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Thou Shall Drink: Beijing Booze Shopping Guide

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Having trouble finding your distilled spirit of choice in Beijing? Then look no further because this guide to Beijing liquor and wine shops will put your search to an end. Take a walk down your average street in Beijing and you will be hard pressed to find a liquor store that offers a reasonable selection of alcohol. In a typical Chinese liquor store you will only find one choice of spirits, Baijiu, which for those who have not tried it, is like drinking liquid fire. In most stores or restaurants, the only beers you can find are local favourite Yanjing or China’s most popular beer, Qingdao, both of which are light and tasteless beers. Good luck trying to find a decent bottle of wine in any run of the mill store or restaurant!


Photo: flickr.com

However, just because you can’t find some western alcohol varieties on "Main Street" in Beijing doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Whether you are looking for hard liquor, wine, or beer, the good news is that it is now easier than ever to find in Beijing.

1) Super Markets
As opposed to the west, where liquor stores are free standing entities, in China most western style supermarkets contain a fairly sizeable collection of foreign alcohols. The following chain stores (in alphabetical order) all have a decent amount of space dedicated to distilled spirits. BHG seems to have the most expansive collection but is also the steepest in price. Conversely, Wal-Mart is the cheapest but offers the smallest selection.

  1. April Gourmet – four locations: Sanlitun area (2), Lido, and Shunyi
  2. BHG Market Place – five locations: Dawanglu, Solana, Shuangjing, Sanlitun, Wudaokou.
  3. Carrefour - seven locations: Sanyuanqiao, Temple of Heaven, Shuangjing, Zhongguancun, Beijing Zoo, Fengtai, and Wangjing.
  4. Jenny Lou’s – seven locations: Central Park, Jianwai Soho, Dongzhimen, Ritan Park, Chaoyang Park West Gate, Sanlitun, and Wangjing
  5. Wal-Mart – four locations: Zhichunlu, Dawanglu, Wangjing, Xuanwumen, and Dajiaoting

2) Delivery
Why go out looking for alcohol when it can come to you? Thanks to the advent of modern technology and the Internet there are now online liquor stores that allow you to pick and choose their spirit of choice and will deliver right to your door. The following online stores offer a reasonable selection of alcohol that you can order all from your home computer.

  1. www.asc-wines.com - Very professional website which includes reviews, articles, and promotions.
  2. www.bjliquorestore.com - This basic website offers a decent collection of wines and alcohols.
  3. www.liquorstore.cn - It is not the most beautiful website but offers a variety of wines and distilled spirits with free delivery within the 3rd Ring.
  4. www.thewinerepublic.com - This site is a compliment to the company’s brick and mortar location at Jianguomen. It offers home delivery options and promotes wine events as well.

3) Liquor Stores
Believe it or not your traditional freestanding liquor store or wine shop does exist in Beijing. There are also a ton of small convenience stores that carry a small selection of liquore. Truth be told, there are more than can be listed here. However, with the exception of El Nido which stocks an amazing array of imported beers on Fangjia Hutong, they are mainly all clustered around expat living areas such as Guomao, Shuangjing, Lido, Sanlitun, Dawanglu Chaoyang Park West Gate and embassy districts. For instance, take a walk around a compound like Central Park or Global Trade Mansion in Guomao, and you will find three to four different shops.

However, there is one quintessential liquor store that cannot be passed up because of its variety and unbeatable prices. The aptly named "Heaven" is tucked away on the small street behind The Village and Yaxiu Clothing market, 100 meters west of "Nearby the Tree" pizzeria. Enter this no-frills shop and you will be wowed by the wall-to-wall display of liquor, all different varieties from all over the world. In a club or bar, bottler service will set you back a minimum of 400 RMB but most likely 700 RMB or more. In Heaven, you get a bottle for 100-200 RMB. They also have a selection of wines, as well as serious assortments of craft microbrew beers in a freezer ready to drink. While most patrons probably take their booze to go, the store has a few tables and chairs, allowing patrons to mix up their own drinks on the spot. "Heaven" is the real deal liquor store and is certainly worth checking out.

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Keywords: where to buy alcohol in Beijing where to buy spirits Beijing liquor stores Beijing liquor shopping guide Beijing alcohol in supermarkets Beijing

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2 Comments ( Add your comment )

1
comment|39317|259623
Guest2336614

That's strange O_o How come the biggest websites for alcohol delivery such as www.m1ntcellars.com, www.yesmywine.com, www.jiuxian.com are not mentioned? Those offer delivery to Beijing, Shanghai and all across China as well. yesmywine is cool although difficult to handle for a foreigner, I always have to ask a Chinese friend to order stuff for me xD

Aug 01, 2013 11:58
2
comment|21188|0
Chris

Here in Xian, Metro stock a wide range of French Italian German and New World wines and spirits, even down to Tonic water mixers!

Oct 28, 2011 04:11

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