City of Nanjing

City of Culture

Nanjing's best nightlife

A tried-and-tested guide to the city's tastiest tipples and wildest live shows


With pumping music, brilliant booze or a burning stage, here are five of the city’s hottest hangouts after dark. The list is in no particular order.

Zuo Bar

Delivering top-notch cocktails and fine service in a cosy environment, the 50-square-metre bar is the place to go for a classy sip outside glitzy hotels.

The menu comprises simple finger food and some 50 drinks choices with different bases of liquor, including whiskey, vodka, gin and tequila.

Waist-coated Chinese bartenders, trained by the bar’s Japanese owner, mix concoctions in front of a large wall of alcohol which displays more than 100 bottles of firewater from around the world.

Cocktails costs around RMB 40 (US$6.4) per glass.

2/F, Building A2, 1912 compound, 54 North Taiping Road, Xuanwu District 玄武区太平北路54号1912A2馆2楼; +86 25 8664 3100; open daily 7.00 p.m.-2.00 a.m.

Prime Restaurant and Bar Lounge

Ascend cloud high for a posh experience of juicy steaks, wonderful wines, premium cigars and a panoramic view over the glittering downtown at this InterContinental bar.

Located on the 78th floor of 450-meter Zifeng Tower, this 150-seat establishment is the highest nightlife spot in the city and is a safe bet for impressing even the pickiest of bosses or travelling partners.

The well-stocked wine cellar gathers 10 different Champagnes as well as 50 types of white wine and 100 red wines from Europe, Oceania and South America.

The cocktail menu leans towards fruity flavours and is designed by English mixologist Paul Mathew, who also edits DRiNK, a bilingual bar culture magazine in China. Drinks start from about RMB 68 (US$ 11) per glass plus 15 per cent.

78/F, Intercontinental Nanjing (南京绿地洲际), 1 Zhongyang Road, Gulou District 鼓楼区中央路1号; +86 25 8353 8888; open daily 5:30 p.m.-1.00 a.m.;official website

Florentina

It sounds surreal but it’s true: this cutely decorated house is the ultimate watering hole for Nanjing beer buffs.

The no-frills bar provides no food or live music, but bottle after bottle of good booze and a quiet environment for chatting. More than 100 imported brews are showcased neatly on a floor-to-ceiling shelf for selection. Most cost between RMB 25-40 (US$4-6.4).

The owner Tina Su (宿媛媛), a local in her mid-20s, says she opened this bar because she’d failed to find anything similar in Nanjing.

83 Shanghai Road, Gulou District 鼓楼区上海路83号; +86 186 0256 0788; open daily 3 p.m.-2 a.m.

Jimmy’s

Hidden at the end of a food and drink complex on Shigu Road, this six-year-old sports bar plants a chunk of America in the heart of Nanjing.

Owned by Tennessee-native Jimmy, this laid-back pub is a nightlife stronghold among Nanjing expats, serving domestic and imported beers, a sociable environment and possibly the best American-style pizza in town.

Half a dozen TV sets are hung around the 100-square-metre brown-bricked space, broadcasting various sports games through international channels.

Beer costs around RMB 25 (US$) per bottle or RMB 30 (US$4.8) on tap. A 12-inch pizza is about RMB 85 (US$13.6).

193 Shigu Road, Baixia District 白下区石鼓路193号; +86 25 8679 2599; open daily 3.00 p.m.-midnight; official website

Sancho Panza

Local or international music bands strum out head-banging tunes every night at this subterranean space, connected to the real world by only a tiny flight of stairs in the Wutaishan Stadium complex.

Music genre varies from night to night but is largely focused on Rock, Country and Blues, according to the bartender. The underground live house is a regular stop for touring bands to set up shows in Nanjing.

It gets busy from around 9.00 p.m. when the daily concert starts. A pool table is tucked at the back of the bar for anyone who fancies a pre-concert warm-up.

173 Guangzhou Lu, Gulou District鼓楼区广州路173号; +86 25 5188 8096; open daily 7 p.m.-2:30 a.m.

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