As a foreigner passing through the China, sometimes it’s hard to find good live rock music if you don’t speak Chinese. This isn’t because it doesn’t exist; it is usually because you don't know where to look. Sometimes, travelers lament how China only has KTVs or pop music, but usually if you travel to China’s bigger cities, you are bound to find good Chinese rock, or at least a cover band that you can enjoy and get the sing-along-bar experience. You To Bar in Hangzhou is one of those places which will remind you that China is not only a place with temples and dumplings, but a cool modern music scene as well.
Hangzhou is an interesting city, it’s clean with fresh air, and there is a breathtaking lake where you can ride bikes or stroll around. In the spring, pink blossoms line the shore; while in the winter, Christmas lights pepper the trees with a mystical twinkle. Unfortunately, many travelers overlook Hangzhou altogether, believing that they should spend several days in Shanghai, only because they don't realize that one of China’s most beautiful cities is only an hour away with the new fast train that connects the two cities.
KTV is definitely a fun Chinese experience that everyone should take part in while in China, but sometimes you want to see live music. You To Bar - not You too, U2, or You 2, has a truly authentic Chinese atmosphere, with some of the best live cover bands around. This is not a place to go and relax; this is the place to check out when you want something lively and fun. It’s not an expat bar like many bars in the area. The bar is always packed with local Chinese people, so you should get there early if you want a seat. There are two levels, and the inside is completely adorned with wood, giving it an indoor cabin feeling. The wooden benches and tables are lined with people playing dice drinking games and cards, while swigging gulps of icy cold beer for 22 RMB a mug. They have four beers on tap and the wait staff is generally efficient at getting your drinks in a timely manner.
Their cover band plays on weekends, and attracts a local following that is loyal and energized, and the music conquers the crowd with each passing song. The band plays everything from Chinese rock to favorites like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, or everyone’s favorite sing–along–song–that-no-one-knows-the- words-to, “Volare”. Whether you are by yourself or with a group, you can simply join in on someone’s singing group and use the music to have a bar-bonding experience.
Photo: Andrea Hunt
For a fun night out and to see a different side of China’s music scene, check out You To Bar’s weekend live music. It will leave you to experience a side of China you didn’t know existed, but wished you had gotten to see earlier!
You to Bar (You To酒吧)
85 Shuguang Lu, Hangzhou, China
+86 (0571) 8797 6788
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