Things change fast in Beijing, and this is especially true for the live music scene. Just over four years ago, one could pretty much count the number of live music venues with the fingers of two hands. The old Yugong Yishan, D22, 2Kolegas, Star Live, Lucky Bar, Nameless Highland, What Bar and a couple of others were generally considered the nucleus of Beijing’s rock scene. But that was back then. With new small to medium sized music bars popping up like wild mushrooms every other month, you’ll be forgiven for quickly falling out of the loop with who’s who in the music venue scene. In the past year alone, Beijing has seen some rather big developments such as the opening of Mako Livehouse and One. Smaller venues too are managing to peep their heads through the dense fog of the longstanding music venue mainstays. Here’s a list of some of the new live music venues that have opened in the last couple of months.
1) Mako Livehouse麻雀瓦舍View In Map
This venue is huge, and would do well if it just wasn’t located all the way over in Shuangjing and down a dark, hard-to-find alley off the main road. But location aside, Mako is a combination of live music venue and theatre, with the capacity to sit up to 300 people. The venue boasts one of the largest stages for live music, a long sprawling bar, 10 metre high ceilings, an upstairs area with additional seating and a balcony, adequate toilet facilities, a spacious lounge/foyer area with foosball tables, a cloak room etc. Most reviews so far have described it as a “bigger”, more “spruced up” version of D22.
What music to expect there: Mako Livehouse is not limited to one musical genre, though it has been placing a strong emphasis on folk in recent months. However, anything from rock, metal, punk and folk rock is likely to blast from the sound system here.
Add: Hongdian Art Factory, 36 Guangqu Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Tel: 010 5205 1112
2) The One Club 壹空间View In Map
Classy is the name of the game at The One Club, a stylish new live music venue, art gallery, recording studio and club space combined into one. If you come here expecting graffiti, dirt or the usual “anything-goes” atmosphere found in some of Beijing’s other notorious rock joints, you’ll be very disappointed upon arriving here. The One is decorated with chandeliers, gold framed mirrors, shiny floors, a squeaky clean bar and most importantly, a good sound system.
What music to expect there: So far, the overarching emphasis has been on jazz, but the venue has also staged burlesque shows here as well as a number of other rare performances.
Add:5 Good Loft, 19 Ganluyuan, Gaobeidian Beilu (inside 718 Gudi Media Culture Garden), Chaoyang District, Beijing
Tel:0105914 8087, 5914 8089, 400 898 8383
3) School View In Map
School Bar was founded by Joyside rock n’ roller Liu Hao. However, given the reputation of the band’s members, especially their enthusiastic fondness for alcoholic drinks, this new venue is, surprisingly, not the hole you would expect it to be. On the contrary, School is rather chic and elegant, with a fine selection of drinks and international beers on tap. Strictly speaking, School is a bar, not a live music venue, although on weekends they usually have a good selection of electronic musicians and DJs. The bar promotes itself as “the hippest indie music spot in Beijing” where you can “easily discover rock stars”.
What music to expect there: Electro and dance. Highlights so far include a Sulumi set and performances by the Shanshui crew.
Add: 53 Wudaoying Hutong, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Tel: 010 6402 8881
4) Zuiyuefang醉乐坊View In Map
Nestled in the hutong district of Gulou, Zuiyuefang is the newest intimate folk music venue in town. Founded last December, at a time when Chinese folk music was in the midst of its popularity boom, the bar offers live music by top local performers from Wednesday to Sunday. Intimate red lighting compliments the mellow music performed here, and the instruments lining the walls quickly establish its identity as a newcomer in the live music scene.
What music to expect there: Chinese folk rock music, Mongolian folk music, etc.
Add: 30 m east of Beiluoguaxiang North Entrance.
Tel: 010 6405 4482 (reservations), 136 9368 2191 (performance queries)
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Keywords: new music bars Beijing 2010 Live music venues Beijing new music venues Beijing 2010 new live music venues Beijing
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