Finding Foreign Friends: A “Where’s Waldo” in Wuhan

Finding Foreign Friends: A “Where’s Waldo” in Wuhan

Trying to find those "back at home" acquaintances while living overseas is a chore that all expats eventually embark on (unless your one of those who finds happiness in solitude). It’s a simple fact that people need to occasionally bond with others from their home country and engage in conversations that don’t solely involve China. No offense – China is a fantastic country with a beautiful culture, delicious food (and a horrible football league), but it doesn’t mean that we can spend every waking moment talking about it. Sometimes (as an American) I want to talk about which football team is finally going to stop the undefeated Green Bay Packers, or discuss the protests taking place in Britain over a nice cold wobbly pop. With that being said, it’s time to track down a few expat hangouts in Wuhan.

1) Bars
One place you’ll undoubtedly find expats lurking is in a local pub. Often, Chinese question foreigners obsession with drinking and clubbing, but Westerners are social drinkers in much the same way as Chinese are social eaters. In Wuhan there are some watering holes that seem to attract foreigners more than others. It might be the environment, the music, the food, beer selection, or the simple fact that some of the employees speak English – whatever the case may be, the following two bars are sure-fire places to find expats in Wuhan (for additional choices click here).

First up is Red Lover (红色恋人), located near the Blue Sky bar mentioned in the hyperlinked article. The people who frequent this place are a combination of businessmen, white-collars, and foreigners. The place is well decorated, offers a wide assortment of entertainment (live bands and DJ’s) and even features exotic dancers on occasion. While their drinks may be a bit expensive comparatively (35 RMB per pint), for the opportunity to meet some new expats and have a good time, its money well spent. If your looking for something different, head over to college row – near Wuhan University and East China University of Technology – where you can find student-type bars that feature karaoke, bottled beer, and offer sweets and cocktails at cheaper prices. One place worth checking out is Big Mouth (大嘴巴). This place is very popular with young people, who enjoy its warm atmosphere and excellent drink prices (20 RMB per pint).

Red Lover  红色恋人 View In Map
Add: 600 Jianshe Dadao, Hankou, Jianghan District, Wuhan

Big Mouth  大嘴巴 View In Map
Add: Lu Dajie, Qingshan District, Wuhan (behind Wuhan University of Science and Technology)

2) Coffee Shops
If your looking for a place to kick back, relax and have a cup of Joe, Wuhan has got a plethora of coffee shops to check out. In my opinion, the best place to go to meet people – and I don’t mean to sound like a corporate sellout – is Starbucks, which has a bunch of branches open around Wuhan that always seems to be full of foreigners. I’m not sure what it is about this place, but Starbucks has powerful drawing power for expats – kind of like the tractor beam of the Death Star. Evenings are the best time to find someone to talk with, and even if you have no luck at least you can enjoy a cup of coffee and a piece of chocolate truffle cake.

Another place to check out is Mr. Mai’s Coffee Shop, which has some great food too. The pumpkin and apple pies taste wonderful, and they have killer brownies and delicious tuna sandwiches. On the drink side of things, coffee and other drinks are up to snuff, but without the Starbuck price added on, so that’s good. Also, there’s never a shortage of expats inside – on most evenings, the place is crawling with foreigners hungry for pie and conversation – so that’s a huge plus. The average price for a coffee at Mr. Mai’s is around 10 RMB, which might seem like a small price to pay for some down home interaction. However… 

There are a few things about Mr. Mai’s that may be a big turn off for some expats. First, you can’t sit down until you’ve purchased something, which is actually quite understandable if you think about every time you’ve ever been to a McDonald’s where you couldn’t find anywhere to sit because people were freeloading in all of the booths. Second, Mr. Mai’s is a big English Corner, which means that there’s always a ton of Chinese students inside that will inevitably bombard you with those questions that any foreign teacher has already answered a gazillion times. Suffice it to say, this can get tiring fast, especially when you’re trying to converse with an expat or just want to sit alone and enjoy your meal. Third, Mr. Mai’s is also a stomping ground for Wuhan’s Chinese Christian community, which depending on your own personal beliefs, could make this place feel like a second home, or it could make hanging out here a bit awkward.

Starbucks (branch)View In Map
Add: 11001 B zone, Guanggu Shijiecheng, Luoyu Lu, Guanggu District, Wuhan

3) W.O.W.
Not to be confused with that famous online game of the same abbreviation, this W.O.W. is actually an organization operated by women living and working in Wuhan. They keep track of upcoming shows, events and even planned a free trip to a spa early this month for expats living in the Wuhan area. Visit their website ( to learn more about the group and what they’re up to. And just so you know it’s not just for women—husbands can tag along too, but not all the time. Sometimes women need their own "girls night", just as men enjoy their occasional poker nights.

So as you can see from the list above—there’s actually a lot of places to meet other foreigners in Wuhan. Should anyone have any additional suggestions, please post them in the comments thread below.

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Keywords: Expat hangouts in Wuhan Wuhan expat coffee shops Wuhan expat bars finding foreign friends in Wuhan


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Nov 11, 2021 19:05 Report Abuse




Nov 08, 2021 06:53 Report Abuse




Nov 03, 2021 19:49 Report Abuse



Hi, my friend and I are here in Wuhan teaching. We would love some friends, foreign friends that is. We're easy going and would love someone to meet up with for a drink, laugh, coffee etc. If you would like to contact us send me a response and we can make a plan. Oh yeah we are from South Africa/ Europe

Oct 11, 2012 20:39 Report Abuse



Also have Burton Bar and La Provence Bar in the culture street of Huazhong Normal University(华中师范大学), well known as Huaxi University. A lot of foreigners go there, especially students. They have good prices and nice music. The foreigners just return home in the next day around 6:00 to 9:00 am. It is a very popular place.

Feb 27, 2012 07:34 Report Abuse



I uesed to be a waitress in Helens' to say ,I love it there .and of course there are many foreigners and nice people .

Jan 11, 2012 23:45 Report Abuse



I think there is also a Burtons' in Hua shi culture street.have you been there?steakly speaking i was working in Burtons'.

Jan 11, 2012 23:48 Report Abuse



strictly speaking……

Jan 11, 2012 23:50 Report Abuse