Hidden hutongs: Nanluoguxiang

Explore Nanluoguxiang's side alleys for some hidden gems

Yeah, yeah - you've seen Nanluoguxiang, Beijing's most tourist-friendly street, a million times. But what about its side alleys? Read on for some oft-missed gems



Its name might be out of date pretty soon, but this little bar doesn’t care – it’s too damn quirky to dig what the mainstream thinks, maaan. From the silver arms sticking out of its front to the top-hat lamps in the main room, 2012 is an all-out exercise in kitsch. We especially like the back room, where you can kick back with a drink and idly toy with a plasma ball while admiring the kooky, movie-themed displays.
2012 61 Xiaoju’er Hutong, Dongcheng district. Open 1pm-12am daily. (156 0118 0101). 东城区小菊兒胡同61號

Great Leap Brewing


A real hidden gem, this courtyard bar offers several absolutely delicious draught beers, ranging from honey-flavoured brews to India pale ales. They’re reasonably priced – at 25-50RMB, they’re less than what you’d pay for, say, a Guinness elsewhere. It’s tricky to find, but it’s well worth a leap of faith.
Great Leap Brewing 6 Doujiao Hutong, off Di'anmenwai Dajie, Dongcheng district. Open 5pm-10pm Tue-Fri; 2pm-10pm Sat; 2-10pm Sun. (5717 1399) 东城区豆角胡同6号院

Suzuki Kitchen


This dinky Japanese place is still relatively new, but has managed to drum up good business among the student population thanks to its wallet-friendly menu and big, stomach-filling portions.
Suzuki Kitchen 77 Xiaojuer Hutong (off Nanluoguxiang), Dongcheng district. Open 10.30am-2pm; 5.30-9.30pm daily. (6403 1518). 铃木食堂,东城区小菊儿胡同77号



Tan offers up a fine selection of CDs by local bands such as Pet Conspiracy and Wu & The Side Effects, as well as vintage typewriters, summery clothing and – for reasons unclear – a selection of plastic Smurfs. It’s well worth perusing.
Tan 5 Heizhima Hutong, Dongcheng district. Open 11.30am-11pm daily. (6402 2756). 东城区黑芝麻胡同5号
  • 4 out of 5 stars