Xi’an is an impressive city: home of Emperor Qin’s Terracotta Army, the starting point of the historical Silk Road, and a decent place to get shitfaced. We take a look at the best bars to experience Xi’an’s nightlife.
De Fu Xiang (Bar Street)
A sleepy little road by day, De Fu Xiang really comes alive once the sun dips. The colourful road is packed with more than twenty bars, some of which even have competitive prices. Be careful which one you end up in, as some of them can be grossly overpriced and may try to charge you upwards of 200RMB for six bottles of lukewarm Carlsberg. Highlights are Beer Storm (45-60RMB for craft beer) and ‘3 as 4’ (20-40RMB for bottled beer), popular amongst the expat crowd due to its cheap prices and English-speaking staff.
Address: 南门里面的德福巷 (De Fu Xiang, inside South Gate)
Located just inside the city wall’s south gate, Park Qin is an underground bar attached to the hostel above. As such, it’s highly popular with both backpackers and local expats, and fairly busy on any given night. The bar sports live entertainment, beer pong and a host of other activities. Park Qin has a drinks menu to match any budget and taste: whether you’re sticking to cheap Chinese beer or fancy splashing out on a gigantic glass of Blue Moon, Park Qin can accommodate you. Be sure to check out their signature ‘pagoda’ drink, a tower of alcohol set afire for your viewing pleasure.
Address: 顺城南路西段2号 (2 Shuncheng South-West Alley)
If you like your nights out loud, expensive and flashy, then you’ll love Salsa. Located on West Street within the city walls, Salsa is one of Xi’an’s most popular nightclubs. Private booths are available far back from the dance floor, whilst if you wanna be in the thick of it you can opt for one of the smaller tables around the dance floor. Salsa’s big on Russian dancers, EDM and exorbitant drinks pricing (300RMB for six Carlsbergs; ~500RMB for a bottle of whisky/vodka plus mixers), so make sure you’ve got the cash to pay for it. If you’re a foreigner, though, chances are some drunk Chinese guy will spirit you away to his table and feed you free drinks.
Address: 西大街6号莎莎夜店 (Salsa Nightclub, 6 West Street)
There are actually two Mototos in Xi’an, but the best one is just outside and to the east of South Gate. The bar sports an impressive selection of imported beers – just head inside, check out the bank of fridges, and choose your poison. Mototo is extremely popular with the local youth, and you can expect hundreds of people sitting outside during the summer months.
Address: 环城南路东段桂Mototo酒吧 (Gui Mototo Bar, Huancheng South-East Road)
The Belgian Bar
Another bar attached to a hostel, The Belgian Bar has, well, Belgian beer on draft (45-55RMB), as well as an array of bottled beers to choose from. It’s also a decent place to get food – they offer burgers, pizza, and sausage platters. They also have a couple of live music acts nightly, who largely offer up covers of popular Western songs.
Address: 顺城南路中段69号杰诺比利时酒吧 (Jeno Belgian Pub, 69 Shuncheng South-Central Alley)
Take 5 Bar
Recently opened, Take 5 is a classy whisky joint with an expansive whisky/cocktail menu and a whole bunch of leather chairs. Expect to pay upwards of 50RMB for their measures of European/US whiskies, which will come served with the biggest ice cube you’ve ever seen in your life.
Address: 太阳庙门街道18号 (18 Tai Yang Miao Men Street)
The newest addition to Xi’an’s pantheon of upmarket nightclubs, Miami is Salsa on steroids: big names like Steve Aoki do guest nights here, and it’s a rising star amongst Xi’an’s nouveaux riches. Try to reserve a table if you can (it’s extremely popular right now) and expect to pay absolutely silly money: a weekday table requires spending a minimum of 1680RMB, and on the weekend you’ll have to cough up 2000RMB.
Address: 西大街170号正阳大厦 (Zhengyang Building, 170 West Street)
Located near the Big Goose Pagoda, Xi’an Brewery is more of a restaurant than an out-and-out bar. They offer a range of craft beers on tap (40-60RMB), as well as some truly fantastic Western food. Make sure, however, that they have what you want in stock – the service in the Brewery isn’t always the best or most efficient.
Address: 曲江新区雁南一路9号曼蒂广场 (9 Mandy Plaza, Qujiang District)
An Irish pub located in the trendy Gaoxin District, Green Molly is owned by the same people as Park Qin. It’s not quite as happening as Park Qin, though – the drinks are more expensive (minimum 40RMB for bottled beer) and it’s not as conveniently located. If you’re hankering after that authentic pub experience, though, this is as close as it gets in Xi’an.
Address: 高新区高科大厦(世纪金花商场后门向北200米路东)Gaoke Building, Gaoxin District (200 metres north of New Century Jinhua Department Store)
Near Wall Bar
Sister bar to Xi’an Brewery, Near Wall Bar offers a near-identical list of craft beers/IPAs on tap, and a much-reduced food menu. It’s very popular with locals and foreigners alike. Smokers beware – the bar recently changed its policy and no longer allows smoking, despite the ashtrays still on the tables.
Address: 顺城南路西段40号（40 Shuncheng South-West Alley）
Unbelievable as it sounds, even drinking gets old after a while. For those looking for a bit more in Xi’an, check out YPT’s one-day Xi’an tour.