Although Nanjing has a vibrant and well-established nightlife, in the city's main clubbing area, the 1912 district, venues are more likely to be of the sit-down variety, with little attention being paid to the all-important dance floor. This guide will tell you where to find the best dance floors in the city.
1) Mazzo View In Map
Located in the centre of 1912, Mazzo is one of the most popular nightclubs in Nanjing. The club is split into two sections: Mazzo 1 and Mazzo 2. The larger section (Mazzo 1), which doesn't have a dance floor, is filled with seating and tables, and tends to be heavily populated with locals. The smaller section (Mazzo 2), has a small dance floor, and is extremely popular with Westerners in the city. Most other venues in 1912 don't have centralised dance floors; instead people tend to dance around their private seating-areas. If you want to dance in 1912, then Mazzo is your best bet. The music in Mazzo is mostly commercial pop, RnB and hip-hop, and the club is pretty busy most nights of the week. As with the rest of 1912, the drinks in Mazzo are extremely expensive—an imported beer will set you back at least 40 RMB—and even the perennially cheap Tsingtao costs 25 RMB. One benefit that Mazzo has over many venues in 1912 is that it is easy to find. Another important thing: You might be able to obtain a "Westerner-VIP" card for Mazzo that grants you drink reductions and other privileges. These cards tend to be given out upon request, usually on the dubious condition that you are discernably Western looking.
Add: B1, Building 6, The 1912 Nightlife District, 52 Taiping Bei Lu, Xuanwu District, Nanjing
Tel: 025 8453 7398
Castle Bar. Photo: Myspace.com
2) Castle古堡神曲酒吧View In Map
Castle Bar is located directly below the majestic Zifeng Tower. The establishment, a converted bomb shelter, is entirely underground. It has a much grittier feel when compared to the superficial "neon gloss" of 1912. Castle is primarily a bar (with two pool tables, foosball/table football, and a very large seating area) but it also has one of the largest dance floors in Nanjing. The music alternates between the kind of commercial tunes found in Mazzo, old-school hip-hop and more obscure, specialised house and electro music. Castle is nearly empty on many weeknights, but transforms into one of the city's best nightclubs on Friday or Saturday evenings. Drinks are much cheaper than at 1912, with a small Tsingtao only costing 15 RMB. It is extremely popular with Westerners (especially students) and locals alike, and occasionally features guest DJs of moderate fame. Importantly, it stays open quite late.
Add: 6 Zhongyang Lu, Xuanwu District, Nanjing
Tel: 025 8361 9190
3) 61 House View In Map
61 House is the smallest venue on this list. It was chosen because it offers an alternative to the pop/RnB music that dominates most other clubs in the city. 61 is also the club closest to Shanghai Lu, one of the main bar streets in Nanjing, where the "night-out" often begins. 61 House, as the name suggests, specialises in House music, and sometimes plays some electro and dub-step as well. The DJs here are generally better than in 1912. Like Castle, 61 House occasionally will feature special DJ sets or live music. The music area is underground and much smaller than the other venues mentioned. There is a small dance floor, which is rarely used; partiers instead prefer to stay in the seating area. 61 House is best served as a Friday, Saturday (or Sunday) destination. Prices are similar to Castle Bar. Expect a more relaxed vibe than the other venues.
Add: 61 Hankou Xi Lu, Gulou District, Nanjing
Tel: 139 1392 3848
4) Big (and small) Scarlet View In Map
There are two Scarlet bars in Nanjing. One is in 1912, and the other, bigger and better one near Hunan Lu. This location places a strong emphasis on hip-hop music and is very popular with Westerners (especially since it is near the the university). If you appreciate hip-hop then this is the place for you. Larger than its 1912 counterpart, it is busy most nights of the week and has a decent-sized dance floor. The club also has a reputation for an interactive musical scene, having held many rap and hip-hop competitions in the past. This has created an "uninhibited" atmosphere that easily facilitates dancing. The Scarlet in 1912 plays similar music but, typical of the district, is less suitable for dancing, and therefore may be less popular with visitors to Nanjing. As with Mazzo, a VIP card is quite handy at both Scarlet locations. The larger one is highly recommended, as it is (in my opinion) the centrepiece of Nanjing's nightlife. Also, it's open very late.
Add: No 34-1, Hubei Lu, Gulou District, Nanjing
Tel: 025 8320 6090
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