Beijing's Sanlitun Bar Street To Close – Official Hints It May Return Soon

By Alistair Baker-Brian, January 31, 2023

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Anyone even remotely familiar with Beijing’s nightlife scene will have come across the Sanlitun Bar Street at some point during their time in the Chinese capital, even if it’s not a place you would frequent. 

The street as we know it is about to be confined to history after a notice informing venues to vacate properties before today, January 31, 2023 was issued. 


Image via That's/Alistair Baker-Brian

Wei Lei, a deputy official from Sanlitun neighborhood authorities stated that the buildings which make up the bar street had been assessed by a third party and found to be unsafe, reports Beijing Daily.  

The buildings have been issued with grade D – the lowest category of safety standards – meaning they are “not fit for ordinary use” and pose “structural safety issues,” according to law website

We headed down to Sanlitun Road (Sanlitun Lu) – where the bars are located – to check it out for ourselves. One side of the street was lined with photographers looking to get a snap of Beijing nightlife history. Meanwhile, on the other side were a number of media outlets looking to interview passers-by. 


A photographer snaps a piece of Beijing nightlife history. Image via That's/Alistair Baker-Brian

We were interviewed by local media outlet Beijing Business Today (北京商报), as well as Jiemian News (界面新闻), though we couldn’t give them too much insight into the bars having rarely visited the establishments.

Rising From The Ashes?

The venues’ closure marks the end of 28 years of history – the first venue on the street having opened in 1995. 

It’s become infamous for partying and pole-dancing, among other things. 

Is the street set to rise from the ashes and make a return? Wei states that in the future, the “bar street brand” will remain, but the street will also include other types of venues, including restaurants serving healthy food, cafés, etc., in order to “offer more to consumers.” 

Perhaps, Wei’s words tell us the street may follow the direction of nearby Sanlitun West Street (三里屯西街) – formerly nicknamed “dirty street” for its wild nightlife and street food scene, and now a spruced up pedestrian area with cafés, a book store and more. 

Popular Nightclub Aurora was the final nightlife venue to close on Sanlitun West Street. The venue has since reopened in the Worker’s Stadium area. 

READ MORE: WATCH: Sanlitun's 'Dirty Bar Street' Gets Ripped Up (Again)

What does the future hold for the Sanlitun Bar Street? Maybe it’s more Luckin Coffee – found at the south end of the street – and less pole-dancing bars. 

We will of course bring you updates on the street, as and when we get them. 

[Cover image via That's/Alistair Baker-Brian]

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