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Beijing Nightlife

Babyface
6 Gongti Xilu
Chaoyang
Beijing
China
Tel: 86 10 6551 9081
www.babyface.com.cn

Beijing's moneyed hipsters congregate at this upscale nightclub, to swill Chivas-and-green-tea cocktails and groove to a techno beat. The see-and-be-seen dance floor is surrounded by tables, which you must get bottle service to reserve. They provide the perfect vantage point for surveying the crowd of well-heeled, designer-jean-clad revelers.

Bed Bar
17 Zhangwang Hutong
Doncheng
Beijing
China
Tel: 86 10 8400 1554

Set on a hutong alley in a traditional courtyard house, this softly lit bar and tapas restaurant is furnished with traditional Chinese kang beds (more like platforms than mattresses), tables and chairs, and modern Chinese art on the walls. Ideal for postprandial lounging, Bed is popular with young sophisticates, who enjoy reclining on piles of silk cushions to sip sangria and listen to sexy, DJ-spun salsa beats.

Décolleté
1949 The Hidden City, Courtyard 4, Gongti Beilu
Chaoyang
Beijing
China
Tel: 86 10 6501 8881

Secreted in a former machinery and electrical plant, Décolleté has added much-needed sophistication to Sanlitun. The first true champagne bar to hit the capital has outlawed sleaze—gentlemen are admitted only with a lady—and attracts an urbane Beijinger set. The intimate candlelit interior has a Belle Époque look: walls hand-painted with the floral motif from the Cuvée Perrier-Jouët bottle, plush amber velvet banquettes, and Philippe Starck's Louis Ghost chairs. A huge selection of champagne is served by the bottle as well as in cocktails—we recommend Potion #5, a delicate blend of violet liqueur, gin, lemon, and house champagne.

Face
26 Dongcao Yuan
Gongti Nanlu
Chaoyang
Beijing
China 100020
Tel: 86 10 6551 6788
www.facebars.com/bj/facebar.asp

This sultry lounge and multicuisine restaurant is located in a refurbished school building. The stunning interior is infused with Southeast Asian spirituality, featuring dark-wood furnishings; warm red, orange, and yellow tones; Buddhist statues; silver stupas; and contemporary Chinese paintings. At the front is a spacious, layered patio terrace beautified by bamboo trees, a trickling brook, and a grand lawn, and shielded by a protective Imperial red wall with arched gates.

Open daily 6 pm to late.

Glen
203 Taiyue Suites
16 Sanlitun South Road
Beijing
China 100020
Tel: 86 10 6591 1191

Glen focuses on well-made drinks and, above all, whiskey. The concept is a Japanese whiskey bar, and the fine collection of single malts from around the world is prominently displayed behind the counter. As in any decent Tokyo whiskey house, the focal point is the back-lit bar, where the mixologist hand-chips the ice and prepares drinks with an artist's eye and a chef's dexterity. Nothing happens too fast here, so slouch in a cozy armchair, cradle a glass of Scotch, and lose yourself in the laid-back ambience—not many Beijing bars are made this way.—Gary Bowerman

Open daily 6 pm to 2 am.

Lan
4/F Twintowers
12 Jianguomenwai Avenue
Chaoyang
Beijing
China
Tel: 86 10 5109 6012
www.lanbeijing.com

Designed by Philippe Starck and owned by Zhang Lan's South Beauty group, this grandiose, nearly 6,500-square-foot restaurant, bar, and club is signature Starck, only more so. It's a veritable design cornucopia of winged-eagle thrones, portraits, freestanding gold-framed mirrors, Mao-era memorabilia, and private dining rooms housed in Mongolian yurt tents. The club lounge has a Europe-meets-New-China vibe, with French DJ, hallucinatory video images, and Beijing's smart set socializing to impress.

Open daily, 11 am to 2 am.

Lantern
3.3 Plaza B1, Sanlitun
Chaoyang
Beijing
China
Tel: 86 10 0134 8785

Finally, a Beijing dance club for people who actually like to dance. Lantern, in the expat nightlife district of Sanlitun, is cult local DJ collective Acupuncture's first boîte. The subterranean space has one of the biggest dance floors in town and a potent sound system that peals out techno and electronica, and has rapidly become a gathering place for real Beijing bohemians (no nouveaux riches here). It isn't all about the music: The mojitos and martinis are spot-on; our favorite cocktail, the Royal Lantern, muddles vodka, grenadine, lemon juice, and tonic. Come late—the tunes don't stop until you do, usually around 7 a.m.

Mima
East Gate, Yuanmingyuan Park
Haidan
Beijing
China
Tel: 86 10 8268 8003
www.mima.cn

This courtyard café and bar in the university district has a polished, scholarly vibe. The outdoor tables are usually filled with studying students; inside, light filters through the floor-to-ceiling windows across the colorful sofas and a bar that's cleverly built of stacked books. Nosh from a simple menu of Western snacks (pizza, pasta), and don't miss the bathroom, with its Plexiglas roof that doubles as a goldfish pond.

Partyworld
22 Chaoyangmen Wai Dajie
Chaoyang
Beijing
China
Tel: 86 10 6588 3333

Party the Chinese way: with karaoke, known in these parts as KTV. Beijing's most popular karaoke club boasts a warren of private rooms, rentable by the hour, and a gargantuan list of top-40 American and Mando-pop tunes. Warble away with the help of powerful microphones, leather sofas, and an enthusiastic staff who can help you order drinks or find songs in the computer. Afterward, if all that singing has made you peckish, indulge in the free after-hours buffet. Partyworld is hugely popular on the weekends, so it's best to reserve a room in advance.

Song
B108, The Place
9 Guanghua Road
Chaoyang
Beijing
China 100020
Tel: 86 10 6587 1311
song@songbeijing.cn
www.songbeijing.cn

Though housed in the basement of a shopping mall, Song is one of Beijing's most creative bars. The concept is infused with both traditional and future China. A striking layered cream interior symbolizes China's famous terraced rice paddies, while the music mix, cocktail selection, and patrons are distinctly New Beijing. Live music and DJs are supplemented by occasional open-mike hip-hop nights. Popular with a young, stylish set, Song represents an innovative new style of Beijing lounge that eschews bling for quality beats—and seems set to influence the direction of Beijing's new venues in the coming years.

Open daily, 11 am to 3 am.

Stone Boat Bar
South Gate, Ritan Park
Chaoyang
Beijing
China

This tiny, tranquil watering hole on the edge of an artificial lake in Ritan Park is the perfect place for a summer-evening cocktail. Grab an outdoor table, order a cold beer, and relax under the gingko trees.

White Rabbit
C2 Haoyun Street
29 Zaoying Road
Chaoyang
Beijing
China
Tel: 86 133 2112 3678

It's all about the music at this sparsely decorated underground club. Forget posturing superstar DJs and starchitect design: White Rabbit is a serious clubbers-only late-night hangout. Two minimalist concrete floors and a small bar are electrified by Beijing's hottest and most eclectic music mix. Weeknights feature several specialist music evenings, with weekends dedicated to house, techno, and electronica pumping frenetically from the high-tech sound system.

World of Suzie Wong
1A South Nongzhanguan Lu
West Gate, Chaoyang Park
Beijing
China
Tel: 86 10 6500 3377
www.suziewong.com.cn

Inspired by the 1960s film of the same name, Suzie Wong's attracts a late-night crowd of guys and gals on the prowl. The slick multilevel bar and lounge has an ornate China-chic decor: jewel-colored rooms with glowing lanterns, carved wooden furniture, and the drowsy aura of an opium den. Upstairs, the outdoor terrace is a pleasant spot to relax to the Latin house and funk spun by resident DJs Chozie and Bobby.

Xiu
Park Hyatt Beijing, 6th floor
2 Jianguomenwai Street
Chaoyang
Beijing
China
Tel: 86 10 8567 1108
www.xiubeijing.com

If you're looking to hobnob with Memoirs of a Geisha actress Gong Li or Tom Ford, head to the super-luxe Park Hyatt's Xiu, which steamrollered Beijing's nightlife scene as soon as it opened last summer. Bright young things flock to its modern siheyuan terrace overlooking the Central Business District to sip vodka cocktails or Grand Marnier cosmos. Even during the historic snowstorms last winter, intrepid Beijingers pulled on their Uggs (switching them for heels at the coat check, natch) and braved it on Bejing's see-and-be-seen Thursday nights. The door policy is pretty strict when Xiu reaches capacity, so arrive before 10 p.m. or dress to the nines.

Yugong Yishan
1 Gongti Beilu
Chaoyang
Beijing
China
Tel: 86 10 6415 0687

Rock-'n'-rollers hang out at this relaxed, grotty dive, known as the city's best spot for live music. The cheap beer, pool table, rickety stage, and empty parking lot (where leather-clad groups gather to smoke between sets) contribute to the rocker vibe. Performances vary nightly; you might catch a local punk band, a jazz ensemble, or a DJ set. The place shakes hardest on the weekends, though, when the highest-decibel acts take the stage.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.