Up for something new and completely different? You may be wondering, or imagined before coming to China, that the only bars around consisted of glitzy KTVs (Karaoke) or gigantic glamorous clubs with dressed to impress clientele ready to throw down 5,000 Yuan or more for a Friday night out. While Karaoke does have its time and place and sometimes maybe you do feel like a club with a big named DJ, other times you want something a little smaller and a bit more local. What if you are in the mood for something a bit more unique, unexpected, and part of China’s new bohemian scene?
Photo: Benjamin Fawks
In Guangzhou, tucked away and a bit difficult to find but well worth the effort, is a bar inside an art gallery that originated as a factory. Intrigued yet? In what has become a trend in recent years, several artists have renovated an old pre-Cultural Revolution Chinese factory and craftily remodeled it to reflect the new Chinese art scene that has begun to surface the last few years in China’s bigger cities. The most famous are 798 Art District in Beijing and Shanghai’s Moganshan.
Originally opened in 2003, the place was given the moniker Park 19, and soon became one of the city’s best spots for artists, musicians, sculptors, etc, to present and appreciate the city’s newest art momentum. It was later renamed Loft 345 because it occupies the 3rd, 4th, and 5th floors of the Xiao Gang Hua Yuan Building. Its interior and formerly white walls have a distinctly artistic feel to it now that they are covered completely inch by inch by ornately expressive graffiti and color. Inside, there are around 40 fully operating living/working studios that are rented out.
Photo: Benjamin Fawks
The expositions are mostly from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts and usually run for one or two months because the bar specifically strives to allow students the opportunity to exhibit their work.
The bar is open everyday but Monday from 9pm on and every night there are different highlights. There is an open music circle on Thursday nights. The bar is well known for its music scene and variable genres of music played. From jazz to funk, blues to folk, punk to experimental, the diversity provides an atmosphere pleasing every musical niche. There is even a spoken word night that is currently held the first Sunday of every month.
For something truly memorable and inspiring and to make you feel a part of this vibrant city, mesh into the new artistic segment of Guangzhou’s society; try a bar off the usual tourist path and into the art gallery world
Loft 345View In Map
Address: Haizhu District, Jiang Nan East Road, No. 19 Qian Gui Da Jie. 4th floor of Xiao Gang Hua Yuan Building
Address (Chinese): 海珠区江南东路前桂大街19号晓港花园4楼
Phone: (020) 84238985
Hours: Tuesday - Sunday, from 9pm onwards
Directions: Subway Line 2 - Jiang Nan Xi Station, exit C. LOFT345 is about 400 meters east from the station, along the river / Jiang Nan Dong Lu (Jian Nan East Road). Walk along the river until the brick workshops end, and then enter the left gate to the white building. The door is on the left side of the building; take the stairs to the 4th floor.
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