Beijing will not only ensure that you have a full and interesting day but will also present you with colorful choices when darkness falls.
Traditional performances such as the Beijing Opera, acrobatic shows, Chinese Kungfu shows and dramatic performances in the teahouses are popular with the more mature visitors to the city, while the younger generation seems to favor the snack markets, pubs, clubs and cafes. For the stranger who wishes to become acquainted with the city, a stroll along Chang'an Street to Tian'anmen Square is highly recommended.
One place that cannot be omitted when considering the nightlife options for the old Beijinger is the Tianqiao Area. In actual fact it is not a bridge but a location popular for gathering to eat, drink and to enjoy the entertainments and amusements on offer there.
Other places to explore Chinese folk culture include the Laoshe Tea House (3F, building 3, Xi Da Jie, Qianmen, Beijing), where you can experience the famous Chinese tea culture and find a quiet place to relax and maybe do some reading.
There is also the Liyuan Theater (inside Jianguo Hotel, Qianmen, at No. 175 in Yongan Lu) here there are nightly performances at 19:30 pm of genuine Beijing Opera and other folk performances. One need not be concerned about language difficulties with Chinese opera and drama as both make considerable use of mime. The opera often has subtitle boards displaying a translation. As a result they are quite easy to understand.
Chinese acrobatics have a long history and is one of the most popular art forms among Chinese people. Performers have achieved worldwide fame for their wonderful skills and marvelous acts.
Acrobatic Shows can be seen at the Wansheng Theatre, 95, Tianqiao Market, Xuanwu District beginning at 19:15pm every evening or Beijing Acrobatics Theatre.
Chinese Kungfu Show is a must-see production in Beijing for tourists and Kung Fu lovers. The show can be seen at Beijing Red Theatre (a former worker's club) - located at No. 44, Xing fu Da Jie, Chongwen District Beijing.
The fantastic "The Legend of Kung Fu" is presented by China Heaven Creation International Performing Arts Co., Ltd. (CHC) -- China's leading performance art production company. CHC has collected a group of the best Kung Fu practitioners of China and invited the best directors and designers of the country.
In recent years Beijing Nightlife has seen an escalation in themed pubs, trendy bars and clubs not only attracting the local foreign residents but many young Chinese. The admission fee is usually between fifty and eighty Yuan (approx $6.6 - $10.6) at the larger night clubs, admission is free to many of the smaller ones. Expect to pay between fifteen and twenty Yuan (approx $2 - $2.6) for a beer.
Beijing boasts a vast array of fashionable nightspots to enjoy and it's very common, especially for young people, to go out in the evenings. Beijing Nightlife consists of numerous bars, nightclubs, theatres, restaurants and cinemas. However, twenty years ago the word 'nightlife' wasn't even used.
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Nanluoguxiang, this quaint little street (over 1KM long), is packed with bars, cafes, restaurants and shops selling souvenirs and traditional crafts. Much more chill and reserved than the noisy bars in Houhai or the glitzy clubs around the Worker's Stadium (GongTi). In the summer many bars and restaurants here have rooftop seating.
Bars: Situated in the older part of Chaoyang's Sanlitun bar district are the ever-popular Poachers Inn, 43 Bei Sanlitun Lu, and the equally welcoming pub, The Tree, 43 Bei Sanlitun Nan, - the latter serving over 40 Belgian beers and excellent pizza. Beijing's weekend bar du jour is Browns, Nansanlitun Lu (above The Loft), which offers a long wooden bar for late-night table-top dancing, 366 different shooters and an atmosphere of convivial excess.
Passby Bar, 108 Naluogu Xiang, Dongcheng District, is a hip, relaxed and ambient bar located in an old hutong. Bed, 17 Zhangwang Hutong, Xicheng District) is a minimalist lounge bar in a renovated hutong house with an uber-cool minimalist décor, with undressed cement floorings and walls, and beds for its ‘beautiful people' clientele to sit on. World of Suzie Wong, 1A Nongzhanguan Lu by the west gate of Chaoyang Park, is an elegant and stylish faux-1930s throwback that serves killer daiquiris.
Clubs: Undoubted king of clubs is the cavernous Vics, inside Workers Stadium north gate, which mixes up a nightly thrash of soul, R&B, pop and reggae and is popular with visiting celebrities and music stars. JJ's, 74-76 Xinjiekou Bei Dajie, packs ‘em in at weekends and features lasers, a sci-fi theme and scantily-clad Russian dancing girls; imported British DJs play a mixture of techno, reggae and house. Tango, South Gate of Ditan Park, Dongcheng District, is another superclub with a giant dance floor, smaller lounge bar and live music. Opened in 2006, Club Fusion, A8 Gongti Bei Lu, Chaoyang District, is a haven of house and electronica and a promised line-up of guest spots from touring international DJs.
Live Music: Local rock bands perform regularly at What Bar, which has two locations, West Yuandadu Bar Street, Chaoyang District (tel: (10) 8461 4683), and 72 Beicheng Jie, Xicheng District (tel: (10) 133 4112 2757). Tucked away in the car park beyond the north gate of Workers' Stadium is Yugong Yishan, 1 Gongti Bei Lu, Chaoyang District (tel: (10) 6415 0687), a throbbing live music venue which hosts everything from rock to jazz and improv to DJ sets. Live jazz sets top the bill from Thursday to Sunday at the East Shore Live Jazz Café, 2/F, 2 Qianhai Nanyan Lu, Xicheng District (tel: (10) 8403 2131), owned by legendary jazzman Liu Yuan.
Details of events (including gigs) are listed in the city's guide Beijing This Month or on the Xianzai Beijing website. The two best city listings magazines are That's Beijing, which also publishes the extremely helpful Insiders' Guide to Beijing handbook, City Weekend and Time Out Beijing.
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