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Its name might be out of date pretty soon, but this little bar doesn’t care – it’s too damn quirky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).
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)
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).
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).