After a couple of weeks in Beijing it’s safe to say that I have eaten an impressive amount of delicious, authentic Chinese food. However, Beijing has a thriving craft beer and pub scene that sort of took me by surprise. They also have some ridiculous restaurant themes making it one of the most unique cities I’ve been too.
I’ve eaten far more amazing western food than I expected too, and drinking a lot more beer, which has been a nice buffer to the culture shock I was otherwise experiencing. If you find yourself in Beijing needing a cold beer and warm pizza (or sliders, or fries, or chicken wings…) check out these restaurants for a taste of home.
1. Great Leap Brewing
With three locations in Beijing, Great Leap makes it easy to stop by for some of their quality homemade brews. Great Leap has been a huge proponent of growing the craft beer community in Beijing, and they’ve done an amazing job. At Great Leap #6, located in a hutong, patrons can feast on spicy peanuts or order from surrounding restaurants. Great Leap #12 is known for serving up cheeseburgers and other bar snacks. Great Leap #45, located two blocks from where I work, is known for it’s New York Style Pizza.
My go-to order is the ‘Shroom pizza, which is covered in arugula with roasted garlic, and a pint of Honey Ma Gold, brewed on location. My friend Christina swears by the cobb salad. Another perk of Great Leap #45 is that you can order ranch as a side for your pizza. If you know me at all, you know that’s important.
2. Jing-A Brewing Co.
Jing-A’s courtyard location was the first bar I went to in Beijing, and it was so modern and hip that I found myself finally feeling like a true adult. My co-workers and I snacked on a charcuterie plate while we sipped our craft beers and waited for a table. When we got our table outside I enjoyed three sliders that were the perfect combination to my pint of Mandarin Wheat.
Jing-A experiments with the ingredients they use to create new, whimsical beers. For example, their Koji Red Ale is made with Koji sake rice, wasabi root and ginger. It’s a pretty cool place, with bomb pub food and even better beer.
3. Arrow Factory Brewing
I checked out Arrow Factory’s soft opening of their new river-side location last weekend and was thoroughly impressed. The building is three floors tall and I enjoyed a pilsner on their rooftop set up while listening to some live-mix house music (who knew Fleetwood Mac would sound good remixed?).
I didn’t get to try any of their food but it all looked good. The service was fast and the beer was crisp and fresh. Luckily it was a low pollution day so being outside enjoying beets was the perfect way to spend the day.
There are many more breweries in Beijing I need to check out, but its safe to say that these three places are some of the most popular – and delicious. I highly recommend including one of these locations on any trip to Beijing to get your fix of craft beer (and a taste of western food if you need it). While my personal craving is always pizza and beer, these restaurant pubs offer all of the best combos.