A Guide to Jinan’s Growing Expat Bar Scene

A Guide to Jinan’s Growing Expat Bar Scene
By Michael Evans , eChinacities.com

While Jinan may not have the thriving bar scene of China's bigger cosmopolitan cities, it still offers up a variety of reliable hangouts for expats looking for a place to relax or cut loose.  What's more, the "Spring City" is on the move and changing fast. This not only means an influx of new expats and watering holes to quench their thirst, but also that many longtime establishments have changed locations, or simply disappeared altogether. Here is a brief guide to help get your bearings, with four spots to check out (and one to just keep walking right by).

1) The English Corner  街角酒吧 View In Map
Located in the center of the city just two blocks away from Quancheng Square (济南泉城广场), The English Corner is a mainstay of the expat scene. With dim lighting and loud music, The English Corner follows a simple, standard bar format that makes it feel like a place you might find back home, complete with a dartboard and foosball table. The place's name is particularly appropriate, not only because the language spoken by the majority of patrons (many of whom seem to be employed as ESL teachers), but because the bar also draws a fair number of Chinese students looking to meet some new foreign friends.

Add: Foshan Jie, Lixia District, Jinan
地址: 济南市历下区佛山街3号
Tel: 138 0893 0576, 186 6014 8519
Opening hours: 18:30-02:00
Getting there: ride No. 39, 49, K52, 70, 80, K96, 102, 165 bus to Yinzuo Shangcheng (银座商城). The English Corner is located on the right side of the street just beyond the Silver Plaza and Yuquan Simpson Hotel.

2) Lan Gui Fang  兰桂坊View In Map
Named after Hong Kong's raucous and decadent bar district, Lan Gui Fang provides a high-energy alternative to Jinan's more laid-back establishments. Located two blocks away from Shandong Normal University and closer still to many smaller colleges, the bar draws a younger crowd of foreign students and their Chinese classmates. Well-known since it opened in 2003 for its off-beat décor and great music, it recently relocated from its previous spot on Wenhua Dong Lu to its current location. Aside from hosting an eclectic range of live music (though hip hop and R&B are the usual fare), Lan Gui Fang also holds frequent parties and special events featuring food and drink specials.

Add: 242-2 Shanda Lu, Lixia District, Jinan
地址:济南市历下区山大路242-2号
Tel: 137 9107 8925
Opening hours: 18:00-03:00
Getting there: ride No. 18, 48, K59, 75, K94, 110, 123 bus to Shengzajituan (省杂技团) and head west.

3) Banjo Music Bar  班卓音乐酒吧 View In Map
While many Jinan bars feature occasional bands and singers, Banjo is the place to go if you're looking for live music.  Performances begin every night of the week at 22:00, either from the in-house band or one of the many guest groups that stop by on their tour across China. Banjo Bar's lineup includes both bands from all around China, as well as international acts (frequently European). The atmosphere at Banjo Music Bar is relaxed and casual – perfect for a mellow evening hanging out with a few friends.

Add: 51 Foshan Jie, Inside the Wangfo Building (near Wenhua Xi Lu), Lixia District, Jinan
地址: 济南市历下区佛山街51号,望佛楼内(近文化西路)
Tel: 0531 8685 8585
Opening hours: 18:30-02:00
Getting there:  ride No. 18, 75, K94, 103, 110, 123 bus to Qianfoshan Lu Beikou (千佛山路北口). Crossing Wenhua Dong Lu, the entrance to Banjo Bar is located just behind the Agricultural Bank of China. Coming from the direction of Quancheng Square, head down Foshan Jie to the very end of the street. 

4) Jenny's Café  珍妮咖啡西餐View In Map
With its picket fence and flowering window boxes greeting patrons as they make their way inside, Jenny's provides an oasis of calm and a familiar touch of home in the middle of Jinan's university district. Not strictly a bar, Jenny's Café offers a little bit of everything: coffee, cocktails and a sizeable wine list. The surprisingly wide range of food choices extends from French fries and fajitas to mussels in coconut sauce. The country cottage décor is cosy and inviting, but can make an already small space feel a bit cramped during peak hours. Long opening hours make this a convenient place to stop by any time of day, though the midnight closing time makes it clear this isn't the place to party the night away.

Add: 2-2 Wenhua Xi Lu, Lixia District, Jinan
地址:济南市历下区文化西路2-2号
Tel: 8260 8477
Opening hours: 9:00-24:00
Getting there: ride No. 18, 75, K94, 103, 110, 123 bus to Wenhua Xi Lu Dongkou (文化西路东口). Jenny's Café is located across the street from the RT-Mart. 

5) Pyramid  金字塔 – The Bar That Wasn't There
Guides to Jinan frequently include glowing reviews of the Pyramid Bar, a fixture of the university district featuring a vibrant live music scene, a friendly expat owner, and some of the best pizza in the city. A large sign featuring the bar's name and an image of its namesake monuments hangs prominently across the street from Shandong Normal University. But to the disappointment of long-time locals and the confusion of newcomers, Pyramid closed its doors in 2008 – its former location now housing a piano showroom. The forgotten sign is now all that remains.

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Keywords: Expat bar scene Jinan expat hangouts Jinan expat bars Jinan

4 Comments

All comments are subject to moderation by eChinacities.com staff. Because we wish to encourage healthy and productive dialogue we ask that all comments remain polite, free of profanity or name calling, and relevant to the original post and subsequent discussion. Comments will not be deleted because of the viewpoints they express, only if the mode of expression itself is inappropriate.

1

Guest15340062
comment|74521|1704451

Hi, I'm planning to visit Jinan this weekend, where can I go to hang out with the expats there?

Nov 19, 2017 20:20 Report Abuse

2

Guest15228934
comment|74349|1692103

The description of the English Corner is inaccurate. I was there in September 2017 but nobody speaks English. I wanted to meet with locals who speak at least a little bit of English. I should have read the comments before wasting my time and money to get there.

Sep 08, 2017 23:30 Report Abuse

3

AndroX81
comment|50846|303794

A totally innacurate description of 'The English Corner'. You won't find any expats in here, just a few seedy looking locals. 25 RMB for a local beer you pay 7 RMB for in a mid range restaurant.

Sep 15, 2014 21:21 Report Abuse

4

Guest2699052
comment|50862|299894

It's probably an inaccurate description because this article was published 2.5 years ago.

Sep 16, 2014 10:50 Report Abuse