Beijing - Around Town : North of the Forbidden City (part 2) - Bars and Teahouses

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A Day in the Hutongs


Take the subway to Yonghe Gong for an early morning – and hopefully crowd-beating – visit to the Lama Temple. On leaving, cross over the main road and pass under the pailou (gate) at the entrance to Guozijian Jie for the Confucius Temple. Afterwards, take a break at the lovely Confucius Teahouse over the road. At the western end of Guozijian Jie turn left onto Anding Men Nei Dajie, a wide, shop-filled avenue and follow it south across Jiaodaokuo Dong Dajie and take the first right into Ju’er Hutong, one of the most vibrant of the city’s old alleys. Take the first left onto Nan Luogu Xiang, where at No. 108 you will find the charming Pass By Bar , which has a small courtyard that makes for an excellent lunchspot.


On leaving the Pass By, head west along Mao’er Hutong until you reach main Di’an Men Wai Dajie, where you turn right and head up the street for the splendid Drum and Bell Towers. Climb the towers to pick out the route you’ve just taken. Retrace your steps back down Di’an Men Wai Dajie taking the very first right, a tiny opening (usually marked by waiting taxis) leading into bustling Yandai Xie Jie. At the end of this crooked alley is the Silver Ingot Bridge; cross and bear left for Lotus Lane. You can stop here for coffee or head round the southern tip of the lake to Han Cang for a terrific meal of Hakka cuisine.

Bars and Teahouses

  1. Bed Tapas & Bar

    A short walk north of the Drum and Bell Towers, Bed makes the absolute most of its old courtyard house setting .

    • 17 Zhang Wang Hutong, off Jiu Gulou Dajie

    • 8400 1554

  2. Huxley’s

    The house motto is “Shut up and drink.” Compliance is encouraged with cheap beer and cut-price cocktails.

    • 16 Yandai Xie Jie

    • 6402 7825

  3. Lotus Bar

    Another fine Yandai Xie Jie bar, this one squeezed into a narrow, two-story house with a compact, boho interior and roof terrace.

    • 29 Yandai Xie Jie

    • 6407 7857

  4. Drum & Bell

    A modest bar in the shadow of antiquity offering refreshment and a gentle respite from sightseeing .

    • 41 Zhong Lou Wan Hutong

    • 8403 3600

    Drum & Bell
  5. Guan Tang

    Cozy bar with a tranquil atmosphere, although with cocktails at just ¥30 things often don’t stay that tranquil for long.

    • 13 Dongming Hutong

  6. No Name Bar

    The perfect lakeside drinking den. Expect stiff competition from the house cat for the best seats .

    • 3 Qianhai Dongyan

    • 6401 8541

  7. Pass By Bar

    It may be book-filled but the atmosphere is anything but hushed at this lending library-cum-café/bar .

    • 108 Nan Luogu Xiang

    • 8403 8004

    Pass By Bar
  8. East Shore Live Jazz Café

    Opened by legendary jazzman Liu Yuan. Climb steep wooden stairs to four walls of floor-to-ceiling windows and a roof terrace, plus live music.

    • 2 Qianhai Nanyan Lu

    • 8403 2131

  9. Xin Bar

    This little gem has colorful Yunnan decorations, leafy foliage, and a roof terrace overlooking the surrounding hutongs. As well as cheap beer there are ten types of tea.

    • 152 Jiu Gulou Dajie

    • 6400 7571

  10. Fu Family Teahouse

    Modeled after a Qing-era home, this teahouse is filled with antique furniture and often has live Chinese music.

    • Hou Hai Nan Yan

    • 6616 0725

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