Chinese New Year has a special way of emptying major metropolises, leaving them almost devoid of life and about as lively as a Yo-Yo Ma concert.
This is particularly true in Guangzhou, where a large portion of residents – many of whom are migrants from other provinces – head back to their hometowns to drink, eat dumplings and light up the sky with colorful explosions.
Many expats living here also choose to mount an escape, using the vacation days to venture off to beaches in the Philippines or the jungles and temples of Cambodia – or anywhere the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds of Chinese tourists and revelers aren’t found.
Others of us stay put in Canton. If it is your first time hanging around for Spring Festival, be forewarned: lots of stuff closes for the holiday. Your local dumpling and street barbecue folks will probably head out of town, the wet market across from your apartment will likely be shuttered and locked and even some of your favorite foreign-owned establishments may close their doors for a day or two.
To help those of you hanging around Guangzhou figure out what is open, we’ve talked to some of the city’s best known pubs, cafes and eateries to find out when they will be operating during the holiday.
While usually open 10am-9pm, APF will be operating on slightly reduced hours from January 27 till February 2, opening at 11am and closing at 7pm.
This Tianhe eatery will be closed from January 25 until February 3.
Bravo will be shutting its doors for the Spring Festival holiday from January 24 until February 1.
The Brew Zhujiang will be open daily from 11am-1am, opening on Sundays at 10am to serve brunch.
This Zhujiang cafe will be open regular hours over the holidays, opening at 7.30am and shutting shop at 10pm.
This temple to coffee and bagels will temporarily shut its doors for CNY, closing from January 27 to February 3. Back to business as usual February 4.
This Tianhe eatery and pub will operate reduced hours from January 28-31, open from 5-10pm.
According to proprietor Jeremy Sargent, all Monk locations will be open normal hours throughout the holiday. Normal hours for most locations are 10.30am-2.30am on weekdays and 10.30am-3.15am on weekends, the exception to this rule is the newest Monk restaurant, Kingold, which will open at 8.30am to serve breakfast (starting January 18).
Open every day of the holiday, regular hours are from 10am-1am.
The cocktail bar will be open from 2pm-2am during the holiday (except on Jan 27, 28, 29, when it will operate at shorter hours, which have yet to be determined) and the entire month of February.
Open daily from 6pm-2am over Spring Festival.
Open normal hours, from 10am to 1am during the week and until 2am on weekends.
This ritzy new steakhouse will be open normal hours during CNY, from 11.30am to 11pm (last order).
This Liede curry shop will be open regular hours over Spring Festival, from 11.30am-10.30pm.
Paulaner Brauhaus (Tai Koo Hui)
Open daily from 11.30am-midnight, although the restaurant may close earlier if there are no guests.
The Tavern will be closed from January 26 until February 1.
If you want to get your taco fix over CNY, be forewarned: Tristan’s is closed on January 26 and 31, as well as February 1-2.
Closed on January 28, but open for business as usual the rest of the holiday.
Closed from January 27 to February 3.
Like Social&Co., its sister establishment, Somewhere Else will be closed from January 27 to February 3.
The Brew (JSL)
Open daily from 4pm-1am.
According to proprietor Jeremy Sargent, all Monk locations will be open normal hours throughout the holiday. Normal hours for most locations are 10.30am-2.30am on weekdays and 10.30am-3.15am on weekends, the exception to this rule is the newest Monk restaurant, which will open at 8.30am to serve breakfast (starting January 18).
This cocktail haven will be closed from January 27 until the 29, reopening on the 30th.
This notable cafe will be open over the Chinese New Year holiday, albeit with reduced hours. Lock Chuck will be open from 2-5pm from January 27-29 and 1-5pm on January 30 and 31. Normal hours will resume February 1.
Over the holiday, Prism will be open from 1pm-2am, although dinner will not be served from January 27-31 (guests can still enjoy the afternoon tea and evening cocktails).
This Haizhu eatery will be closed from January 28-31, reopening on February 1.
One of our favorite Guangzhou pizza parlors, The Pizza Factory will be open regular hours (from 10am-10pm) over the CNY holiday.
One of Party Pier’s busiest nightclubs, Suns is expecting to remain busy over the CNY holiday. The club will be open regular hours (aka until the sun comes up, no pun intended).
Open from 11.30am-midnight (at least) daily throughout the CNY holiday.
The Brew Panyu will be open daily from 11am-1am, opening on Sundays at 10am to serve brunch.
Open daily from 5.30pm-2am over Chinese New Year.
This Panyu dumpling shop will be closed from January 27 till February 2.
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Check back regularly for updates!