Going to the Sanlitun area of Beijing is a great choice as there are several good places to eat and hangout. As Sanlitun often is very crowded I tend to prefer the area around Workers Stadium a bit west of Sanlitun. Unfortunately, this is just between two metro stations (Dongsishitiao at the 2nd ring road and Tuanjiehu at the 3rd ring road) – so it is either to go there by taxi or there will be a small walk if you chose the Metro. It seems that line 17 is planned to go by the stadium some time in the future, but for now line 2 or 10 are the best options by subway. Also, as Sanlitun is a very crowded area it tend to be a challenge to get a cab of the street in the evening, however, if you ask a waiter, then they are often very helpful in calling one through the Chinese taxi app.
Great Leap Brewery
If you grow a bit weary of the very thin pilsner like beer you get served most places, then Great Leap Brewery is the place to visit. They have two branches one near Workers Stadium and another close to Houhai. I have only visited the one near workers stadium which is located a bit of the main road, nevertheless, it is still fairly easy to spot once you pass it. When you enter the place it has the feel of a combined sports bar and micro brewery, and the food and drinks are very pub-like. The food is probably best described as greasy pub food, but it is still quite tasty, and if you have not had a decent burger in a while, this seems to do the trick. However, the main star of the venue is the beers in all its variety seem to be somewhat stronger that the typical Tsingtao. So if you fancy a porter, stout, or a pale ale this is definitely the place to visit.
Da Dong Roast Duck
This is probably one of the more well known roast duck restaurants in Beijing and is typically mentioned in the guidebooks. It is located on the back of a larger building and can be a bit difficult to spot, but most taxi drivers know where to find it. It is not my favorite roast duck restaurant, but it is both very popular and also serves up some good food.
Iki Korean BBQ
Another very popular spot is the Korean BBQ near Workers Stadium so you really need to make a reservation if you do not want to risk waiting for an hour for a table. The staff is usually very friendly and helpful. Once where I had not made the proper reservations we had been waiting for some time in the bar, they served some smaller dishes on the house for our patience.
Each table is equipped with a grill in the middle of the table and then you order the different types of meat and vegetables you like from the menu. These are then served raw with different spices and marinades for you to grill directly at the table, and sometime if they are not too busy the waiter can assist in the process – although I also think it depends slightly on how hopeless your BBQ skills looks. When the meat is cooked it is served in lettuce with kimchi and different spices. Especially, their sausages are very nice, and a must in any order.
This speakeasy is probably my favorite cocktail bar in Beijing. Like any speakeasy there is no sign from the outside signalling anything of particular interest, and you really need to know of it’s location. In the summertime people may be sitting outside revealing the location of the bar, but as the weather grows colder it get increasingly difficult to spot. Once you enter the fairly anonymously door from the outside street, you will find yourself in a fairly small room dressed only with some shelves and a single door. However, the door only seem to lead to a restroom, but as you press the lightswitch for what looks to be the lights, one of the bookshelves slide away revealing a hidden bar on the other side. The atmosphere is very relaxing and the bartenders know what they are doing serving up traditional cocktails as well as their own variations on different themes. This is an ideal spot to go for an evening cocktail after dinner – or if you forgot to reserve the table at Iki, before dinner. Although in the latter case you may run the risk of never getting back to Iki.