Shopping, Dancing and Dining: A Guide to Wudaokou's Wonders

Shopping, Dancing and Dining: A Guide to Wudaokou's Wonders
By Mark Turner ,

Wudaokou’s Chengfu Lu is one of Beijing’s commercial and recreational areas most overlooked by the non-student/university crowd. However, in recent years, the area has come on in leaps and bounds receiving attention from residents of other districts. With lively crowds of North and South Americans, Europeans and South East Asians amongst many others Wudaokou (known as the Wu by many of its youthful denizens) is one of Beijing’s most cosmopolitan districts and is earning a name as a cultural hotspot. Residents can remember back only a few years ago when as far as the eye could there was nothing in the area but fields; now high rents are prevalent and Wudaokou is home to China HQ’s for big multinational companies such as Google. All of this bodes well for those wishing to spend some of their leisure time in the northern suburb. Here is a run down of shopping, eating, drinking and dancing experiences up for grabs in Wudaokou. All the places in this article are a mere five minutes walk from the Wudaokou stop on the Subway Line 13.

Wudaokou’s place to dance has always been Propaganda: some love it, others hate it and many love to hate it. Propaganda has that winning formula: discounted drinks of questionable authenticity, booming chart-topping hip hop, and most importantly, droves of young, beautiful foreign students. In the last couple of years the club has cleaned up its image somewhat and is drawing from a broader spectrum of Beijing’s night crawlers, though classy – like Lan or Metro – this venue will never be. Taking Propaganda at face value it is a great place for carousing younger peoples and has an excellent dance floor to work up a sweat on. It’s pretension-free and can also be something of a meat market.

By day, Pyro Pizza is a bustling pizza restaurant serving respectable American-style topping-heavy pizzas. By night, it is often packed with hordes of students and every inch of space is occupied by gyrating torsos and swinging limbs moving to the pulse of mega hits popular in dive bars and student unions all over the world. Like Propaganda, Pyro is not to everyone’s tastes, but if one is younger and looking for crowds to be immersed in, or company, then you can’t go wrong.

Propaganda 五角星酒吧View In Map
Add: 100m north of the east gate of Huaqing Jiayuan, Wudaokou, Haidian District, Beijing
地址: 北京市 海淀区五道口华清家园东门向北100米
Tel: 010 8289 3991
Opening hours: 20:00- 0:00

Pyro PizzaView In Map
Add: Basement of Building 12, Huaqing Jiayuan, Wudaokou, Haidian District, Beijing (also about 100m north of the east gate of Huaqing Jiayuan
地址: 北京市海淀区五道口华清嘉园12号楼B1
Tel: 010 8286 6240
Opening hours: 11:30-14:30 and 17:30-0:00

Wudaokou has its fair share of bars and places to enjoy a tipple. For those that enjoy the distraction of some live music whilst they drink there is D-22 and neighbouring Club 13 (also known as 13 Club). Both are places to catch on Beijing’s musical talents. Club 13, somewhat lower profile than D-22, is a place for music fans to catch up and coming talents before they blow up and a staple venue for bands paying their dues in the capital.

La Bamba, although predominantly a reasonably-priced Mexican restaurant, is also a popular drinking spot. La Bamba’s bright cheerful ambience and roomy layout offers a great respite and virtually a breath of fresh air for people who find other Wudaokou’s other night spots to be too dark or claustrophobic. Its first floor area has pool and foosball as well as rowdy music, the second floor is a haven for those that wish to enjoy at chat with friends in more chilled out environs.

Club 13View In Map
Add: West Side of Chengfu Lu, 161 Lanqiying, Haidian District (east of Beijing University east gate, west of Qinghua University south gate), Beijing
地址: 北京市海淀区蓝旗营161号成府路西侧路南
Tel: 010 8261 9267
Opening hours: 20:00-02:00

La BambaView In Map
Add: Huaqing Jiayuan East Gate, Wudaokou, Haidian District, Beijing
地址: 北京海淀区成府路华清嘉园东门北
Tel: 010 8286 6755
Opening hours: 10:00-06:00

There is an abundance of places to check out for a meal in Wudaokou; most notably, Korean spots guaranteeing bona fide Korean food as testified to by the hordes of contented looking Korean students munching away at crowded tables. One part of the Korean dining experience which is not to be missed is the drinking of soju liquor either neat or mixed in with beer. It can be found all over Wudaokou but perhaps the most classy place to enjoy it is in Sa Lang Bang. The restaurant has an extensive menu of classic Korean dishes and a discrete, minimal and private interior.

Fans of the CBD-based Grandma’s Kitchen restaurants are now able to enjoy the Western-style comfort food in Wudaokou. Most will agree that Grandma’s tooth-itchingly sweet, thick milkshakes are not to be missed as is their all day breakfast skillets which are arguably the best in town, bar none.

Also worthy of a mention is Greek Delicacy, which provides Greek dishes in a fast food setting. Despite the décor, or lack thereof, it’s a perfect restaurant to enjoy that Mediterranean flavour that is so under represented in the capital

Sa Lang Bang 舍廊房View In Map
Add: 3/F, Dongyuan Plaza, 35 Chengfu Lu, Haidian District, Beijing
地址: 北京海淀区成府路35号东源大厦3层
Tel: 010 8261 8201
Opening hours: 11:00-05:00

Grandma's Kitchen Wudaokou 祖母的厨房五道口店View In Map
Add: 5/F, Wudaokou U-Center, 28 Chengfu Lu, Haidian District, Beijing
地址: 北京海淀区成府路28号, 五道口商业中心五层
Tel: 010 6266 6105
Opening hours: 10:00-23:00

Greek Delicacy 希腊美味View In Map
Add: 5/F, Wudaokou U-Center, 28 Chengfu Lu, Haidian District, Beijing
地址: 北京海淀区成府路28号, 五道口商业中心五层
Tel: 010 6266 6100
Opening hours: 10:00-23:00

One of Wudaokou’s shopping attractions which draws attention from local visitors and students alike is its street-side market clustered between the Wudaokou train station and Pyro Pizza. Spread out on the pavement near the station, many of the vendors being Tibetans and other Chinese minorities, all manner of ethnic trinkets are on offer. However, taking some of them through customs might land you prison time in many countries as the produce was previously living (and endangered, wild cats skins being just one example). Still, all manner of ethnic-style gifts as well as cheap gadgets are available and of interest. There are also book vendors selling a variety of English and Chinese language books for super cheap prices off of bicycle carts. The new jewel in Wudaokou’s shopping crown is the U-Center, a recently-built shopping mall which houses all of the usual mall favourites, a department store and other popular stores such as Uniqlo and a Nike footwear store with lots of snazzy sports shoes. The multi-story mall is also home to many restaurants (including Grandma’s Kitchen and Greek Delicacy) and an arcade – a fun place to stop by on your way to a big night out.

U-Center 五道口购物中心View In Map
Add: 28 Chengfu Lu, Wudaukou, Haidian District, Beijing
地址: 北京海淀区成府路28号
Tel: 010 8238 6996

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