Although Tianjin is not renowned for having a particularly wild party scene and compared with cities such as Beijing and Shanghai may seem rather tame, it definitely possesses the right ingredients for a fun and often unexpectedly entertaining night out. A number of popular nightclubs, frequented by expats and locals alike, can provide the backdrop for a night of drinking, dancing and general banter between Chinese and foreign party-goers.
If you ask any respectable Tianjin club-goer which nightclubs would be on their list there is no doubt that both Scarlet and Sitong would feature highly. Both situated close to Tianjin, Nankai and Tianjin Medical universities, they have become the mainstay of student club-goers in Tianjin. Scarlet, located opposite Tianjin University on Weijin Lu remains popular with international students, as well as having an increasingly Chinese clientele. Its popularity may have something to do with the All You Can Drink and Buffet deal for 80 RMB every Friday and Saturday nights.
Positioned on the third floor of an office block it may seem a strange setting for a club but that does not seem to affect its popularity. Entering the club through the third floor, one walks through a dimly lit, low-ceilinged club with tables packed closely together. If you walk through this section of the club, past the bar in the centre and down the stairs, positioned to the back left, you can walk down to the second floor, past rooms for karaoke, and find yourself in a separate bar that hosts the All You Can Drink deal. After paying 80 RMB and receiving a wristband you can choose from a number of spirits and mixers and eat from the free buffet, offering snacks such as chips, onion rings and spaghetti bolognaise. Then, if you get bored of the thumping dance music in this bar, sick of the free buffet or are feeling a bit merry from the All You Can Drink deal you can return to the third floor (minding your drunken step on the way up!) and dance to a mixture of hip-hop, R n’ B and dance tracks.
Address: 3/F, Bolian Mansion, 155 Weijin Lu, on the 3rd floor of the KFC building, Heping District, Tianjin
地址: 天津市卫津路155号博联大厦3楼, (天津大学的对面).
Tel: 022 2355 6223
Opening hours: 20:00 - 05:00
Getting there: Take bus No. 12, 161, 168, 628, 675, 707, 710, 832 and 855 to Balitai
Scarlet. Photo: facebook.com
Sitong remains similarly popular with students and expats, although does not attract as many Chinese club-goers as Scarlet. A resident band from the Philippines performs nightly and provides covers of Western dance, R n’ B and occasionally rock music. With one floor, in the underground of a tower block, loud music and lots of people it can sometimes feel claustrophobic but this does not seem to put off the long list of regulars that return every week. Although the sheer number of foreigners may be off-putting, the variety of music and comparatively large dance floor ensure that it maintains its clientele and reputation as one of the fore-runners in Tianjin’s party scene.
Address: Basement of Olympic Towers, Chengdu Dao, Heping District, Tianjin
Tel: 022 2337 7177 or 138 2622 6777
Opening Hours: 20:30-03:00
Getting there: Take bus 800 and 870 to Guizhoulu Tiyuguan
Sitong Bar. Photo: facebook.com
Although it could be easy to fall into a rut of spending Friday nights at Scarlet and Saturday nights at Sitong, if one ventures further afield a number of other clubs can offer a fun night. Club CoCo, located in the now defunct Bar Street, boasts a large dance floor and high ceiling, giving a feeling of space that both Sitong and Scarlet lack. The Chinese DJ plays a mixture of Western dance, mainly revolving around Lady Gaga and Chinese pop music while scantily-clad girls dance on podiums and perform dance acts on the stage. As the clientele are mainly Chinese it can provide a welcome respite from expats and a chance to hone Chinese language skills if one so desires.
Address: 16 Youyi Lu Bar Street, Tianjin
Phone: 022 2837 0888
Opening hours: 20:00 - 04:00
Getting there: 13, 47, 48, 800 and 826 to Yinbinguan (Tianjin Guest House)
Le Nest. Photo: flicker.com
Le Nest and Le Nest II also boast a mainly Chinese crowd but are becoming increasingly popular with foreign expats. Although sharing the same name (unusual in a city that doesn’t possess a vast array of clubs!) and located fairly close together each nightclub offers a different partying experience. Le Nest, located near a number of bars along Dagu Nanlu, always seems rammed full of Chinese students, businessmen and general party-lovers thus frequently making it difficult to find a table or place to sit. This lack of seating and a limited dance floor may be one of the reasons it is not as popular with expats. However, the increasingly varied music; with dance, trance, hip-hop and R and B all featuring in the DJ’s set-list plus dance, magic and fire displays on stages throughout the night have helped to begin to build a reputation as a worthy contender in Tianjin’s party scene.
Le Nest II, however, appears the livelier and more popular of the two clubs, garishly decorated with chandeliers and kitsch wall hangings. Although it seems a lot bigger from the outside, with large doors and massive neon signs adorning its front entrance, compared to other clubs in Tianjin it can house a decent-sized crowd without feeling too uncomfortable. It features a stage on which male and female pole dancers take turns impressing the crowds and a number of Chinese singers perform Chinese love and pop songs throughout the course of the night. With the music being mainly Chinese pop and ballads it is obvious why Le Nest II is so popular with the Chinese youth however, there are moments of Western dance and even occasional indie tunes that have seemed to have bypassed other Chinese clubs. Due to this and the dance and live music acts combined with a lively yet relaxed atmosphere, with a high ceiling and tables scattered about the club, it is becoming more and more popular with expats.
Le Nest II 乐巢2店
Address: 78 Jianshe Lu, about a block and a half north of the intersection with Nanjing Lu, Tianjin
Tel: 022 23305988
Opening Hours: 20:00 - 03:00
Getting there: Take bus No.92, 613, 642, 651 and 858 to Kexue Huitang
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