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Beijing nightlife and entertainment guide performing arts, bars, discos and more

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.

Bars

19 Bar
8pm-2am
49 Beixiao Street Dongzhimennei
8403-9548

Aloha

10:30pm-2am.
Xidan Cutural Square Basement, 3rd Level
6606-3374
Featuring a cover band that plays Chinese pop songs and a belly dancing show every night at 9.

Arcadia

10am-2am.
Building 3, Block 1, Fangzhuang Fangchengyuan
6764-8272

Big Easy

5pm-2pm
Chaoyang Park South Gate
6508-6776
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

7pm-late evening
On the Northside of building 2 in Xingfu Yicun. (The hutong across from the north gate of Worker's Stadium)
6417-4628
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

2pm-2am
11 Qianhai Beiyan, Xicheng District
6618-2542,
The right place to drop by to enjoy a cup of coffee in a great atmosphere after a nice walk around Qianhai lake.

Century Salon

8am-10pm.
8 Yong'an Dongli, Jianwai Avenue
8528-8067/66/65

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