Expats tend to meet in several main areas for nightlife:
The old Sanlitun bar street used to consist of a strip of bars and lounges including some unsavory locales. The new Sanlitun has been revamped to house a big shopping, theater, and restaurant complex called The Village. There are creperies and cafes now joining the selection of bars in the area, making it a popular (and cleaned up) hang-out for the expat crowd.
The center of the clubbing scene in Beijing is in the area around Worker’s Stadium, otherwise known as “Gongti”. The north and west gate area of the Worker’s Stadium draws crowds every weekend who party at Vics, Mix, and other mega-clubs as well as karaoke venues. Restaurants serving dessert and catering to the clubbing crowd include Bellagio’s, upscale Pavilion, and Face.
Near the west gate of Chaoyang Park is a section of restaurants and bars that have withstood the renovations and rebuilding of many other entertainment districts. A classic is The World of Suzie Wong’s, almost considered a tourist site with its infamous reputation as a cheesy pick-up joint. Block 8 and Beach around the corner draw moneyed crowds to its hip lounges and dance floors. The Solana Shopping and Lifestyle Park near the west gate also houses Bling, a popular hip-hop club where international sports and movie stars have been spotted.
Along the lakeshore snake a multitude of bars and lounges with music spilling into the alleyway and hutongs that surround this area. The setting is “old Beijing” with willow trees gracing the lakeshore right outside the lounges. Outdoor seating is available for many of the locale-lucky venues right by the lake. Harder to find bars and lounges are hidden in the alleyways nearby.
The center of student life, this haven for young party-goers caters to the student with bars and nightlife that is friendlier on the wallet.
CBD and Jianguomenwai
The wine bars and lounges in this area cater to the white-collar crowd who prefer the ambiance of a more “grown-up” night out at places like Lan Club (with dance floors and quieter lounge areas). Night revelers can also choose to spend the evening at any of the lounges and bars located in upscale hotels all around the area.
Time Out Beijing. Check out the monthly magazine’s listings in the “Nightlife” section for suggestions and specials. Also available on their website. http://www.timeoutbeijing.com
TheBeijinger. This monthly also has a comprehensive restaurant listing in its “Bars and Clubs” section. Read reviews of bars and clubs and profiles of party spaces in the publication or online. http://www.thebeijinger.com.
CityWeekend. Published twice a month, this entertainment guide also publishes reviews on restaurants and eateries around town. The “Nightlife” section will list the latest parties, visiting DJ’s, and special events. Check out their website for restaurant listings as well. http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/beijing/