Pints in the Park: The Best Bars in Suzhou’s Industrial Park

Pints in the Park: The Best Bars in Suzhou’s Industrial Park

While the charms of Suzhou’s old town are famous, most Western expats live and work to the east in the modern and functional Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP). The park might not sound like a nightlife hot spot, but it’s definitely worth visiting for a beer or two, as it is home to many bars catering for all tastes. Nestled between the lake (Jinji Hu) and historic Suzhou, the pubs mainly cluster in a single area covering about one square kilometre. A rash of new bars has recently opened up, bringing the total to over 20.


Mister Pizza on Singha Plaza has been around for many years, and is where many expats gather to watch big sporting events. The owners will keep it open for late night viewing, and the courtyard is regularly packed when the weather is nice. The drinks are some of the cheapest in Suzhou; 10 RMB for a large bottle of Tsingtao – perfect for washing down your pizza.

Mister Pizza, 密斯特披萨  View In Map
Add: 117-118, Xindu Plaza, 8 Jinjihu Lu, Suzhou Industrial Park, Suzhou
苏州工业园区金鸡湖路8号馨都广场117-118号
Tel: 0512 6288 3677
Open: Every day 24 hours
Getting there: Buses 27, 28, 46, 78

 The Blue Marlin III is part of a well-established chain, and sits at the crossroads of Shihui Lu and Xinghai Jie. There’s a large bar area, a pool table, outdoor seating, sport on the TV, and a resident band playing every night. Prices aren’t the cheapest, so try and take advantage of their happy hour between 16:00 and 19:00 each day.
Blue Marlin Bar & Restaurant, Xinghai Branch 蓝枪鱼 View In Map
Add: 168 Xinghai Lu, Suzhou Industrial Park, Suzhou
苏州工业园区星海街168号
Tel: 0512 6288 9676
Open: 10:30-02:00
Getting there: Buses 26, 37, 46, 78 and others
Website: http://www.bluemarlin.cn/cms/index.php?lang=en

Close by on Commercial Street is Suzhou’s only truly American bar, Black Mirage. Run by an eccentric South Carolina man, this is the place for great rock, soul and pop music, and a wide range of liquors. The Black Mirage has a pool table, TV feed from the USA and The Attic restaurant upstairs serves specialties from the Deep South.

Closer to the lake on Rainbow Walk are the Big N Whistle and Zapata’s Mexican Cantina. Zapata’s covers two floors of the Rainbow Walk complex, and has a large terrace area overlooking Jinji Hu. It’s a great place to be when the fountains and light show kick off at 20:00 on Friday and Saturday nights. Frequented by a mixed crowd, good music and a small dance floor ensure the place keeps grooving, especially at weekends. It’s also a great place to eat, and there are regular events. On Thursday nights there’s a pub quiz, a live band on Fridays, and a DJ on Saturday nights
The Big N Whistle is a German pub and restaurant with a German trained chef. With a homely atmosphere and hundreds of Wii games available, it’s popular with the young crowd. They also come for the daily happy hour until 20:00, where beers are two for one. Every Friday there’s a BBQ – all you can eat for 78 RMB with one free drink.

Big N WhistleView In Map
Add: 108 Rainbow Walk, 158 Xinggang Lu, Suzhou Industrial Park, Suzhou
苏州工业园湖滨星天地108号
Tel: 0512 6256 5772
Open: Mon-Fri 17:00 until late; Sat-Sun 11:00 until late
Getting there: Buses 28, 68, 307 & Jinji Hu tourist bus

 

Zapata’s 东平西餐厅 View In Map
Add: A1 Rainbow Walk, 158 Xinggang Lu, Suzhou Industrial Park, Suzhou
苏州工业园星港街158号湖滨新天地
Tel: 0512 6767 2780
Open: Mon-Fri 17:00 until late; Sat-Sun 11:00 until late
Getting there: Buses 28, 68, 307 & Jinji Hu tourist bus

The Li Gong Di area is home to many restaurants, serving both Chinese and Western food, as well as Garbo’s. Widely rumoured to be one of the best bars in Suzhou, Garbo’s stocks an extensive range of draught and bottled beers, wines and spirits. A dart board gives the place an English atmosphere, but the food is transcontinental and the owner is Swedish. Happy hour has been replaced by the Recession Drinks Menu which knocks the prices into reasonable shape with Carlsberg at only 20 RMB a pint.
For a more upmarket experience involving a quiet cocktail or glass of fine wine, the bar at the Scholar’s Inn is a great choice, as is the Lobby Bar at the Renaissance Hotel, and the Crowne Plaza’s Brasserie. All three are within close proximity, and have great views of the lake. Prices are Western rather than Chinese, so be prepared.

Garbo’s佳博 View In Map
Add: A16 Ligongdi, beside Ono Lifestyle and behind Tairyo Teppanyaki, Suzhou Industrial Park, Suzhou
苏州工业园李公堤2期A16大鱼后面
Tel: 0512 6295 3698
Open: Daily, lunchtime until late
Getting there: Buses 27, 41, 46, 78, 118

Scholar’s InnView In Map
Add: 277 Jingde Lu, Suzhou
苏州市景德路277号
Tel: 40 0810 6868
Open: Daily until late

All the venues mentioned in this article have been visited by the writer, and no free drinks or meals have been accepted.

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