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Friday, April 20, 2007

THE Hot Spot in Beijing - - - Houhai - - Back Lakes

AAEA President Norris McDonald and Center China Office Director Zhang Xiaoping

There is nothing in Hollywood like Houhai. Nothing. Live bands, bars, restaurants, a couple of lakes, dance halls and shops all in one compact spot. On a recent trip to Beijing, AAEA parked at its favorite new hotspot in the whole world.

Beijing’s Houhai lakeside neighborhood north of Tiananmen Square attracted only park-goers, weekend fishermen, or ice skaters, only three years ago. Ex-concert cellist Bai Feng opened his No Name bar (it had no sign, but filled up via word-of-mouth) and the scene was set for a new generation of stylish establishments. Houhai and adjoining lakes Xihai and Qianhai— collectively known as the Back Lakes were dug out in the Yuan Dynasty (14th century) to berth barges from the Grand Canal.

Over the past year, the area has gone upscale and emerged as the capital’s coolest neighborhood, with scores of bars, restaurants, and boutiques catering to the city’s chic. The mix of bars, restaurants and shops makes this spot second to none. And it really comes alive at night. (Source: Ron Gluckman)
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