School is a bar that boasts some Tardis-like characteristics. Initially, the discreet entrance leads you into a small courtyard with a large tree and some impressive wall murals.
But once inside, the space is a lot bigger than you might expect. With a long bar, large dancefloor and second floor, it’s easily the largest bar in the hutong.
Once inside, the décor is all futuristic greys and concrete floors, suggesting that School is more of a minimal club in the style of the old White Rabbit – before they got all colourful and started serving cocktails. The drinks themselves are affordable: 25RMB Tsingtaos, cocktails that cost between 30-45RMB, and Bacardi Breezers for 25RMB.
The bar is run and staffed by the ex-members of Beijing band Joyside, who can often be found lounging around the bar area, plucking a guitar in the private room, or otherwise being effortlessly cool.
With local electronic beasts like Sulumi and Liman already playing here, and a regular Friday night party with Russian DJs, you can expect School to keep itself relevant with a wide range of DJ events.
Considering the amount of effort required to resist putting crap education-based jokes in this review (‘A great place to get detention’; ‘You won’t mind being caned here’, ad nauseam), expect many of these nights to feature a terrible name, but don’t let that put you off.
The rockers in charge have a taste for the underground, and if any venue on Wudaoying Hutong is likely to take off, it’s School; in short, this a great venue with a bright future.
There really is no excuse for skipping class this time. Damn. Sorry about that. Ross Goulding