The fastest-growing spot for late-night drinking is the Back Lakes (Shicha Hai or Hou Hai), a previously serene spot with a few discreetly fashionable bars north of Bei Hai Park, which now threatens to explode into a riot of hip. Neon has become a common sight, and several dance clubs are in the works, but for now this remains the finest place in the city for a quiet drink.
Beijing bars generally open around 5 or 6pm and stay open until the last patrons leave or until the staff decides it want to go home, usually by 2am on Friday and Saturday nights. Several of the Back Lakes bars double as cafes and open as early as 11am.
Cafes & Other Drinks Spost--Just like the Manchurian hordes did 3 1/2 centuries earlier, Starbucks swept into Beijing in the 1990s and quickly conquered it. Branches are everywhere, including the China World complex, the Oriental Plaza, the Pacific Century Plaza near Sanlitun, and, yes, the inner court of the Forbidden City. By far the city's most popular coffee chain, it is particularly beloved of young local women in search of eligible expatriates. There are other options but, sadly, few offer a better brew.
Despite the coffee invasion, Beijing is still ultimately tea territory, and many of the most pleasant sipping experiences are to be had in the small teahouses that lie scattered about the city.
49 Beixiao Street Dongzhimennei
Xidan Cutural Square Basement, 3rd Level
Featuring a cover band that plays Chinese pop songs and a belly dancing show every night at 9.
Building 3, Block 1, Fangzhuang Fangchengyuan
Chaoyang Park South Gate
On Mondays see Danny California and Humble Mike, while Jacqui Staton plays with the Big Easy Band from Tuesday to Saturday. Sunday there is a kids brunch and at night Sweet Willies Jazz Quartet plays with guest singers. Dou Peng sings dinner music every night
Black Jack Garden
On the Northside of building 2 in Xingfu Yicun. (The hutong across from the north gate of Worker's Stadium)
Arty hangout with Southern USA Decoration, blues, southern rock and jazz music. One of the owners is a tattoo artist, another is a DJ, and the third is an actor who played Puyi in The Last Emperor.
The Blue Lotus Cafe
11 Qianhai Beiyan, Xicheng District
The right place to drop by to enjoy a cup of coffee in a great atmosphere after a nice walk around Qianhai lake.
8 Yong'an Dongli, Jianwai Avenue
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