Drinking In The 'Jing: Beijing's Best Bars

15 April 2016

China’s capital often evokes images that have much more to do with politics and less to do with swilling cocktails. But the city has grown up a lot over the last 20 years, and visitors are spoiled for choice when it comes to drinking holes. Whether you’re sipping a lychee martini or sampling the local brews, Beijing has a place for you to drink: in style, with a view, or just a little off the beaten path.

 Atmosphere is Beijing's highest bar at 80 floors up. (Image: City Weekend Beijing)

Atmosphere

Located on Level 80 of the China World Summit Wing, Atmosphere is Beijing’s highest bar, and affords the most expansive views of any bar in the city. While the city is spectacular by night, for your best chance at a gorgeous view, get there for an afternoon tipple before everyone crams into the window-seat booths. With the Shangri-La hotel group behind the establishment, you’ll get the world’s best bartenders curating the drinks list, and find yourself sipping a distinctly European style of cocktail at a chic, Chinese-influenced hotel bar.

Level 80, China World Summit Wing, 1 Jianguomen Wai Dajie

 Sangria is the drink of choice at the Spanish-themed Migas restaurant. (Image: City Weekend Beijing)

The Bar at Migas

Sanlitun has long been known as Beijing’s eating, drinking and shopping centre, and Nali Patio houses some of the best in all three arenas. Migas is a delightful Spanish restaurant by day, and in summer the restaurant opens its rooftop and becomes one of the city’s premier party spots. Sangria is top of the must-drink list, but they also make a mean gin and tonic, adding raspberries to the mix for a delightful, refreshing summer sip.

Level 6, Nali Patio, 81 Sanlitun North Road


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 Capital Spirits specialises in baijiu liquor. (Image: City Weekend Beijing)

Capital Spirits

If you’re looking for something different, this alleyway bar has it all in spades. Firstly, your ability to read a map will need to be on point, as it’s tucked behind one of the city’s busiest streets - Gui Jie, famous for its neverending supply of 24-hour hot pot restaurants. Secondly, the bar itself specialises in China’s national liquor, baijiu. Distilled from sorghum, baijiu is a divisive topic, to say the least, among all who have ever dared try it, but this bar aims to educate and foster appreciation for the so-called 'Chinese moonshine' among the city’s expat community. Their tasting flights will give you all the education you need to form your own, educated opinion.

3 Daju Hutong, Dongzhimen Nei Dajie

 Find your yang at the rooftop Yin Bar. (Image: City Weekend Beijing)

Yin Bar

Situated right next to the Forbidden City, this rooftop hotel bar affords the absolute best views of the ancient capital’s seat of power this city has to offer. While you could probably bust open a Yanjing beer at the peak of the hill at Jingshan Park, this is certainly much more civilised. The hotel itself is a delight to stay at, but even if you haven't got a room at this boutique rest stop, you can find yourself on a spacious, multi-level rooftop bar with views fit for an emperor.

33 Qihelou Street, Emperor Hotel

 How's the serenity at Haven on Houhai Lake? (Image: City Weekend Beijing)

Haven

The Houhai Lake area is beautiful to walk around or potter along on a pedal boat during the day, but at night it turns into an absolute zoo, polluted with neon lights, sub-par live music, and overzealous spruikers. This aptly named bar allows you to avoid all of that. One level up from all the hubbub, you can sit outside on the patio watching the world go crazily by, sipping a well-crafted cocktail. And if you don’t like the idea of a pineapple basil mojito, you can always crack a Coopers and enjoy the taste of home in the heart of China’s capital city.

Level 1, 2 Qianhai Nanyan, Di’anmen Waidajie

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