Guangzhou Nightlife on the Riverside
The Guangzhou bar scene is difficult to define. Bars in this city will often be attached to tea houses, cafes, western restaurants, karaoke clubs, net cafes, and dance clubs. At most all of these locations the bar has become the main attraction. This says something about just how fun these venues can be! The bars attract all walks of life and can here you can find people just looking to relax after work or simply looking to party and have a wild night.
My first bar experience in Guangzhou was at 23. Club I’ve always thought bars with numbers in their name have a mystical quality -- like that number might be a code to some profound insight. 23 Club is big, covering roughly 300 sq/m; the dance floor can pack a large crowd, and the rest of the place is top notch too. There are big comfortable couches for patrons to take a break from the dance floor and the glass interiors are quite astounding. There is a large vaulted ceiling above the whole place which lends the bar an epic atmosphere. As the boss explained, 23 hours, or 11 o'clock is the busiest time for business when the place swarms with customers. He went on to say that the reason his place is so popular is not because they have the best drinks or food, but because they have set up the kind of environment where people can be comfortable and at ease. This, he says, is the key to having a successful bar.
Every major city in China has its share of "foreigner bars" where expatriates gather when they just want to be with people of a similar background and culture. In Guangzhou, the best bars of this type are all found on Huanshi Donglu and Taojin Street where the majority of foreigner-run bars are gathered. The first of these bars was opened on East Dongfeng Street and is called Red Sun. The bar is run by an overseas Chinese and has been popular ever since it was opened many years ago. Previously, it was known as a place for artists and musicians. After some time, they changed names to Red Windmill for no apparent reason. After the success of Red Windmill, the owner went on to open Africa Bar and then Mexico Bar. After all this, he partnered with an Israeli man to open Gipsy King Bar.
Muzi is a bar operated by a local woman and her French business partner. It first opened on Shuiyin Road but later moved to the East of Huanshi Lu. This popular club offers very tasty French home-style cuisine and a trendy bar to boot.
At night, Huanshi East Road is a sea of patrons coming and going amongst the many fabulous bars located here. You will find white collar workers and foreigners alike. There is a great mix of old and new styles here too. There is plenty of traditional architecture here as well as international business districts. Starting in 2000, bars began sprouting up on every corner and the scale and grandeur of the new bars keeps growing and growing.
Traveling east on Huanshi Road you come across Elephant & Castle, Magic color and Mexico and Hill Bar. There is one other bar that draws perhaps the biggest crowd, Gipsy King Bar and Magic colors. Foreigners stuff these two bars to the brim night after night but especially on weekends. Hanging out here on a Friday night might be a bit confusing since there are so many foreign faces -- you might forget that you are actually in the south of China. This is truly a bar street without borders.
On nearby Huaqiaocun Road you will find China Box Bar, The Place, Sleeping Wood Café and others. All the bars here sparkle in the night sky and draw the attention from passersby. The venues here have everything from full bars, private rooms, dazzling interior design and bumpin' danc e floors, to cushy seating. If you want to party on this street you had better bring your pocketbook, however. The drinks here are all exorbitantly priced with a bottle of beer fetching upwards of ￥300!
The name means, "along the river" and this is no exaggeration. Here customers will find no greater riverside scenery in all of Guangzhou. This is another foreigner-dominated scene but you don't have to look far to spot a Chinese face in the crowd either. It is not quite as posh here as the above mentioned Huaqiaocun Road bars but you will not be disappointed.
From Renji Road traveling west you will come across The Rolling Rock Night Club: a place for smooth jazz and a chill vibe. Continuing on you will be greeted by Happy Bar, Cafe 1920, La Wate Bar and Babyface. These clubs are all frequented by young white-collar workers tourists. Accordingly, the prices are high and the mood is anything but traditional. Every night at dusk, one can see the sunset over the river while enjoying a beverage of their choice -- don't pass this up if you find yourself with the chance.
The greatest asset of this up-and-coming-talent is its architectural freshness. Some say it reminds them of Shanghai's Bund district. Currently, this is cheapest place to get a drink around. This all-inclusive attitude attracts all walks of life. The bars here offer modern designs and breath-taking views of the river. Beers here only cost ￥100, cheap by local standards. Everyone is friendly here and there is little pretense. Nearby bars include True color, EVE bar, Amigo, and many, many more.
Read the original in Chinese here
Some Popular Bars in Guangzhou
Gipsy King Bar 大篷车View In Map
Basement of West Tower, Zhujiang Building, 360 Huanshi Donglu, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou
23 Club 23点View In Map
1/F, Guangdong IEC Tower, 403 Huanshi Donglu, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou
Elephant & Castle 大象堡View In Map
363 Huanshi Donglu, Guangzhou
Hill Bar 小山吧 View In Map
367 Huanshi Donglu, Guangzhou
China Box 红雨View In Map
3 Heping Lu, Overseas Chinese Village, Guangzhou
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