There’s no shortage of watering holes for the consummate expat living in Ningbo, but the number of European-themed bars and pubs seems to be on the rise, much to the delight of the thirsty laowai living there. Now weekend revelers can develop a headache simply trying to choose from the range on offer: jaunty Irish pubs; warm and hearty Bavarian beerhouses seemingly chiseled out of one giant chunk of wood; super sleek and minimalist French bars for beret-wearing lefties; and large bar/restaurants serving a plethora of pan-European cuisine. So no matter where you’re from, there is a bar to help stave off the homesickness for at least one more weekend!
1) Irish Shamrock Bar 三叶草爱尔兰酒吧 View In Map
Just from the name itself, you can pretty much guess that ‘Shamrock’ is going to be an Irish bar, before even setting foot inside. The décor has subtle Irish undertones, although rather more ostensibly based on the traditional English tavern feel of grey brickwork with red framing. The walls are adorned with graffiti, and a whole host of Irish knick-knacks hang from them, alongside a well-stocked functional wine rack.
Although Shamrock ain’t the biggest bar in terms of floor space, some clever arrangement of tables and chairs gives a feeling of extra space. As well as the cavern-like main area, there is a courtyard outside for alfresco boozing, and major sporting events are shown on the big LCD tv screen inside, so come wearing your team colours during World Cup!
Add: 89 – 107 Waima Lu, The Old Bund, Ningbo
Tel: 0574 8124 8996
Opening hours: 18:30-02:00
Getting there: Take (air conditioned) bus 7, 151, 206, 350, 363, 529, 632, 633, 635, or 636 and get off at Hecheng Lu stop.
2) Munich Beer Garden 慕尼黑啤酒花园 View In Map
Situated in the ‘Manhattan of Ningbo’, on Heyi Avenue, the Munich Beer Garden is easy to reach by either public transport or those with access to a car (ample parking nearby). It is primarily a German-style bar, which also serves Western food and has integrated facilities. The theme is very much Bavarian: big, open spaces; heavy, robust wooden furniture, and a chunky wooden bar. The bar serves authentic Paulaner beer imported from Germany, and up on the third floor is a restaurant catering to pan-European taste buds. The restaurant offers good views over Ningbo (if your eyes aren’t too blurry after too much Paulaner), and every night from 8pm the resident Filipino house band play live music. Lederhosen optional.
Add: 1041-2037 Heyi Avenue Shopping Mall, Area C, Ningbo
Tel: 0574 8701 9999
Opening hours: 10:00-02:00
Getting there: Take bus 202, 291, 518, 821, or air conditioned bus 2, 4, 10, 15, 19, 350, 503, 504, 506, 515, 517, 521, 528 or 804 and get off at Heyi Avenue stop (和义大道).
3) Le Cargo 乐咖吧 View In Map
If it were any lower profile, you’d be searching for Le Cargo bar in the substrata, and while it may not be as loud or as flashy as some of the surrounding haunts, Le Cargo offers a cool, conspicuous way of relaxing alone or with friends. Turning away live bands in favour of piping in hand-selected strains of quiet jazz, the bar’s comfy interior is by no means spacious, but you can sit back safe in the knowledge that you are the coolest cat on the block. On sunny days tables and chairs are arranged out front, so that passers by can be awed by your phlegmatic nonchalance.
Things are quiet before 10:30pm, but after that they soon start to hot up, with people coming from far and wide to play table foosball and other table-top games, or simply prop up the bar with a cocktail. Around midnight Le Cargo lets her hair down and turns the music up, with laowais disco-bopping away into the wee hours.
Add: Jiangbei District, The Old Bund, no. 33 Yangshan Alley, Ningbo
Tel: 0574 8766 5552
Opening hours: 17:00-02:00
Getting there: Take air conditioned bus 1, 4, 8, 18, 19, 20, 331, 370 or 541 to The Old Bund stop (Jianghua Hotel North Bus Station, 江花宾馆汽车北站)
4) Harley & Germany Bar 哈雷德国酒吧 View In Map
First opened in 2002, the Harley bar is considered one of the more ‘historical’ bars in Ningbo. With no strong prevailing style or theme, Harley still retains a laid-back feel, with aged communist propaganda posters and magazines tacked to the walls, and (bizarrely) Christmas mistletoe hanging from the ceiling year-round. The bar plays an eclectic mix of music ranging from jazz and Latin to British rock, and for entertainment they have managed to squeeze in a pool table and big screen television showing sports events.
Seeing as it is essentially a German bar, there is an impressive range of imported German beers and continental wines and spirits on offer; in addition you can find tasty snacks that won’t break the wallet. Amble down in your slacks and soak up the atmosphere.
Add: No. 18 Haishumayuan Lu, Ningbo
Tel: 130 0572 8695
Opening hours: 18:30-02:00
Getting there: Take the 345, 510 or 821 bus, or the 10, 330, 804 or 965 air conditioned bus to Ningbo Haiguan 宁波海关 (Ningbo Guojian, 宁波国检)
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