly has an air of exclusivity from the outset – though once inside that dissolves.

The menu is short but expertly curated. The real name of the game are the house signature cocktails which are some of the most progressive and intriguing creations in the city.


JH

A licensed bar paying homage to America’s prohibition era, Janes and Hooch executes its Chicago-style speakeasy theme with aplomb. One of the veterans of Beijing's speakeasy-themed scene, this watering hole has managed to hold its own over the years and remain one of the finest – and most popular – of its kind. Perfectly crafted concoctions made by bow-tied mixologists are served in cut-crystal glasses in a setting that's hard to beat.


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The team behind Nali Patio mainstay Mosto turned a disused storeroom behind the restaurant into one of this summer's hottest new openings: La Social. The South American-style bar breaks away from the stuffy cocktail bar scene that dominates the city, with signature cocktails that are fruity, friendly, easy-drinking takes on classics to suit any budget. 


Longjing

The concept of Long Jing is an old one: brew tea, mix with booze, get drunk. There is nothing objectively complicated about using tea to enhance your hooch, but we’ve never seen a spot devoted to the idea. Long Jing is Beijing’s first teahouse and ‘cockteal’ bar, and it hosts a menu of libations that push the limits of propriety where the humble tea leaf is concerned.


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This trendy hutong cocktail spot has remained a mainstay on the scene for over five years thanks to its inventive creations and fun twists on the classics. The prices are some of the best in the city (most cocktails 40-50RMB) and Signature drinks like the Mala Mule and the Sichuan Highway were some of the first cocktails in the city to popularise the use of local ingredients.


Tiki

Bungalow brought something truly new to the Beijing when it first opened last year, with a team expertly mixing up fixtures from the '30s and '40s that launched the tiki drink trend in southern California. The menu features over 60 different cocktails, many of which are found nowhere else in the city.
CuJu Moroccan Bistrot & Rummery

Cuju

Cuju means ‘kick ball’, referencing an antecedent of football invented over 2,000 years ago, as a distraction from the non-stop wretchedness of the Warring States Period. The small brick space has a pair of TVs showing various sports (including Wimbledon, Euro and F1 finals), making it either a rum bar disguised as a sports bar, or a sports bar serving an unusually high volume of rum. Owner Badr Benjelloun has a particular affinity for US college football (the American kind) and the bar often opens at odd hours (think 6am) to screen games.


Some people say former Gongti mega clubs don't make great sports bars. Other people go to D-One as often as possible after KO'ing the former camp. Excellent range of games, ample used-to-be-VIP seating, club-luxe bathrooms, big screens, bigger screens, electric darts, affordable cold ones – what else do you want? Late night carbonara? Got that, too.    

This one-room bar resists the temptation to cover every inch of wall in Emerald Isle kitsch, which is a blessing because, as much as we love Oscar Wilde quotes and anachronistic countryside bric-a-brac, it would have all been too much in such a small space. With decently priced drinks and food, it's a great Lido location to watch the match and specialises in ice hockey games.


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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.


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With possibly the most TVs in any Beijing bar poised to screen football, rugby and more matches, Paddy's shows multiple sports at once making for a true sports bar feeling to the place. Expect Paddy O’Shea’s to get crowded when there’s a big game on and on warm evenings; the masses spill onto the street and the atmosphere is top-notch. If you really want to get stuck into the vibe of it all, go for a round of competitive foosball.


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This Shuangjing staple is adorned with sports memorabilia and boasts a strong neighbourhood following. Owners Trevor Metz and Ian Syers put on whatever big match is on for the evening, with several screens throughout the bar allowing for easy viewing. An excellent spot to watch ice hockey.

Ala House

One of the lesser-known bars on the city’s spirit scene, this stylish Central Park lounge boasts an extensive selection of whiskies in a charming setting. The menu provides amusing, inventive and particularly detailed tasting notes for each whisky which gives a more educational experience than most bars offer.


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This one-of-a-kind baijiu bar boasts a rustic, elegantly lit space decorated with a smattering of well-chosen antiques. If you can set aside your preconceptions about baijiu long enough to get in the front door, Capital Spirits will change the way you think about what is now the most widely produced spirit in the world. Tasting flights provide an excellent introduction to the polarising tipple.


Cuju

This rum bar offers esoteric brands of dark, white and gold rum – alongside the well-known, industrially produced labels. When made right, rum has a rich pedigree of flavours and types – a fact CuJu promotes with healthy pours at bargain prices. Owner Badr Benjelloun also experiments with house-infused rums and other innovative twists.


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The second project from the guys behind baijiu bar Capital Spirits. As the name suggests, the real draw here is house-made spirits – not to mention the heavy focus on speciality and boutique gins from around the world. The two-storey, hutong space is gorgeous and an excellent spot to hole up for the winter with a tasting flight – or several – of gin.


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By requiring a reservation, enforcing a smart-casual dress code and a 200RMB per head minimum spend, Glen Classic separates the true whisky drinkers from the pretenders. Its shelves are stocked with a serious selection of Scotch and Japanese whiskies.


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Expect bespoke blended whiskey, rare bottles and intimate environment.


mohiki

This Japanese cocktail and whiskey bar serves up tasting flights of Japanese whiskies and excellent bar bites. It's a bright spot in the neon mess of Lucky Street across from Solana and certainly worth a trip. 

Atmosphere Bar nightview

An impressive, sophisticated cocktail bar on the 80th floor of Guomao's China World Summit Wing Hotel with excellent views of the city, Atmosphere is a place to be seen. Last year, it became the first Beijing bar to make it onto The 50 World's Best Bars' one to watch list.


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It may be a hotel bar with prices to match, but the drinks are good, the atmosphere is never stuffy and it’s one where you can guarantee to find a crowd and, quite possibly, visiting rock stars, government ministers and Chinese film directors. Its location on the ground floor of the Kerry Hotel in the CBD gives it an excellent terrace and means that it's frequented by local white-collar workers and hotel guests alike.

Jing Restaurant and Bar

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The Peninsula Beijing recently under went an 890 million RMB overhaul, and boy does it show. Jing Restaurant and Bar has been transformed. The brightly beautiful and artful-looking bar that now greets you upon entry to the space is the perfect spot to sip on class cocktails, with its white marble counter and a rediscovered confidence shining through.


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Since its grand unveiling last year, Rosewood Beijing's Mei Bar has given the established barons of bottle service a run for their money with its fresh attitude, sleek multifaceted space and regularly updated menu. Depending on how you enter, from the lobby elevator or the dedicated street-level entrance (with its red carpet and private elevator), Mei Bar is either a sprawling cocktail lounge and bandstand or smart wine bar. And just to have all bases covered, there’s also a plush whisky bar out back. 

Mesh 2

For those wanting to dress up and be seen, Mesh is one of the city's sleekest bars in stylish Sanlitun hotel, The Opposite House. Drinks are top-tier and the seductive lighting, artsy décor and pleasant (on good days) outdoor patio continue to draw an immaculately dressed crowd of high earners.


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This luxury wine and cocktail bar from luxury travel brand Nuo Hotel was designed with Beijing's well-heeled set in mind. 


Xian

The bar in EAST, Beijing is set over three floors, with live jazz Tuesday to Friday, a basement with pool tables, foosball and retro arcade games, and, elsewhere, plenty of art-filled alcoves and private corners with leather armchairs. Not only do they make a great cocktail, Xian also turns out a pizza and other bar bites to be reckoned with.

Yin on 12

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Located on the 12th floor of New World Beijing Hotel, this massive rooftop bar offers a view across the city and over to Qianmen. A swanky interior provides a level of sophisticated class not often encountered in Beijing and entertainment from an in-house DJ and local bands elevates the atmosphere.

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DDC represents a step up among Beijing’s small-sized livehouses. It boasts innovating live programming, that includes everything from indie rock to folk, electronic, jazz and more. It also makes the most of its hutong digs, preserving and building on the original siheyuan structure.

Fruityspace

Fruityspace has quickly become ground zero for Beijing's experimental, indie and alternative hip-hop scenes. A spinoff of the nearby Fruityshop vinyl store, Fruityspace is an all-concrete basement with a small stage at the back, a mini shop selling locally produced vinyls, cassettes and magazines on the side, and a well-stocked beer fridge by the door.

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Don't be fooled by its rusty facade and stark, concrete interior, Mao Livehouse is one of Beijing's most popular mid-size performance spots for Chinese bands and touring alternative acts. With its modern sound system and 500-person capacity, Mao remains a favourite among international punk and metal bands as well as a gathering spot for Beijing's young rock crowd.

Modernsky Lab

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Modernsky Lab – managed, and owned, by Beijing-based label Modernsky – has hosted a range of local and international acts since they opened last year. It has a unique set-up and vibe that provides a place for bands and DJs to get experimental.


School

One of Beijing’s premier live venues, this lovably scuzzy hutong den promises audiences a glimpse into the scrappier side of rock'n'roll. Regular line-ups include up-and-coming local rock bands and bigger name acts who prefer to get close to their fans.


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A Gulou institution, Temple is one of the few places around town where you can reliably catch free shows featuring great local punk and rock bands. The live music bar is a pillar of the Beijing scene, supporting grassroots music and new bands as well as booking the odd international headliner.

Tango

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This perennial night spot in the north of Beijing might be better known for its techno and electro DJ sets, but don't let that put you off. Tango also boasts a good live music scene on its third floor, securing big-name international acts like Kurt Vile, OK Go, The Lumineers and Mika.

Yugong Yishan

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Yugong Yishan is known for its excellent programming and support of local acts. The venue’s size gives it the clout to pull in the bigger names, but Yugong’s commitment to the local scene never wanes.

elements

A Gongti Xi Lu night spot with plenty of buzz. Once inside Element's cavernous basement space, it's all about people free-pouring spirits into friends’ mouths, a stripper pole and young, excitable partygoers full of fun.


Latte

For a mainstream club, Latte's got it all: a raised dancefloor, acrobatic bartenders, free entrance, a constantly packed house, confetti cannons and a huge disco ball. And all of this in an interior that looks like Liberace went nuts in Captain Hook’s pirate ship. This place doesn’t suffer under any pretensions; it’s absurd – absurdly fun – and knows it.


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The player piano in the foyer says it all: Liv is only for the very rich. Designed for rich people, by rich people, the crowd at Liv is dressed to impress with cash to flash. Drinks are some of the better to be had on Gongti Xi Lu – cocktails are sweet, but not overbearing. The club has snagged some major bookings this year, like Galantis and DJ ATB.


Modo Ultra is one of Beijing's high-end commercial clubs that books DJ Mag's top 100 ranked acts. Modo may cater to the VIPs, but all partygoers enjoy an impressive LED-lit and dancer-studded backdrop.


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As soon as you enter Sir Teen, you're met with foreign models, more lasers than you can imagine, and clouds of dry ice. Also on Gongti Xi Lu, this club goes for a typical Workers' Stadium sound, but big bucks are being invested to bring in major international DJs like LMFAO's Redfoo, which makes an otherwise-average club stand out from the pack.


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Spark has long been a player in the scene and is often considered one of Beijing's most highly rated mainstream clubs with past bookings like Lil Jon. Its CBD location in The Place is prime and since its relaunch, it's brought big names like Sander van Doorn and B.o.B to the city.

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From drum ’n’ bass to skweee, psytrance, cold wave and more, Dada has become a home for anything alternative and electronic in the city. Plus, its credibility has meant that performers who might have skipped Beijing on their way to Shanghai in the past are now adding our city to their Asia tours.


Hush

Beijing's only hip-hop club, Hush targets young bottle poppers and trend setting hip-hoppers. With tasteful design and good service, this small but mighty club appeals to influential socialites and fashionistas with a love of all things urban.


LANTERN

Lantern bumps techno most nights but is always adding more flavours. It boasts strong resident DJs, a solid lineup of regular club nights and more international artists than the rest of the clubs on Gongti Xi Lu. 


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The aesthetics, atmosphere and execution of Migas work brilliantly. The cocktails are strong, the entry is relatively cheap (or free) and the music is well-chosen. With a rooftop overlooking all of Nali Patio and beyond, it's the hottest place in town to wile away the long summer nights until the sun rises. And in the winter, nighttime revellers move the party inside to the intimate lounge bar.

REC Room

The prime Sanlitun Bar Street location below Kokomo collected dust until Danny Flora and El-mar Bengal – the guys behind party crew NB Noise – turned it into electronic music venue The Rec Room in November of last year, designed to provide a much-needed alternative to the plethora of gaudy Gongti dance spots in the area. The Rec Room, recently relaunched as Rec Room.live, complete with a live streaming platform similar to the likes of Boiler Room.


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Siif is a three-floor gem buried deep in the hutongs on Beiluoguxiang. The interior features funky furniture and cool glass floors. The basement houses decks and a small dancing area that's perfect for private parties or experimental boogie sessions that might not attract the masses but still are popping off.
Be Stupid

Be Stupid has been helping Beijing let loose for years with their clubs nights and street parties. Their resident DJs Shenyue and Kaize are dancefloor favourites.

Bye Bye Disco

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From store to party brand, Bye Bye Disco has evolved with the times while keeping its retro sound. Often hosting international guests, founder Pei ensures you will get some of the most danceable sets you'll find in the city.

Dim Sum Disco

Up there with the funkiest club nights of them all, the eclectic sounds of long-running dance party troupe Dim Sum Disco are usually heard coming from the city’s swishest alternative music venue. But, Dim Sum Disco's nights at Migas attract an in-the-know crowd that seeks the disco vibes the parties are loved for.

Do Hits

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A party brand co-founded in 2011 by Howie Lee, Guzz, Billy Starman and Sulumi, this year Do Hits has morphed into a prolific net-label, releasing a number of compilations and EPs and putting on nationwide tours such as their Motherland series, which presents Chinese artists living abroad to a domestic audience.

Footprint

A leading force in tech house and techno, Footprint's events often feature internationally acclaimed beat-makers all the while sticking to their underground music policy and electrifying party vibes.

NB Noise

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The city’s most colourful promotion-outfit, all NB Noise club nights promise proper edgy house and techno, day-glo colours and partying hard. The diverse range of parties never cease to create an amazing atmosphere.

The Syndicate 

The Syndicate

One of the longest running club nights around, Syndicate parties have hosted big names from the bass scene, including old skool drum ‘n’ bass don Doc Scott, the Shanghi-based Conrank, the pioneering Om Unit and Sam Binga.

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Fun, eclectic and unapologetic, Adam's keeps the rainbow flag flying over Sanlitun Bar Street and provides a safe, intimate space for queer folk of all stripes to mingle every night of the week. Utterly mental theme parties and impressive floor shows at the weekends attract a jumbo, mixed crowd, with newcomers always guaranteed a warm welcome courtesy of larger-than-life owner Mondo Wong.

Les Booze at Chill Bar

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Les Booze is consistently packed with local and international lalas on the first Friday and third Saturday of every month. Les Booze makes the most of its cosy courtyard location to bring together ladies who love ladies from all walks of life. Open mic and karaoke are firm favourites with the mixed and mellow crowd (some grade-A talents regularly appear), but the partitioned, warmly lit space lends itself to relaxed conversation as much as show-stopping performances.


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Oh, if these sweat-stained walls could speak! Des, as old timers affectionately call her, been around forever. Opened over a decade ago, this resilient, reactionary and still revved-up nightspot continues to draw the biggest weekend crowds in the city thanks to a combination of familiarity, dirt-cheap drinks deals and genuinely excellent DJs.

Thursdays at Lighthaus

Emerging as a low-key success story in an increasingly crowded Thursday lineup, Lighthaus' semi-official LGBT night offers up major drinks deals to card-carrying members of the Beijing queer family. Well-dressed patrons occupy sleek couches while a suitably Germanic soundtrack is laid down to amplify the vibe which, like the cocktails, is sophisticated and subtle.

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Glam (Good-looking Asian Male), brainchild of androgynous nightlife whiz-kid Marlon Ma was reborn this year in the well-appointed environs of Sanlitun's tea-based cocktail bar Long Jing, and is quickly becoming Beijing’s classiest social for suited-and-booted LGBT schmoozers. Those worn out by the electronica and excess of alternative gay nights will find cool relief by the glass, and while the drinks aren’t cheap (70RMB for a crisp gin and tonic), they’re all two-for-one.


Mesh 2

While The Opposite House now denies that Thursdays at Mesh are a gay night (once it was official), local suited and booted 'mos are out in force – making this a place to pose and schmooze for the more discreet queers. Prominent faces from the local gay scene are regulars, drawn in by the low lighting, the quite-superb cocktail menu and comfy seating.

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Blackie is a household name on the city’s nightlife circuit, known as the sort of DJ who makes a party stand out. A key figure in the city’s premier drum ’n’ bass crew The Syndicate, he’s known for fast mixing and high energy tunes, a lethal combination that makes his style perfect for everything from club nights to massive festivals.

DJ Boflex

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Nic Shepherd – better known on posters for the many events he's organised through his Dim Sum Disco collective as DJ Boflex – is a fixture of Beijing nightlife as Migas' resident DJ, a member of multiple party crews and the choice opener for international acts. Whether he is playing vinyl or digital he is sure to keep you grooving.

Guzz

Guzz made a name for himself in and outside of Beijing as an avant-garde electronic music producer. He impresses not just as a DJ but with his live electronic sets. He's known to most as one of the co-founders of local party brand Do Hits.

Mickey Zhang

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One of Beijing’s longest serving DJs. Mickey Zhang's career has spanned over two decades, during which he's carved himself firmly into the underground techno sounds of the city. His regular Holding parties at Lantern attract a dedicated hardcore following, and many DJs cite him as their inspiration for getting involved the scene. If you like it tough and techy, we’re sure you’ll be a fan too.


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Not only one of the city's best female DJs, Pei is the founder of Bye Bye Disco as well. She brings her catchy, unique and flawless sets to Beijing's best parties and, of course, her own events at Dada and Lantern. 

Puzzy Stack

Puzzy Stack has become a favourite booking of event organisers for his diversity and genre range. From Migas to Dada, you'll find him performing at almost any venue and event Beijing has to offer.

Shackup

Shackup has proven himself to be a diverse musician. His sets for The Drop, Lantern and Dada have gained him a following on Beijing's underground scene.

Weng Weng

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Former rock star and owner of the capital’s only truly dedicated techno nightspot, Lantern. Weng Weng’s also the main man behind the legendary Intro festivals. His marathon sets have kept crowds returning to Gongti’s only underground club as he blends uplifting, melodic, house and techno seamlessly all night long.

Arrow Factory

The second location from the Arrow Factory Brewing team upped the ante in Bejing's craft beer scene when it opened with a bang early this year. An upgrade from the tiny (but popular) tasting room off Wudaoying Hutong, the large onsite brewing operation at the Liangmaqiao digs delivers on reliably fresh, tasty and perfectly chilled beer. During the warmer months, take a pint up to the rooftop terrace and while away your evenings with a view of Liangma River.


Botany

For a unique cocktail experience, there is nothing quite like Botany right now, least of all in the middle of Sanlitun and at such an approachable price point. From Frankie Zhou (formerly of TRB) the cosy apartment bar – hidden within one of Yoolee Plaza's residential compounds – is bucking the trend with professional service, a bonkers drinks programme and a tastefully restrained atmosphere that’s good for more than just a damn fine drink.


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Buona Bocca is shaking things up in the Beijing wine bar scene.Translated literally from Italian as 'beautiful mouth', Buona Bocca is focused squarely on just that: making beautiful things happen in your mouth with its modern selection of curated pours and tasty bites.


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The team behind Nali Patio mainstay Mosto turned a disused storeroom behind the restaurant into one of this summer's hottest new openings: La Social. The South American-style bar has plenty of personality to spare, breaking away from the stuffy cocktail bar scene that dominates the city, with signature cocktails that are fruity, friendly, easy-drinking takes on classics to suit any budget. 


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Since its grand unveiling late last year, Rosewood Beijing's Mei Bar has given the established barons of bottle service a run for their money with its fresh attitude, sleek multifaceted space and regularly updated menu. Depending on how you enter, from the lobby elevator or the dedicated street-level entrance (with its red carpet and private elevator), Mei Bar is either a sprawling cocktail lounge and bandstand or smart wine bar. And just to have all bases covered, there’s also a plush whisky bar out back. 


Modernsky Lab

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Modernsky Lab – managed, and owned, by Beijing-based label Modernsky – has hosted a range of local and international acts since they opened last year. It has a unique set-up and vibe that provides a place for bands and DJs to get experimental.


REC Room

The prime Sanlitun Bar Street location below Kokomo collected dust until Danny Flora and El-mar Bengal – the guys behind party crew NB Noise – turned it into electronic music venue The Rec Room in November of last year, designed to provide a much-needed alternative to the plethora of gaudy Gongti dance spots in the area. The Rec Room, recently relaunched as Rec Room.live, complete with a live streaming platform similar to the likes of Boiler Room.


Tiki

Bungalow brought something truly new to the Beijing when it first opened last year, with its Bahama hat clad team expertly mixing up fixtures from the '30s and '40s that launched the tiki drink trend in southern California. Many of the 60 plus drinks on the cocktail menu you won't find anywhere else in the city and if you close your eyes and pound back a few happy hour cocktails, you might just believe that you're on a sunlounger by the sea.
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