Huo Lian Shu Area: Mapping Bar Crawls

1214_bar reviewAn idea to crawl out some bar hopping alternatives has been gestating for some time, materializing a journey that began near the corner of Hongfu East Road opposite New Century Villas (No. 18 on the HERE! City Map), and ended about a kilometer away, near the filthy street of the Jinghu Chuntian Garden south gate (No. 14).

It wasn’t a night of legendary madness, or worthy of an entry into the manual of bro-hood. The crawl was about as epic as a mosquito bite without tiger balm—notable, but not lasting. The beer options were predominately German and the alcohol mostly VSOP.

The first stop on the row of neon holes was 31onCall. Al fresco in these places is the way to go for liveliness. Folks at each spot were sprawled around tables in the cool evening, dicing, swearing and drinking their fill of bottles or cans—no draft whatsoever. The choice at 31 was Franziskaner: cold and malty, wheat beer through and through. The dark interior resembled a karaoke room with dicing cups atop the black tables.

Located adjacently, 7 Club was slightly louder but cozy as a corner pub, suitable for date night. Cocktails were more prominent and the outer wall was lined with pricey booze bottles. The final drinking nook before the corner spilled into a side street was simply called German Beer with Chinese characters to match. The interior had a bar and some random wall adornments, but the place is actually a beer supplier. Expect Paulaner and the usual suspects. Across the intersection was Relax 101 with predictable beer choices and a large screen for R&B videos and, occasionally, Bon Jovi’s It’s My Life.

Another notable option is a Snow Beer hut on the nearby Taihe Business Street, straddling the sidewalk in front of a small alley leading to a few shady clubs. Here it’s only 20 yuan for a liter of beer, and it’s always cold. Rounding the next corner onto Chuntian Road reveals chaos and rubbish as outdoor restaurants dominate the sidewalk. Beer is also cheap and by the bottle. The final stumble was into Yuechao Music Club, avoidable since it’s beer by the dirty dozen.