Shenzhen has made great strides in recent years in terms of beer selection and availability. Half a decade ago you would have struggled to find anything other than a 2 RMB street-corner Tsingtao or Kingway to take the edge off expat life. Thankfully, things have improved drastically since then. I was in an independent corner shop recently that was selling Carlsberg, PBR and Budweiser. Amazing. For China, this is an essentially Michelin-starred quality boozery. I was impressed. Unfortunately though, for real range and tasty brews, you still have to head to an expat bar. Here’s a rundown of the best.
1) Frankie’s Bar and GrilleView In Map
This has to be the number one beer spot in Shenzhen. Frankie’s is a beer aficionado’s paradise. Firstly, the staff are more knowledgeable than anyone else in the city, both through seasoned jobs as career alcoholics and a hefty academic interest as well. Secondly, the quality is second to none. The most telling indicator of its calibre is the fact that many of its beers and ales are only available seasonally. No cryogenically stored anti-freeze-lined all-year-round Tiger here. Last time I checked they had something called a Rock Bar Appalachian Pale Ale (45 RMB), a deep, fruity, aromatic ale brewed locally by expats that became my new favorite drink in seconds. They’ll have something new and undoubtedly better next month. And that’s just on tap. Ask bartender par excellence Nate or Jordan to delve into their fridges for something equally delightful in bottle form. They’ll have you covered.
Add: 33-34 Guihua Yuan Garden, Fenghuang Dao, Guihua Lu, Futian District, Shenzhen
Tel: 755 8271 9220; 130 288 808
2) 3D BarView In Map
This is an odd choice. 3D bar, to be perfectly frank, is a bit of a dive. It is one of those Chinese bars that was set up five or six years ago with the aim of looking like a Western one, yet never actually figuring out how to do so. Back then, pickings for expats were slim so they got away with it, but now there are much more appealing places to go. And many do. The inside is dingy, the staff don’t seem to know what they are doing and there are peanut shells everywhere. However, the beer range is ridiculous. Truly staggeringly ridiculous. I didn’t actually believe it the first time I went (was dragged) there, but sure enough, when the beers started coming my face lit up. Boddingtons for 45 RMB, Fruli for 55 RMB, London Pride for 50 RMB, Delirium Nocturnum for 60 RMB, all from a huge picture menu that goes on and on and on… The locale may be appalling, but the range of beers on offer makes it more than worth it.
Add: 3D Bar, Block B, Bar Street, Citic Plaza, 1093 Shennan Zhong Lu, Futian District, Shenzhen
Tel: 755 2598 6011
3) RapscallionsView In Map
Rapscallions own tagline is “Foodies of the World Unite,” but they’ve certainly been pounding the old booze front recently. When it started out, the restaurant served Tiger and the usual suspects, but in recent months it has branched out extensively. Brewdog beers from Scotland, Rogue from Oregon, USA, Canadian Moosehead and a whole range of Aussie beers, all priced between 35 and 50 RMB. The staff can be hit or miss. During the day-time, the B-Team is out in force, but if you wait until the evening and succeed to find manager Darragh wandering around you can be sure to receive an excellent recommendation. Rapscallions is one of the few bars I know of that has had a dedicated beer tasting night, held in the summer. Sam Saint, 77 Lager, Punk IPA, ACME pale ale, Dead Guy Ale and many more were featured. Some are even still in stock, reason enough to go visit.
Add: Coco Park North, Min Tian Lu, Futian District, Shenzhen
Tel: 755 8359 7131
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Keywords: Shenzhen beer bars locally brewed beer Shenzhen Shenzhen imported beer
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