Chongqing's expat bars range from high-end and exclusive (and yes, sometimes clique-y) to open and budget friendly (and sometimes a bit off the cuff). While it definitely won't be nominated for an award for most vibrant expat nightlife any time soon, Chongqing's foreigners have eked out a scene that can definitely lay claim to its colourful personality. Without further ado, Chongqing's Best of: Expat Bars Part Two.
1) Best Networking/Best Music: Cotton Club 棉花俱乐部 View In Map
Cotton Club is a bit overpriced but if you're looking to network with local expat-entrepreneurs, this is the place (and it so happens that a certain variety of local girls have figured that out, too). While the environment can be a bit predatory, it is also the only spot with a house band — and a decent one to boot.
“It's a mix… there's a lot of opinions about Cotton Club. But whenever we want to go listen to music, we usually end up at Cotton Club,” says Mark S, an English teacher and Jiefangbei resident. If you're not looking to get in on the clique-y-ness but still willing to overlook it, then the music is worth it.
Add: LG Floor, Meili, Jiaochangkou, Yuzhong District, Chongqing
Tel: 023 63810028; 023 63830036
Opening hours: 19:00 – 3:00; music every night; sets start at 22:00 and 24:00
2) Best Sports Bar: Discovery BarView In Map
Founded by The Chongqing Conquerors, Chongqing's surprising Rugby team, this is the place to head to if you want to get in with the sports crowd. While it's definitely out of the way, if you want to have drinks with like-minded folk while watching NFL and NBA replays or Live Premiere League football on the weekends, this may very well be worth the trip. Discovery Bar is definitely a community type of place but the environment is still open and welcoming.
Add: Industrial Bank Building, Honghuang Lu, Hongqi Hegou Roundabout, Jiangbei District, Chongqing
Tel: 159 22758121
Opening hours: 18:00-3:00
3) Best Upscale Locale: Chongqing Tiandi 重庆天地 View In Map
The Chongqing Tiandi, a beautiful, peaceful and very upscale shopping and entertainment complex, has yet to attract the floods of nouveau riche consumers and taste-makers that it anticipated. Nevertheless, it's still a rather interesting and even relaxing place to go for a change of pace. Of the three lounges (as I'll call them), start with Dancing with the Sharks, if only for the novelty of drinking in the company of million-dollar marine life (whether or not that's a sustainable business model is a great topic of conversation that pairs nicely with the fine wines and pricey cocktails on offer).
Then head up to the Greenhouse Music Club, if only because supporting any kind of cultural scene in Chongqing is worth the tab you'll ring up. Lastly, top it off with Somewhere Club, a much livelier venue than the previous two and a little less expensive to boot. Be careful, though — it's easy to blow all your money in one spot, so come prepared. One last tip: if you're going all the way out to Tiandi, you might as well start your spending spree with dinner at the delicious Bon Bon.
Add: Hualongqiao, Shuitian Lu, Chongqing Tiandi
Tel: 023 63636346; 023 63636246 (Dancing with the Sharks); 15111982393 (Greenhouse Music Club); 023 63263880 (Somewhere Club)
4) Best Institution: The Beer Garden (AKA: The Outside Bar) 啤酒天地 View In Map
If ever there was a foreigner bar in Chongqing, the Beer Garden would be it. Literally “a couple of tables in the corner,” the Beer Garden, otherwise known in expat parlance as The Outside Bar, has managed to cling to its corner for at least six years, which in Chongqing time is almost an eternity. Go here for a warm-up before hitting Deyi World and while you're at it, check out the menu for Western junk food.
Add: LG, A-S Floor, Deyi World, Jiaochangkou, Yuzhong District, Chongqing
地址: 重庆渝中区较场口得意世界A - S楼L G层
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Keywords: best bars Chongqing western food Chongqing foreigners in Chongqing expat hangouts Chongqing Beer Garden Chongqing
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