Hidden Hutongs: Beixinqiao and Yonghegong

Brews, barbeque and nightlife dominate this maze of hutongs

Brews, barbeque and nightlife dominate here

Leg of Lamb


Running the full length of Gui Jie, Beixinqiaosantiao is the main drag in this hutong cluster, and features a string of chuan’r restaurants. Make your way carefully past the searing buckets of coal that line the alleyway to the imaginatively named Leg of Lamb restaurant. Here, you can skip the meat kebabs and go all out with a whole leg of mutton (52RMB per jin). The partially cookedleg (which requires reservations) is brought out and set up to grill on the table. Once the meat’s cooked to perfection (or you just can’t wait any longer), start carving and dig in.
Leg of Lamb 63 Beixinqiaosantiao. Open 11am-midnight daily. (138 0129 3221) 东城区北新桥三条63号

161 Lama Temple Courtyard Hotel

Once you move away from the Beixinqiao subway station, cafés are few and far between – unless you know where to look. This unassuming hutong hotel offers a café that is perfect for relaxing midday with a coffee (20-30RMB).Surprisingly, the hotel also offers its own dark beer, alongside a handful of imported bottles. During the summer months, and especially on blue-sky days, take advantage of the outdoor courtyard space that’s filled with flowers and fresh air.
161 Lama Temple Courtyard Hotel 46 Beixinqiaosantiao (8401 5027). 东城区北新桥三条46号

Hippo Bar

hippo resized

When the weather’s nice, show up early or you’ll have trouble finding a seat at this tiny bottle shop. You’ll find the usual range of imported beers in the fridges, from Leffe to Brew Dog (30-55RMB), plus Beijing’s everyman cocktail – the mojito (20RMB). Pull up a stool and watch the street fillup as locals pour into the hutong for dinner. If you get peckish, the next-door restaurant usually has bowls of peanuts and edamame for snacking.
Hippo Bar 19 Beixinqiaosantiao. Open 3pm-midnight Mon-Fri; 3pm-2am Sat-Sun (132 6118 3114) 东城区北新桥三条19号

Baihe Courtyard Restaurant


This spot has earned a reputation as a faux-meat restaurant, but the veggies aren’t the only reason to come here. In fact, the dishes can be hit and miss – stick with the more traditional, straight-up vegetarian offerings. The courtyard also houses an organic shop that sells everything from tea and fruit to plant food, and the front room serves as a café where you can chill out with a pot of tea.
Baihe Courtyard Restaurant 23A Caoyuan Hutong. Open 11am-9.30pm daily (6405 2082). 东城区东直门北小街草园胡同甲23号

Lark Brewpub

A stone’s throw away from Beixinqiao subway, this brewery serves up coffee and smoothies by day (25-35RMB) and beer and cider when the sun comes down (30-40RMB). As one of the only places in the city brewing their own cider, the fruity concoctions sell out fast so keep an eye out for when they’re on tap.
Lark Brewpub 67 Beixinqiaotoutiao. Open 10am-midnight daily (139 1130 2258). 东城区北新桥头条胡同67号


mas resized

The colourful bar specialises in daiquiris (the cocktail kind, not the frozen ones) and puts a Latin twist on the rest of their drinks menu – try the Tomas Collins (40RMB) for a refreshing tipple.
Más 25 Beixinqiaotoutiao. Open 6pm-late Tue-Sun (6405 4337). 东城区北新桥头条胡同25号
  • 4 out of 5 stars