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Beijing's Best Bars and Clubs 2013

You voted for your favorites in the 2013 City Weekend Readers' Choice Awards. Now that the awards have been handed out, we're giving you a more in-depth look at the winning venues, including taking some of your reviews from the site.


Club of the Year


For the second year in a row, Haze has kept its place in Beijing partiers' hearts as the best place to get down. They got big into themed nights this year, with Fifty Shades of Haze, traffic light parties and their two-time DJ Cookery series, which showed off not only talents on the decks but at the stove. They're closing up to take care of some summer renovations, but will burst back on the scene on Sep. 18 with Kompakt Records boss Michael Mayer on the decks. And still, nobody's fallen down that staircase.

Editor's Pick: Dada - Gulou gave Gongti a run for its money this year with Shanghai indie DJ bar Dada setting up next to Temple.

Honorable Mention: MixGT Banana


Best Cocktails


We might not nominate Apothecary next year, just to give other bars a chance. But the win is always deserved, and Beijing never tires of a well-mixed drink. "I don't know what I enjoyed more: the cocktail itself or the process of its creation. I think it was magic," writes juno_.

Editor’s Pick: Flamme - We loved the RMB99 all-you-can-drink nights, and can't wait to see what the team comes up with next year.

Honorable Mention: Mao Mao Chong


Best Live Music

MAO Live House

For the last two years, Yugong Yishan has held onto the title of Best Live Music in Beijing, but this year, MAO Live House once more wrangled the award away with nearly 20 more votes than its neighbor to the south. What keeps this venue in the hearts of Beijing's rock 'n' rollers is its constant supply of great local acts to feast on. "I'm so grateful for MAO ... [It] provides opportunities for young musicians to grow and exchange their understanding of music and life," wrote mayaliu. Turn up any night of the week to this iron-clad behemoth and you'll be treated to rock, pop, metal and folk … sometimes all on one night.

Editor’s Pick: Temple - So they didn't get their terrace last year, but Temple has been a consistently amazing place to be this year. Free shows most nights of the week mean it's easy on your wallet, too.

Honorable Mention: Yugong Yishan


Best Sports Bar

Paddy O'Shea's

For the fourth year in a row—and as many years as Paddy O'Shea's has been open—this Irish pub has a grip on Beijing's heart. We just hope Karl Long's attention isn't divided between Paddy's Sanlitun and his new job at Great Leap

Editor’s Pick: Tim's Texas BBQ - Reader dimsum says it all: “Came here at 6am with friends for Super Bowl. All the waitresses were in American colors! Absolutely made me feel like back home.”

Honorable Mention: Eudora StationCu Ju


Best Hotel Bar


The thing that keeps Centro one of our favorite hotel bars isn't just the fabulous cocktails and chilled-out setting. It's the fact that they get in some serious talent to do their regular bidding. Their recent resident Nancy Brown is one of Beijing's most diverse performers, belting out everything from Mandopop to Maroon 5 to Sinatra. Their current After Hours Lounge features 2012 Best Beijing-Based DJ winner Eddie Lv and up-and-comer Diva. The crew behind Centro knows what's cool in Beijing, and it shows.

Editor’s Pick: Xian - We love the way this venue feels to walk through; different rooms with different vibes makes for an interesting evening no matter where you sit. Plus, the cocktails are great.

Honorable Mention: Zeta Bar


Nightlife Newcomer of the Year

Dada & Cu Ju

In an astonishing turn of events, this year's Nightlife Newcomer award resulted in a tie, with both Dada and Cu Ju winning 48 votes each. DJ bar Dada had Gulou ravers hooked instantly. Reader epay said, "They're still in pre-opening but already putting on a great show, and the bar service is very together, probably because they know what they're doing. If Dada can keep this up, I will be there every weekend." And it seems like everyone still is. Cu Ju, meanwhile, has made its way into locals' hearts with great food, friendly service and sports. And maybe rum. "The owner was there and was super nice, recommending drinks and food and checking up on us," writes jwarner13.

Editor’s Pick: Brussels - Keep on keepin' on, Brussels. This local beer and sports haunt does everything right, from the food to the brews to the music selection. Everything here is consistently great.

Honorable Mention: Elements


Local Band of the Year

Hot Club of Beijing

Yet again, this gypsy jazz quartet reigned supreme as Beijing's favorite locally based band. They beat out synth-rock runners-up Nova Heart by more than 20 votes. You can catch them in almost any hutong around the city, with their resident status at Modernista making them highly accessible. They perform after Beijing Swing lessons every Wednesday from 9:30pm.

Editor’s Pick: Residence A - These guys are still playing their hearts out, so there's no dearth of chances to see them. Do it.

Honorable Mention: Nova Heart


Best Promoter


Beating out last year's winners by just four votes, Acupuncture showed this year that it is still in the hearts and minds of Beijing's party people despite its recent closure. Co-founders Miao Wong and Elvis.T have since moved on to open a new record label, DOT Records, and veteran Beijing DJ Weng Weng continues the party at Lantern, but Acupuncture is no more. We hope this sends them off well.

Editor’s Pick: Split Works - Even though these indie kids didn't quite manage to pull off Ben Folds this year, they still brought great acts like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Grimes and Gang of Four.

Honorable Mention: Funk Fever


Best Beijing-based DJ

Bite-Size Buddha

Jeff Hinson, the man behind the deck-name Bite-Size Buddha, got his start in Beijing's nightlife scene when Q Bar first opened. In 2009, he was the co-founder of local DJ crew Funk Fever, which won our 2012 Readers' Choice Award for Best Promoter. He regularly plays at Migas, where he's the bar manager (and responsible for perfecting those mojitos you love), which makes it wholly unsurprising that he won the title of Best Beijing-based DJ this year. If there was an award for Nicest DJ, he'd probably win that, too.

Editor’s Pick: DJ Wordy - Even without his trusty partner Soulspeak, DJ Wordy is one of the hippest on the decks, and also a great producer to boot. His Hotpot nights never fail to fill the dance floor.

Honorable Mention: DJ Donald Summer


Best Hutong Bar

Drum and Bell

We have to admit, this one was a bit of a surprise. Drum & Bell landed in Beijing in 2004, far before many of us were here. But almost anyone who's been in Beijing for any length of time has fond memories of sitting on their rooftop in summer, taking part in their Sunday afternoon all-you-can-drink specials. The area around it is in the process of being torn down, though, so Drum & Bell's future remains uncertain. Make more Sunday memories while you still can.

Editor’s Pick: Más - Every time we write about Más, we use the word "underrated." Its Beixinqiao location might keep it off some radars, but we hope we've put it back on them.

Honorable Mention: Great Leap Brewing


Bar of the Year


As the renovations to the Kerry Center have been revealed, Beijing has been reminded of how amazing Centro is. But it's not just external changes that have made Centro the place to be this year. Their affiliation with NFL China saw them host an epic Super Bowl party complete with NFL cheerleaders, as well as a 007-themed night and Havana Night this June 14.

Editor’s Pick: Twilight - The Apothecary-Twilight-Mokihi trifecta of cocktail joints never fails to impress with quality and style. Last year we gave a nod to Mokihi; this year it's Twilight's turn.

Honorable Mention: The Bar at Migas

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