Plenty of bars are clustered around Sanlitun Lu, also called Jiu Ba Jie (literally, “Bar Street”), all within staggering distance of one another. An alternative bar scene exists around the prettified Shicha lakes (known locally as “Houhai”) where lounge bars now proliferate the way pondweed once did. There are other small bar scenes nearby, around the Drum and Bell towers and around Nanluogu Xiang. Though Chinese beer can be cheaper than bottled water if bought in a shop, a 350ml bottle of Tsingtao or the local Yanjing at a bar will usually cost ¥20–40. Many bars also sell British and Irish draught beers such as Guinness and Boddingtons, which cost at least ¥40. For up-to-the-minute bar reviews, check the expat magazines. Chinese clubs are quite slick these days, with hip-hop and house music proving to be crowd pleasers. If you just want to dance, and aren’t too prissy about the latest music, see the bar reviews here for venues with their own dancefloor.

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