Sanlitun (三里屯) is an international shopping, restaurant and entertainment precinct in Chaoyang District in the city of Beijing. It is the most international and bohemian area in the capital.
Sanlitun is actually named after street running north-south. It means "Three mile village". Sanlitun is surrounded by foreign embassy districts and so, it is here that the first nightlife began in Beijing. Most visitors to Beijing will find their way to Sanlitun after doing their touring, because here is some of the best shopping, restaurants, and nightlife.
The center of foreign nightlife in Beijing, is comprised of a main "bar street" divided into north and south sections, a side street with more casual (and cheaper) bars, and a few clubs/discotheques throughout. Sanlitun has near legendary status amongst travelers, but you are just as likely to be irritated by pushy bar-owners or knick-knack vendors as you are to be charmed by its offerings. Sanlitun is considered the 'old' nightlife district since Beijing started opening Western style clubs about 2005 in other areas, which means it is worth going to but if you are looking for the younger, party crowd then there are better places to go.
The main strip of bars along the east side of Sanlitun Lu (usually called Sanlitun North) are interchangeable bars with expensive drinks. This is where the doormen will try to lure you in to their club with special offers.
The south section is located south of Gongti Beilu in what is a very commercial area with tall buildings, but walking a bit deeper into the compound area will reveal bars and restaurants very popular with the foreign crowd, especially Westerners.
Sanlitun is located west of Tuanjiehu Station on Subway line 10. Take exit A or D and follow the crowds away from the Third Ring Road, which is huge expressway bridge over a major road intersection.
It is one place that all the taxi drivers have no trouble understanding. To get out later you may need to walk a small distance to hail a regular taxi.
There are many buses routes that run East-West.
- Beijing Workers' Stadium (工人体育场; Gōngréntǐyùchǎng), Gongti N Rd (工体北路; Gōngtǐ Běi Lù). An old stadium renovated to be a football (soccer) venue, still used for sports events and major concerts.
- Beijing Workers' Gymnasium (工人体育馆; Gōngréntǐyùguǎn), Gongti N Rd (工体北路; Gōngtǐ Běi Lù).
- Beijing University of Technology Gymnasium (北京工业大学体育馆; Běijīng Gōngyèdàxuétǐyùguǎn), 100 Ping Le Yuan (平乐园100号; Pínglèyuán).
- Blue Zoo Beijing (富国海底世界; Fùguóhǎidǐshìjiè; also known as Beijing Rich Country Seabed World), S gate of Workers' Stadium (工人体育场南门; Gōngréntǐyùchǎng Nánmén) (1.5 km SE of Dongsishitiao Stn (Line 2)), ☎ =+86 10 6591-3397, . Summer 08:00-20:00; winter 08:30-18:30. Aquarium with a 120-m walk through tunnel. ¥75.
- Chaoyang Theater (朝阳剧场; Cháoyángjùchǎng), 36 Northend of E Third Ring Rd (东三环北路36号; Dōngsānhuán Běilù), ☎ +86 10 6507-2421(Chinese); +86 13718808515(English) (fax: +86 10 6591-9346), . Performances usually at 17:15 and 19:15. Theater focusing on acrobatics, but also some Peking Opera. Acrobatics shows are impressive and slick, with a 'tropical bird' theme. The Peking Opera shows are in a small side theatre, and fairly amateur. ¥180-¥680.
Literature and community
- The Bookworm (书虫书吧), Courtyard 4, Gongti Beilu 工体北路4号院 (100m south Sanlitun Rd and turn into gated lane), ☎ 6586 9507, . Daily 9am-late. Famous for its international literary festival every March, this café-restaurant-library is a community centre for all things loved by intelligent people. Music, improv theatre, book readings, panels and debates, signings, quiz nights, children's events and newcomer mornings are all on the program. 50-80 pp.
- The Village (Taikoo Li), Corner of Gongti Beilu and Sanlitun Lu (500m east from Tuanjiehu Stn (Line 10)), . 9am-10pm. Designed by Tokyo-based architect Kengo Kuma, this major commercial development reshaped Sanlitun. It consists of 19 colourful buildings interconnected to form courtyards and twisting alleys. The underground levels include a cinema, where the architecture often features in many Chinese Rom-Coms. Its busy location attracts international brand names and hosts international and Chinese restaurants of good style and quality.
- Yashow Clothing Market (Temporarily Closed) (雅秀服装市场 Yǎxiù Fúzhuāng Shìchǎng), 58 Gongti Beilu (Immediately W of The Village. 5-10 min from Tuanjiehu Stn (Line 10), or 20 min from Dongsishitiao Stn (Line 2)). This is very similar to Silk Street with slightly better prices. The vendors are generally pleasant. There is a floor dedicated to children's clothing. There are also shops with consumer electronics, china, bedding, and so on. There are several bespoke tailors for men here; they will custom-make suits in less than 24 hours. Currently Yashow Market is closed for renovation. Will reopen in June/July 2015
- Chun Gu Xiang Dumpling Restaurant (春谷香), 22 Dongzhimenwai Dajie (Beside the Jingkelong convenience store, opposite the Canadian Embassy. No English sign), ☎ +86 10 6417-0460. 10:30-22:00. This is a typical local restaurant. Neither the food nor the decor are fancy, just cheap and good. No English spoken, although there is an English menu. Menu features boiled dumplings, and many other "homestyle" Chinese dishes (sweet and sour pork, kung pao chicken, dry-fried green beans, etc.) ¥15-20 per dish.
- Kebab Republic (土耳其烧烤共和国; Tǔěrqí Shāokǎo Gònghéguó), 30 Sanlitun N Rd (三里屯北路30号; Sānlǐtún Běi Lù), ☎ +86 10 6413-1473. 10:30-23:00. Serves Turkey kebabs.
- Kiosk (南斯拉夫烤肉店; Nánsīlāfū Kǎoròudiàn), Sanlitun Jiuba Jie (三里屯酒吧街), ☎ +86 10 6413-2461. 11:00-21:00. Serves Serbian burgers and sandwiches. Outdoor seating only.
- Anytime Cafe (狮子山下私房菜港式菜饭厅; Shīzishānxiàsīfángcài Gǎngshìcàifàntīng), 4 Gonti N Rd (工体北路4号; Gōngtǐ Běi Lù), ☎ +86 10 6586-3948. Basic dim sum restaurant.
- Club Sandwich, 18 Xinzhong Rd (新中路18号; Xīnzhōnglù) (600 m NE of Dongsishitiao Stn (Line 2)), ☎ +86 10 8447-3949. 09:00-21:00. Simple place serving sandwich and pizza. Free internet available.
- Fire, 1/F, China View Building, Gongti E Rd (工体东路中红街大厦1层), ☎ +86 10 8587-1027. Chinese.
- Modern Nomads (现代牧民; Xiàndàimùmín), 4 Gongti N Rd (工体北路4号; Gōngtǐ Běi Lù), ☎ +86 10 6586-7757. 11:00-02:00. Mongolian cuisine specialsing in mutton, also some western dishes. Live Mongolian music now and then.
- Bocata, 33 Sanlitun Lu, opposite 3.3 Mall (三里屯路33号3.3大厦对面). Delicious grilled panini-style sandwiches. Lovely shady patio in summertime. ¥25-40 per sandwich.
- Gesangmedo (格桑梅朵 Gésāngméiduǒ), Xindong Lu, Xingfu Ercun Shangye Bldg, 2F, Chaoyang District (朝阳区新东路幸福二村商业楼二层) (Line 2/13 to Dongzhimen Stn and walk E on Dongzhimen Wai Dajie. Bus: 110, 117, 120, 813, 815, or 823 to Xingfu San Cun (幸福三村 Xìngfú Sān Cūn)), ☎ +86 10 6417-9269. 11:00-23:0 daily. Tibetan food in a beautifully decorated interior, complete with a shrine in one corner. Attentive staff. Nightly live performance begins at 21:00.
- Kro's Nest, 4 Gongti N Rd (Inside Workers' Stadium N Gate (工体北门内)), ☎ +86 10 6553-5253. Good thick-crust pizza. Wings, salads, cocktails and beers. ¥90 for a medium pizza.
- Lau Pa Sak (老吧刹), Xindong Lu (新东路) (SW cnr of intersection with Dongzhimenwai). Malaysian/Singaporean style food. Mee Goreng is good, as is Hainan chicken and freshly made curry puffs.
- Middle 8th Restaurant, 3 locations in Chaoyang. Awesome Yunnan cuisine. Extremely fresh food. Lots of dishes in the ¥20-30 range.
- Serve the People, 1 Sanlitun Xiwujie (三里屯西五街1号) (N end of Sanlitun Rd, cross Dongzhimenwai then take the first left). Reliable Thai food.
- Yuxin Sichuan Restaurant (渝信川菜 Yúxìn Chuāncài). M-F 10:00-22:00, Sa Su 11:00-22:00. One of the contenders in the ongoing competition for Beijing's best Sichuanese, Yuxin delivers on authenticity, flavor, and service. It's always busy, and always good. ¥30-50.
- A5 Xingfu Yicun Xili, Chaoyang District, ☎ +86 01 6415-8108. (朝阳区幸福一村西里甲5号 Cháoyáng Qū Xìngfúyīcūn Xīlǐjiǎ wǔ hào).
- Blue Balcony (蓝灏), 2-517, Bldg 2, Sanlitun SOHO 三里屯SOHO2号商场2-517 (Goto Sanlitun SOHO, enter the first bldg on left and go up to 5th floor), ☎ 8590 0386. 10am-10pm. Beautifully scenic and romantic restaurant with Greek and Chinese fusion cuisine 25-200 pp. (39.93163,116.44794)
- Turkish Mum (土耳其妈妈), 3 Gongti Beilu 工体北路3号 (Around the corner from Exit A Tuanjiehu), ☎ 8532 3979. Daily 11.30am-11.30pm. A traditional Turkish restaurant in sumptuous surroundings 80-120 pp. (39.9342,116.4541)
- Shash Restaurant (沙市城堡), No.10, Fourth Alley, Xiangjunbeili, Hujialou 朝阳区呼家楼向军北里四巷10号 (100m north of Hujialou exit E, behind St Angels Hotel), ☎ 5190 7230. Daily 11am-11pm. An exquisitely decorated castle is the setting for the best Uzbek, Russian and Chinese cuisine 100-150 pp. (39.9233,116.4533)
- Bei Restaurant, Bldg 1, 11 Sanlitun Rd, Chaoyang Dist, ☎ "+86, . Bei features contemporary Asian food, inspired by the cuisines of Northern China, Japan and Korea. Expect a delicate balance of flavor and texture during this culinary voyage where kimchi is served with roast pig, miso foie gras with eel and the likes. The restaurant was designed by the world renowned Neri + Hu Design and Research Office. From ¥300.
- Dadong Roast Duck Restaurant (大董烤鸭店 Dàdŏng Kăoyā Diàn). 11:00-22:00 daily. Considered by some to be the best Beijing duck in the city, this upscale restaurant also delivers on a nice atmosphere. Reservations suggested.
- Tuanjiehu Beikou branch, Chaoyang District, Tuanjiehu Beikou Bldg. 3, East Third Ring Rd (团结湖北口3号楼，东三环长虹桥西南角), ☎ +86 10 6582-2892.
- Sureño Restaurant, Bldg 1, 11 Sanlitun Rd, Chaoyang Dist (Basement level, 30 m S of Miu Miu), ☎ "+86, . Mediterranean restaurant located on the lower ground level of The Opposite House. The warm interiors boast an open kitchen and a wood fired oven that evoke the casual style of the Mediterranean, where guests can also watch the live action while they dine. Wine list definitely worth checking out. From ¥300.
- W Wine & Dine, 22 Dongzhimenwai Dajie (SE corner of intersection with Xindong Rd), ☎ +86 10 6416-9838. Lovely, fancy and expensive French/European restaurant. A la carte may be expensive, but lunch set menu is excellent value for money at ¥98, which includes a glass of wine.
- Alameda, Sanlitun Beijie 三里屯北街 (East side of Sanlitun North St, beside the Nali Mall, go down a small alley opposite Page One Bookshop. North-west of exit A Tuanjiehu Station), ☎ 6417 8084. Daily noon-3pm, 6-10.30pm. An elegant, full-service Brazilian and Chinese cuisine restaurant. Very white decor. ¥80-120 pp. (39.9343,116.45)
- Tianchu Miao Xiang (天厨妙香素食馆), Rm 0206, 2F, Bldg D, Chaowai SOHO, Chaoyang District, ☎ "+86. Tianchu Miaoxiang is dedicated to making meat-free dishes to promote healthy diets and humanitarianism. The menu is well-organized and extensive. The menu mainly focuses on Chinese dishes, but also serves vegetarian pizza, “steak” and pasta made from beancurd, gluten, and mushrooms. From ¥100.
- Yard House, 2-310 Sanlitun SOHO, Chaoyang District (Building 2, Floor 3 of Sanlitun SOHO), ☎ 0113 7578, . A small bar and vape lounge with 100% vegan bar food, including a variety of hot dogs, salads and nachos. Yard House also serves a large assortment of beer, cocktails and beer cocktails. From ¥40.
In the main bar street area you can find:
- Janes and Hooch. Quality cocktails, Edison light bulbs and hipsters trying to swoon their date.
- Nanjie. Another popular bar in the area. Billiard table.
The "pedestrian" side street with more casual (and cheaper) bars is along a couple small back streets located immediately behind 3.3 Mall, north of The Village (Tai Koo Li, pronounced Taiguli in Mandarin). Here you will find:
- Cheers. Relatively inexpensive, quiet bar on the 2nd floor of the building housing Bar Blue (on the east side of the street, about halfway between the north and south ends) above Kebab Republic.
- Mesh, Bldg 1, 11 Sanlitun Rd, Chaoyang District 北京市朝阳区三里屯路11号院1号楼 (green glass building just north of 3.3 Mall), ☎ +86 10 6410-6688, . 05:00-01:00. A cool, contemporary lounge where the city's well-heeled professionals come to wind down and chat over inspiring cocktails and a great selection of wines. Mesh features a large selection of champagnes by the glass and a wide range of highly original cocktails and signature cocktails.
- The Tree, 43 Bei Sanlitun Nan, ☎ +86 10 6415-1954, . Serving wood fired pizzas and over 40 Belgian beers. It used to be more popular when there were fewer places in Sanlitun selling decent foreign draft beer but it can still provide a place for good times. A very small patio on the front is good for people watching.
- Youth Club. ¥10 drink specials, crowded layout, loud. Near the north end of the street, past the chuanr (kebab) stalls.
- Beer Mania (欧月啤酒吧), 1F, Taiyue Fang, 16 Nansanlitun Lu 南三里屯路泰乐坊1层 (At the corner of Sanlitun South Street and Baijiazhuang, Tuanjiehu. South-west of exit D Tuanjiehu Station), ☎ 6500 0559, . Daily 2pm-late. Serves every European beer and snacks, with nightly bands ¥40-100 pp. (39.9259,116.449)
- The Bricks Live Jazz, 8 Xindong St (Enter the inner-northern courtyard and go down the stairs), ☎ 6465 6692. 8pm-2am. Live local and international jazz bands from Wed to Sat. Modern leather lounge atmosphere, with well-stocked bar. Movies on Sunday. ¥40-80 pp.
The number of bars and clubs in the area around Workers' Stadium (Gongti) has increased over recent years. Anything as Sanlitun has been minimised by the city development. Now, the Stadium area shoud be considered a separate bar area. In fact, there are three distinct areas: the North Gate (Gōngtī Běi Mén) with the Kro's Nest, Vics and Mix; the huge entertainment complex on the West side (Gōngtī Xīlù); and Face Bar just opposite the south side of the Stadium.
West gate night clubs
- Cargo Club, 6 Gōngtī Xīlù 工体西路6号. One of the more upscale dance clubs at the west gate of the Stadium. House music.
- Circle (全明星俱乐部), 6 Gongti Xilu 工体西路6号 (Gongti Xi Lu with neighbours like the Elements, Baby Face, Coco Banana), ☎ 6552 9988, . 9pm-late. Nightclub in Beijing for the wealthy and fabulous (39.92856,116.43808)
- Coco (coco巴娜娜), 1F 8 Gongti Xi Lu / 1st floor Gongti West Road 工体西路8号 (A little bit north of the west gate of Workers Stadium), ☎ 8599 9999. 10am-late. Outrageously stylish nightclub free weekdays, 100 weekend. (39.928,116.4381)
West gate gay clubs
- Destination, 7 Gongti Xilu, 朝阳区工体西路7号, ☎ 6552 8180. Beijing's most popular gay club, opens from 20:00. free Wednesdays.
- Funky (Funky), 6th Floor, 8 Gongti Xilu 工体西路8号6层 (Find the West Gate of Workers Statidum and walk in 100m), ☎ 6551 6866. Daily 9pm-late. A fashionable, LGBT-friendly nightclub free weekdays, ¥100 weekend.
Cool bars south side
- Face Bar, 26 Dongcaoyuan, Gongti Nanlu 工体南路东草园26号, ☎ +86 10 6551-6788, . 12:00-02:00. This attracts a mature, well-heeled, beautiful-people crowd to the Gongti area. Tastefully decorated from around Southeast Asia, including opium beds for reclining in the bar area.
- Sanlitun (Huatong) Youth Hostel (北京三里屯华通国际青年旅舍; Běijīng Sānlǐtún Huàtōng Guójìqīngniánlǚshè), 1 Gongti N Rd (1 km NE of Dongsishitiao Stn (Line 2)), ☎ +86 10 5190-9288. Discounted rates for dorms from ¥30, doubles from ¥140">Free internet available as well as bicycle hire, landry service, safe and ticket office available. Chinese and western restaurant as well as bar. Friendly staff, but the knowledge of sights and how to get there are not impressive.
- Beijing Sanlitun Hostel (三里屯青年旅舍), No.1 Chunxiu South Gongti North Road Beijing, Beijing Area 100027 China, ☎ +86 1051909288, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. 2-minute walk from YaShou Shopping Market, affordable rooms with free internet access. Hostel has also a restaurant, reading area and movie room. 90CNY.
Mid range hotels
- Taiyue Suites, 16 South Sanlitun St, ☎ +86 10 8595-2277, . Decorating the city skyline with its handsome façade, this four-star hotel in Beijing stands along the Sanlitun embassy area and is close to plenty of attractions. Leisure guests will surely enjoy shopping at the Village, while business executives can easily reach the World Trade Center and CBD. Downstairs are a Chinese Restaurant and Beermania (listed above). From ¥551. (39.9259,116.449)
First class hotels
- The Opposite House (北京瑜舍酒店; Běijīng yǘ shé Jiǔdiàn), (北京市朝阳区三里屯路11号院1号楼;), ☎ +86 10 6417-6688 ([email protected], fax: +86 10 6417-7799), . The Opposite House is an achingly hip boutique hotel located in The Village at Sanlitun—a vibrant new open-plan shopping, dining and entertainment destination developed by Swire Properties. The hotel’s 99 guest studios, including 9 spacious suites and a penthouse duplex with a 240sqm roof terrace, are amongst the largest in Beijing. More than half of all the studios are over 70 sqm and all are strikingly simple with natural wooden floors and subtle touches of Chinese décor. Service is friendly and your stay will be a unique and personal experience without the usual stuffiness of luxury hotels. It is just like staying at a friends home, with a warm welcome, convenience, absolutely no fuss and stunningly simple contemporary design. From ¥1,850.