Best Live Music: Witness Beijing’s thriving live rock music scene at MAO Livehouse. Local bands cut their teeth here, and it’s sure to be a stop for international indie, rock, and punk groups on tour.
Best-Kept Secret: Hidden away down a narrow alley off Gulou Avenue in Houhai, Amilal is a cozy little bar with a great whiskey list.
Best Cocktails: Enjoy a cocktail like the “Martinez” martini prepared by expert mixologists using only the best ingredients at Apothecary.
Most Beautiful View: Admire the distant mountains while you drink at Atmosphere, Beijing’s highest bar.
Best Hutong Atmosphere: Among the warren of alleys in a trendy part of town, El Nido is a tiny, unpretentious bar that represents the hutong vibe that Beijing nightlife is famous for.
Hidden Gem: Beijing’s first (and only) Prohibition-style speakeasy, Fubar lies behind a secret wall in a hot dog restaurant.
Best Snacks: Sate your mid-party hunger pangs with some of Luga’s hearty Mexican bar food.
Most Upscale Bar: XIU is pronounced “show” in Mandarin, and it’s certainly a place to show off. Pricy drinks keep things exclusive; make sure to check out the gorgeous roof terrace.
Best People-Watching: Arguably one of Beijing’s best-known clubs, the World of Suzie Wong is a nightlife staple in the capital city, and a great place to observe the clubbing scene in action.
Best Concept: In the Houhai district, Bed Bar combines drinking with lounging, allowing you to recline on actual beds as you enjoy your beverage.