Shut up and Drink (Huxley's)
16 Yandai Xiejie, Houhai area, Beijing 烟袋斜街16号
Opening times: 5pm till late.
Bars are not native to Chinese culture. Several Beijing taxi drivers have told me they find the western habit of drinking without eating incomprehensible. Chinese bars are usually thinly disguised restaurants or night clubs, often featuring a weedy singer-guitarist or an egomaniac DJ inflicting techno. What a relief to find a bar with the slogan "Shut up just drink!" The graffiti-covered walls give Huxley's a student feel. With friendly staff, cocktails that contain alcohol (the mojitos are a must), and beers at ten kuai, we definitely rate this place and so does the loyal, mixed crowd it attracts. Only gripe is that by 10 pm the bar had run out of cold beer due to the absurd custom of selling bottles in batches of twenty to show-offs who stack them on their table and wait for them to warm up. (Text by John Sexton, Photo by Wang Zhiyong)