Easy Summer Living: Al Fresco Drinking and Dining in Shenyang

Easy Summer Living: Al Fresco Drinking and Dining in Shenyang
By Victoria Edwards , eChinacities.com

At times during the harshest parts of Shenyang’s tundra winter, it seemed as if summer would never reappear. But at last the temperature has warmed up, and people are crawling out of their heated hovels and flocking to outdoor bars and restaurants.

These outdoor eateries, located in the suburbs of Shenyang, have a uniquely summer party atmosphere. Shenyang offers a diversity of outdoor eating options. These outside eateries are often covered in big green tents, where crowds consume pitchers of ice cold beer and smoky barbecue meat. However, Shenyang also offers hip outdoor lounges that are reminiscent more of Miami than the Middle Kingdom. Three diverse dining choices include: 024 Barbeque, Le Le Mei Shi Cheng and Chanson Bar and Café.

1) 024 BarbequeView In Map
This green tent, which houses the outdoor restaurant, is located right underneath the TV Tower in the middle of Big West Market (Da Xi Cai Hang). A neon red and blue Chinese sign hangs from a tree, marking the eatery. Live dining options line the entrance of the restaurant: crates of fresh oysters and clams in water, along with a pairs of pigeons gazing morosely out of cages.

The restaurant is dimly lit by florescent light bulbs that are strung by wires from the tops of the tent. The atmosphere is jovial, with groups of people sitting around wooden tables eating and nursing half empty beer bottles. Understandably the service can be a little slow, presumably because of the large crowds it draws. They specialize in barbecue and seafood; and the food is generally decent, if not remarkable. We ordered barbecued chicken wing sticks, spicy fried silkworm and baked oysters with garlic. The food was generally quite average: the fried silkworm was flavored with red hot peppers and overpoweringly spicy; and the chicken wing sticks were bony, without much meat, and bland in flavor. The highlight of the meal was the baked oysters, which were warm and chewy with a strong garlic bite.

Food aside, the best part of this outdoor eatery is the opportunity for people-watching. Crowds of people from Big West Market mill past the outdoor restaurant. And foreigner sightings are common, as the Kempinski Hotel is a stone’s throw away. Although the food is not remarkable, the cheap beer and people-watching make this is an interesting summer dining option.

Add: Nanyijing Jie, Shenhe District, Shenyang
Average price per dish: 15 RMB
Average price per beer: 4 RMB
Opening times: 14:00-02:00

2) Le Le Mei Shi ChengView In Map
This outdoor restaurant is located in the obscure reaches of Shenbei. Still, if you’re in the area it may be well worth the trek. They are known for their individual plastic pitchers, or more accurately buckets, of ice cold beer offered at dinner. Like 024 BBQ, most of Le Le Mei Shi Cheng is housed in green tents, but it is pretty crowded with a lot more people in attendance. This restaurant is one of four barbecue restaurants squeezed together in close proximity.

The restaurant has more of a distinctly barbecue focus to it too. At all times there were about six men manning the two fire pits, where lamb, beef and chicken wing skewers roasted over hot coals. The restaurant is very social and the crowd, consisting of customers from all four restaurants, tends to be noisy and rambunctious. No doubt the giant buckets of beer fuel the chatter.

The service is very attentive and flexible. It was a rainy day, and the waitress had no problem re-seating a group of five, several times, to keep them dry. The food was also excellent. The barbecued chicken wings were both tasty and tender. The calamari and pepper dish was hot and spicy. The texture was light and crispy and incredibly flavourful. The last dish we ordered was ‘xiao mantou’ — fluffy steamed bread dipped in sweet, creamy condensed milk. With wonderful food, an energized social atmosphere, buckets of beer and delicious food, this restaurant is an irresistible outside dining option for Shenbei residents. 

Add: 18 Puchang Lu, Shenbei District, Shenyang
Tel: 137 0402 2313
Average price per dish: 25 RMB
Average price per beer pitcher : 20 RMB
Opening times: 18:00-02:00

3) Chanson Bar and CaféView In Map
This outdoor lounge feels more like Miami than Shenyang: the deck is furnished with white and beige lounge couches with throw pillows, positioned around glass tables. Light rap and hip hop music plays in the background. The lounge is lush with leafy trees poking out through the deck boards on the floor.

The outdoor deck is almost empty, but it still feels comfortable and laid back. Although there are light dinner items such as fried rice and fried noodles on the menu, this is definitely a cocktail place. I ordered a pink lady cocktail and it arrived in a martini glass. It was pale pink and milky, with the slightest hint of vodka. With the light music, cocktails and light dinner items, this is a great way to enjoy a less full-on summertime version of drinking and dining in Shenyang.

Add: 68 Xibinhe Lu, Shenhe District, Shenyang
Tel: 024 2295 3888
Average price for cocktails: 30 RMB

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Keywords: outdoor dining in Shenyang Shenyang outdoor restaurants al fresco in Shenyang


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