Your new teaching contract is signed, and Beijing is calling. You may be anxiously anticipating your departure date, or you’ve already landed in the ‘Jing and are getting settled into your new apartment. Whether coming from a big city or a small town, this place is likely bustling with more people than you have ever seen before. Albeit overwhelming at first, the great thing about this is that are so many things to do and explore. If you’re a cocktail sipper, a craft beer connoisseur, or just looking for a fun place to spend an evening – you’re in the right place. Read on for an introduction to some of Beijing’s best spots!

Top 10 destinations:

Hutong Experience

Beijing is known for its hutongs, the network of narrow streets and alleyways that make up the old portion of Beijing. These winding walkways hold all sorts of beauty and unexpected surprises like bars and restaurants packed with people, often tucked behind hidden doorways. Just listen for the hum of music and voices and you’ll know you’re in the right spot! 

This restaurant/bar is a relaxed drinking and dining spot that sits close to Beijing’s iconic Drum and Bell Towers in the Houhai district – an area known for many expat haunts mixed with local Chinese culture. It has a packed schedule including open mic nights, pub quizzes, story-telling sessions, and more. Wander by for an early dinner and stay on into the night as the place fills up with people and music. With a comfortable, laid back vibe, this is a great spot to spend an evening. Click here for more details.

For an alternative club experience, Dada is a go-to. Again, tucked into a narrow hutong, you can literally feel the vibrations as you enter. With DJs from all over sharing their music, put your dancing shoes on for a fun night. 


With craft beer all the rage these days, Beijing is no exception. All sorts of flavours can be found on the various menus across the city. 

Great Leap Brewing #12 Brew Pub
Great Leap has a few different locations, with this one being their cornerstone. At the end of a long work week, this is the perfect spot to grab some top-notch greasy grub and a tasty beer with friends, or on your own – this is a great place to spark up a conversation. Click here to take a look.

Jing-A Brewing Co. 
Found in the popular Sanlitun area of Beijing amongst various Western restaurants and glamorous shopping spots, Jing-A has grown immensely since their first IPA was introduced in 2012. With high ceilings and exposed brick, it’s easy to lose touch with where you are as the place fills up almost every night of the week with expats and locals alike. 


If live music is a love or a hobby, Beijing won’t disappoint. Almost every night of the week, music across genres is performed in Beijing’s many venues. Small, intimate spots are paired with larger event spaces to cater for all sorts of interests. If you’re wanting to experience something new, try them all! Here are a few: 

Yugong Yishan 
Catering to larger acts due to its size, this venue is consistently busy. Its programming focuses on high-profile, international acts and is located in central Beijing. 

For a smaller, more intimate, alternative music scene, Fruityspace is a great place to sit back, relax, and experience. In the trendy surrounding of old Beijing (central), this is an easy spot to enjoy. 

East Shore Live Jazz Café
Located along the lake in the Houhai area, this jazz bar showcases mostly local talent with a great backdrop. Many restaurants, bars, street stands, performances, and more are found in this area. For a full night of activities, head in this direction and relax with some local jazz. Click here to find out more.

These places just touch the surface of the great places to visit for a night out in Beijing. All with their own character and unique things to offer, pick and choose what appeals to you most. With many nestled into the hutongs of Beijing, don’t be afraid to get lost; bring along with you the address in Mandarin Chinese and the passers-by will assist you in finding your destination. Better yet, grab a colleague and explore together. If you want any more advice about exploring your new hometown, click here to get in touch with our team of specialists.