Tea, Beer, Wine and More
Check out our
Beijing Food page
Tea, tea, and more tea! Some are in malls, but first ask the
price before ordering or else brace yourself for the most
expensive egg-sized cup of tea in the world. You can
experience different ceremonies of tea at tea houses
especially in the Qianman area south of Tiananmen. These can
range in price, and some tea houses are really tourist traps
whose main goal is to milk you of your money, so be careful.
You can get a free tea demonstration at most Tenrenfu tea
houses which are located throughout the city and at some
Good coffee is hard to find in most parts of China, although
addicts have a place to retreat now that Starbucks has made
huge inroads with the emerging middle class. They have at
least 50 Starbucks in the capital, most situated around
shopping malls and in commercial districts of the city.
Chinese beer can be quite good. The most preferred beer in
China is Tsing Tao (¥10-20, 2-3 if you buy it from a street
vendor) which can also be found in the States. Try Yanjing
beer (¥10-15 at restaurants, ¥2 on the street), which is
main beer brand of Beijing. It comes in very large bottles
and has 4% alcohol content. (Yanjing is an antiquated name
for Beijing.). Both Yanjing and Qingdao now come in
"standard" and "pure" varieties. You'll also find Beijing
beer in some establishments and is only served on draught.
It's brewed by the Japanese beer company Asahi which
probably explains why you don't see it in many places.
Great Wall is the most popular local brand of wine. Wine
made in China are considered not drinkable by most
foreigners, but this is probably due to the fact that it is
not common among local Chinese to drink it. Giving wine as a
gift is not a common custom in most places in China and most
people will not be accustomed to wine etiquette or
appreciation. Foreign red wines are usually of a much better
quality, such as those from the US, Germany, Italy,
Australia, and Chile, and you will find them at most upscale
The most common hard liquor to drink Bai jiu (white liquor).
It comes in a large variety everywhere for very cheap prices
and should be avoided if you want to have a clear mind for
your travels on the next day. Mao Tai is one of the more
famous brands, and costs about as much as an imported bottle
of whiskey. A large selection of imported liquor can be
found at all bars ranging from tequila to whiskey.
Places to drink
Sanlitun - this is the center of nightlife in Beijing,
located beside the embassy area in Chaoyang district, it
comprises a main "bar street" divided into north and south
sections, a side street with more casual (and cheaper) bars,
and several large clubs/discotheque at the north gate of the
worker's stadium near by. Sanlitun has near legendary status
amongst travelers, but you are just as likely to be
irritated by pushy bar-owners or DVD sellers as you are to
be charmed by its bars.
The Tree, 43 Bei Sanlitun Nan. Wood Fired Pizza Oven and
over 40 Belgian Beers. It is an independent western fun
restaurant/bar that you can eat and drink at. The place is
visited by lots of savvy tourists, but also locals can be
Hou Hai is a man-made lake surrounded with trendy
restaurants and bars in the central part of Beijing. A great
place for a beer, and also to watch local Beijingers (of all
ages) enjoying themselves.
Wudaokou where most of the foreign and local University
students hang out. There are a number of bars and
restaurants which serve a great variety of wine, beer and
liquor for cheap. This area is also well known for its huge
Korean population and a good place to find Korean food.