Time Out Bar & Club Awards winners 2016

The verdict is in – these are the very best bars and clubs in the city

20161026121851105Discover the best bars, clubs and nightlife spots in the city as decided by Time Out and you.

As well as a winner and a merit award chosen by Time Out's expert panel of judges, Time Out Beijing's 2016 Bar & Club Awards includes a readers' choice in each category, as voted by our readers.

Check out the full list of winners by category below, as well as footage from the awards show.


Winner The Tiki Bungalow

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Why you’re here Because in a city where hutong bars reign supreme, The Tiki Bungalow rules them all. As the city’s first and only fully fl edged tiki bar – serving up complex cocktails that set the tiki trend in motion in southern California in the ’30s – you won’t find anything else like it in Beijing.

What’s the vibe Bamboo fixtures, tiki masks and glass floats that cover every surface of the bar and hefty pours of rum set the tone here. It’s a small island paradise in the middle of the hutongs.

What you’re having Blood of the Kapu Tiki (175RMB). Cuban rum, absinthe and Peychaud’s bitters are mixed with pomegranate nectar and lime, orange and grapefruit juices to make this fierce four-person sharer.



Merit 4corners

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Why you’re here Sandwiched between the Drum and Bell Towers and the Shichahai lakes, this unassuming Dashibei Hutong haunt conceals multiple personalities behind its heavy wooden doors.
 
What’s the vibe As the evenings wear on, the charming courtyard bar transforms from a chilled drinking and dining spot into a raucous bar with a fully packed weekly schedule of events – weeknights include an open mic night, a pub quiz and story-telling sessions. On weekends, live performances from soul house band Tavey Lean and The Solid Gold Dream Machine and regular DJ sets draw in the crowds.



Readers' Choice Modernista

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Winner Great Leap Brewing #45 Brewpub

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Why you’re here Great Leap Brewing continued to dictate terms in Beijing’s maturing craft beer scene in 2016; the coming-of-age of its Liangmaqiao branch saw it pass the field by a greater leap still.

What’s the vibe Known fondly as 'pizza Great Leap' for its world-class pies, #45 is a family-friendly daytime destination – packed with families and the diplomatic set – around which a good weekend naturally evolves. At night it loosens the tie and eases back into its rambunctious old self, welcoming a truly mixed crowd with its inventive ales and professional service. 

What you’re having A pint of Chesty Puller IPA and a Precious Island pizza, thanks.




Jing A Taproom-3

Why you’re here Jing A has spent another stellar year lubricating punters with Beijing’s most innovative roster of cold ones. There’s something for everyone here, with shark-jumping brews like the The Imperial Pumpkin Monster Mash and Watermelon Xanadu. 

What’s the vibe Supplementing its beers with a busy schedule of collabs and takeovers, the brewpub strikes the enviable balance of being exciting and relevant while retaining a homely comfort. 

What you’re having The Flying Fist IPA – arguably the best in its category citywide.



Readers' Choice Jing A Brewing Taproom

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Winner The Distillery

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Why you’re here You like gin, and lots of it. Not only do the connoisseurs at The Distillery have an unmatched selection of gins from around the world, they’ll even fix you a stiff one with their home-brewed high-class hooch. 

What you’re having A gin martini, of course. Ask what’s fresh off the still or peruse the shelves of imported gins. On Mondays house martinis are a steal at 30RMB (7-9pm).




capital spirits

Why you’re here Over the past two years, the team at dedicated baijiu bar Capital Spirits have made it their duty to educate the public on China’s most iconic yet contentious spirit. Stocking over 50 varieties and mixing up a selection of baijiu-based cocktails, even the most hesitant drinkers are bound to find something for them. 

What you’re having New to the spirit? Make yours an ‘Intro Flight’. For 40RMB you can try one from each of the four major styles.



Readers' Choice The Distillery

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Winner Paddy O'Shea's 

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Why you’re here If there’s a game to be watched, there’s simply nowhere better in Beijing. Paddy O’Shea’s shows just about every sports event on the calendar at all hours of the day, with commentary, and for that we’re forever grateful. 

What you’re watching Six Nations Rugby




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Why you’re here Because watching the game has never been more Gongti. This unlikely sports bar opened its chrome doors earlier this year, cowering in the shadows of Gongti Xi Lu’s crudest nightspots. The sport offering – everything from curling to Aussie Rules – is quite remarkable, as are the opening hours (weekdays 10am-3am; weekends 10am-7am). The loveable Lisa, who used to run the show at legendary bar The Den, keeps things just the right side of debauched. 

What you’re watching AFL



Readers' Choice Paddy O’Shea’s

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Winner School Live Bar

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Why you’re here To soak in some of the best rock bands in the city while taking advantage of the well-maintained bar – perfect for getting efficiently sloshed at one of the characteristically sloppy punk gigs. 

What’s on the bill School has the most reliable booking schedule of both young up-and-coming bands and veterans. With great shows almost every night of the week, it’s one of the most musicianorientated venues in Beijing. 




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Why you’re here You’re discovering the underbelly of Beijing’s experimental, alternative and indie music scenes. Many venues catering to experimental music have closed over the last few years, making Fruityspace the new home for this displaced set. 

What’s on the bill A wide variety of noise musicians, underground hip-hop artists and offbeat electronica producers.



Readers' Choice Temple Bar

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Winner Botany

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Why you’re here No, you’re not headed to a house party. Botany may be situated in a converted one-bedroom apartment in Yoolee Plaza, but don’t be fooled – this tiny bar by Frankie Zou, formerly behind the bar at TRB, packs all the punch of a world-class cocktail bar. 

What’s the vibe The small-yet-plush surrounds add a whole new level of intimacy and exclusivity to your evening out. Expect innovative house-made and seasonal ingredients and unique flavour combinations, all explained and recommended by the knowledgeable bar staff. 

What you’re having Black Truffle Martini (95RMB). A spicy mix of dark rum, black truffle, homemade Roma bitters and tropical fruit, garnished with Moroccan spice.




infusion room

Why you’re here Beijing’s bar scene has expanded in fits and starts over the years, but Infusion Room was more of a rocket-fuelled growth spurt. In the hands of suave head barmen Paul Hsu and Kevin Song, a disused storeroom space transformed into an indo-chic libation laboratory. Serious players in the Asian bartending circuit, there’s no flavour profile too obscure or too obtuse for their shakers. 

What you’re having I’m Not a Beer (100RMB). A potent tipple of gin, malt and dark beer reduction crowned with a head of oolong and hops infused foam. 



Readers' Choice Botany

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Winner Mei Bar, Rosewood Beijing

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Why you’re here Mei Bar’s exceptional cocktail, whisky and wine bars and chic surroundings draw in Beijing’s young, rich and glamorous elite. The staff at Mei find any excuse for a party, and things are kept fresh with a regularly updated drinks menu and a series of kicking live house bands. Mei Bar is the new place to be seen.

When you’re here For a taste of the high life at half the price, come during the week for 50 percent off cocktails (6-9pm). If you’re a lady, Thursday is your night, with free cocktails and champagne from 9-11pm. 

What you’re having Tiki Baijiu (85RMB). Erguotou baijiu with lychee liqueur, lychee puree, pineapple puree and coconut syrup.




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Why you’re here Xian has a scene for everyone, serving as a cocktail bar, a whisky bar, a games bar, a live music venue and a pizza place all at once. 

What’s the vibe Xian is the place to let loose. Its nightly happy hour (5-8pm) offers half-price beer, cocktails and pizza. Throughout the weekend or at the regular events, revellers come for the chill and stay for the party that will inevitably ensue.




Rosewood Beijing _ MEI (2)
Winner Shackup

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Why him He’s constantly updating his sound and style to match the pulse of the current global underground dance music zeitgeist. Shackup has consistently upped his game, expanded his repertoire, and enhanced his skill set since he first started popping up on the Beijing scene a few years back. He has the ability to read the room and tailor his set to whomever he’s playing with like no one else in the city. This year he’s really caught on in Shanghai as well, just having finished a residency at The Shelter. 

Where you’ll find him Dada.




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Why him While most DJs have a genre they stick to, Puzzy Stack has shown his skill across a variety of beats. The Beijing native has played at a number of different styles of clubs throughout the city, all of which have welcomed his unique mix of electronic tracks. 

What you’re listening to He says he has no favourite style to DJ so Puzzy Stack plays it all, from house to dubstep. 

Where you’ll find him Dada. 



Readers' Choice Mickey Zhang

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Winner Do Hits

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Why them They’re digging up some of China’s freshest and most promising young producers and DJs. This year Do Hits morphed from being only a club night to also functioning as a label, and they’ve covered a lot of ground in 12 short months. They’ve put on multiple national tours including the Motherland event series that put New York-based rapper Bohan Phoenix and Beijing’s Howie Lee on stages across China. 

What you’re dancing to Do Hits break the Beijing club-night mould because they’re not just repeating other people’s music, but actually creating their own sound full of lush and beautifully rendered samples of traditional Chinese instruments brushing up against club-ready future bass beats.



Merit NB Noise

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Why them NB Noise do more than just put together a great line-up of DJs, they also provide unique decorations, party toys and entertainment for their patrons. Not only do they host great club nights, they have also organised a number of festivals and epic day parties in and around the city. 

What you’re dancing to You’ll find their regular line-up of local favourites spinning a diverse mix of the most danceable electronic music of the day.



Readers' Choice Dim Sum Disco

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Winner Friday and Saturday Nights at Destination

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Why you’re here It’s Saturday night. It’s 3am. There’s only one party in town still worth going to and you’re loving life, dancing away to anything from dubstep to disco classics. 

What you’re having Who cares!? It’s fruity, it’s icy, and it was free with your ticket. 

Who you’re looking at They’re young, pretty and far too fashionable. Thankfully, the go go boys and drag queens are there to be seen.




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Why you’re here You’re a gal who loves gals, or gals and boys, or just a good time. 

What you’re drinking A crisp mojito, or maybe a premium European beer. Shots if things get messy later on. 

Where you’re sitting Snuggled on a sofa in the main hangout space, or close to the stage. 

What you’re dancing to Anything. The beats are as eclectic as the clientele.




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Winner Elements

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Why you’re here While the heyday of other Gongti clubs has come and gone, Elements has played a key role in bringing international DJs and acts to Beijing for years. Although dancefloors are notoriously small in such clubs, Elements is always jammed with pretty people dancing the night away. 

What you’re dancing to Elements consistently hosts DJ Mag top 100 DJs and the biggest EDM stars, while its residents come from across Asia and Europe.




Modo

Why you’re here While Modo is fairly new, it has already made a name for itself as one of the brightest and most banging clubs in the city. With top DJs, entertaining dance acts and one of the best designed stages in town, Modo guarantees a great night out. 

What you’re dancing to International DJs bring the best of EDM to Modo, which also has live performances by singers and producers. 



Readers' Choice Elements

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Winner Dada

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Why you’re here Reigning champion Dada is the most dynamic and worldbeating of all the clubs in the city. While most maintain the same style night after night, Dada showcases a variety of the biggest and newest emerging genres in underground electronic music, pushing the local scene forward while also attracting the hottest international names. This last few months alone have seen Dada host two godfathers of techno in back-to-back bookings – Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson. 

What you’re dancing to Dada hosts genre founders, the most unique live acts of our time and the best local DJs from in and around Beijing.



Merit Lantern

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Why you’re here Aside from the consistently appealing underground techno and house, Lantern is the only place in Sanlitun to party until well after the sun comes up. Even when it’s not hosting an event, you can count on Lantern to keep you dancing the night away. 

What you’re dancing to Lantern’s residents may not switch up styles very much, but you’re guaranteed the very best of tech and progressive house no matter what time of the night you stop by.



Readers' Choice Dada

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Winner The Tiki Bungalow

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Why you’re here Since opening late last year, The Tiki Bungalow has garnered an almost cult-like following – and it’s little wonder why. Bungalow is one of a kind in Beijing; the snug bar is the perfect mix of sophisticated drinks in laidback surrounds, and a carefully curated menu still manages to feature over 60 classic and recklessly strong Tiki cocktails that won’t ruin your bank balance. 

What you’re having The Painkilla ’34 (60RMB). Dark Jamaican rum, gold Bermuda rum, coconut cream, orange juice and pineapple juice.



Merit La Social

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Why you’re here A labour of love and obvious passion project from the team behind Mosto and Moka Bros, La Social is a distilled version of South American nightlife culture with a Beijing twist. Here, you’ll be prostrating at the altar of divine cocktails before you can say 'forgive me father...' 

What you’re having When you’re not swimming in the oversized Totuma Passionfruit Mojito (88RMB), it’s a Ginger Blasphemy (50RMB), with rose syrup, ginger and a kick from a slug of Campari and Havana rum.



Readers' Choice La Social

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Winner Great Leap Brewing #12 Brewpub

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Why you’re here There’s a reason Great Leap #12 has won this award three years in a row. The place is a true Beijing original, representing the best of the city in everything from its ingredients to its brand identity. Great Leap #12 continues to set the bar for professionalism, consistency, quality of service – you name it. If we had to nominate one Beijing nightlife ambassador to represent our city globally, this would be it. And we have no doubt they’d kill it. 

What you’re having Honey Ma Gold (35RMB), a light ale made with Sichuan peppercorns and Beijing honey.




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Why you’re here A bona fide nightlife institution, this Spanish party bar offers something for everyone. Beijing’s nightlife scene wouldn’t be the same without its unparalleled rooftop, innovative cocktail menu (with some of the heftiest pours in town) and strong music programming. 

What’s the vibe There’s always something happening, from salsa Mondays and Ping-Pong Wednesdays to a great line-up of local and international DJs through the weekends, courtesy of music director Nic Shepherd (aka DJ Boflex). It’s the sort of place you can come for a quiet drink or party till sunrise. Your call.



Readers' Choice The Tiki Bungalow

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