A few years ago, there wasn’t too much to speak of in the way of good pubs and bars at Coco Park in the Futian area. Most expats stuck to the familiar banality of Shekou’s bars whilst the more adventurous would trek out to the more Chinese-style bars in Luohu where warm beer and poor service was all too commonly the status quo. While the situation seems to be improving in both Luohu and Shekou, Futian is on the rise, with Coco Park containing a good number of boozers to suit all budgets and tastes.
From traditional pubs to live music, Coco Park is rapidly becoming a bar destination for both Chinese and expats alike. Located in (somewhat) central Shenzhen, it’s stuck right between Nanshan and Luohu Districts. When line 4 of the new metro partially opened in December last year, Coco Park became more accessible for Shekou area residents and for people in other parts of Nanshan who wanted to try a new area but didn’t want to pay a significant taxi fare for their evening’s imbibing. Here’s a selection of some of the more popular establishments.
1) La CasaView In Map
La Casa is fast becoming a real gem of a place, despite being situated between two noisy Chinese-style clubs. Inside, the bar is pretty small, but it also features a vast outdoor seating area, perfect for relaxing on Shenzhen’s long warm evenings. Owner Dave Seymore is a man whose passions extend beyond general hospitality and into creating a genuinely friendly and homely feel for patrons. By running regular quiz nights and a famous open mic night every Sunday evening, he has brought together many of Shenzhen’s aspiring poets and musicians. The beer here is cheap, around 20 RMB for a big Tsingtao beer or 25 RMB for a pint of lager. A well-priced selection of wines, coupled with delectable homemade pizzas and pasta have ensured La Casa’s status as a popular, if slightly arty, top expat hangout.
Add: Shop 139, Coco Park North (Behind Fuhua Lu), Futian District, Shenzhen
Tel: 0775 8290 3279
Opening hours: Mon-Sat, 14:00-Late
2) McCawley’s Irish PubView In Map
If you are looking for a quiet pint in a traditional pub, McCawley’s ticks all the boxes. From its wood-paneled walls to the sweeping staircase leading to the second floor, this pub oozes old world charm, and has many features you would expect from a quality city pub in the UK or Ireland. They have an extensive (slightly expensive) range of imported beers, including, of course, draught Guinness all the way from Dublin. Their traditional pub menu caters to expats who miss the comfort-stodge from back home, including roast chicken, Irish stew and imported steaks. Although McCawley’s is more expensive than other bars in Coco Park, it remains ever popular due to good service, weekly live music and sports coverage.
Add: Shop 151-2, Fuhua Lu, near Mingtian Lu, Coco Park, Futian District, Shenzhen
Tel: 0775 2668 4496
Opening hours: daily, 10:00-02:00
3) Club VivaView In Map
If you’re looking to party on into the wee small hours, then Club Viva (or “the dark side” as the locals say) will slake your thirst. This bar-cum-nightclub is popular with young expats and Chinese, all gathered for a chance to get lucky with a member of the opposite sex or just to continue the night’s session because all the other bars are closed. Although Viva isn’t really big on food, they do provide tapas-style snacks to keep you going through the night. Drinks aren’t too pricey, and they can knock you up a decent cocktail if you ask nicely. If you are a fan of jazz or folk, you might be a little disappointed with the pounding dance music that hammers out of several outdoor speakers, but Club Viva is Coco Park’s only real nightclub at present.
Add: Shop 140, Coco Park North (Behind Fuhua Lu), Futian District, Shenzhen
Tel: 137 9825 6176
Opening hours: daily, 17:00-05:00
4) Demon BarView In Map
This bar is another option if you want to continue drinking late into the night. Demon Bar is situated on the east side of the Coco Park shopping centre on Bar Street, and offers a quieter alternative to Club Viva. The expansive outside seating area is very popular during the warmer months, with large outdoor projector screens showing sports from CCTV. Drinks here can be pretty cheap, especially the five Tsingtao beers for 100RMB deal during Happy Hour, making this place an attractive choice for drinkers on a budget. Don’t expect too much in the way of quality service as few of the waiting staff speak English, and you will have to pay for your drinks as you go. But if you can get over these quibbles, then Demon Bar can be a great place to socialise for medium sized groups.
Add: Fuhuasan Lu, Coco Park, Futian District, Shenzhen
Tel: 0755 2531 3800
Opening hours: daily, 17:00-03:00
5) Xpats BarView In Map
As the name might suggest, Australian-owned Xpats is the haunt of many Westerners in Futian, although Chinese patrons frequent the bar as well. Though not technically part of Coco Park, it’s only a ten minute walk away and attracts many of the same crowds who drink in La Casa or McCawley’s. Famed for their ice cold pints of Carlsberg and Tiger, Xpats has attracted new customers over the past year or so by featuring two happy hours every day. The bar itself is fairly small, but this adds to the welcoming atmosphere so that even if you intended on having a quiet drink on your own, you will eventually end up blathering away with friendly locals. Xpats is also a great place to catch live sports, with everything from American Football, Cricket, Rugby and Baseball aired on the big screen.
Add: 1016-7 Central Walk, Fuhuayi Lu, near Zhonxinwu Lu, Futian District, Shenzhen
Tel: 0755 8280 1352
Opening hours: Sun-Thurs, 12:00-02:00; Fri-Sat, 12:00-03:00
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Keywords: Shenzhen nightlife Shenzhen expat hangouts Shenzhen bars Coco Park Shenzhen Coco Park bars Shenzhen
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