Weekend in Beijing

Light posting lately… I just got back from a weekend in Beijing. No sightseeing, no business… just hanging out, taking it easy, and seeing a few friends. Got together with Pepe, Brendan, Joel, Syz, Dave Lancashire, Roddy, and David Moser. And also happened to bump into Rob of Black and White Cat.

My wife and I spent most of our time on Bei Luogu Xiang (北锣鼓巷) or Nan Luogu Xiang (南锣鼓巷). We stayed in a nice little 四合院 hotel in the area called 吉庆堂. Thanks to Brendan, we ended up at a bar called Amilal both nights, which was a pleasant 20-minute walk from our hotel.

We had a good time, and my Shanghainese wife is liking Beijing more every time we go.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Amilal is a great little bar! I went there twice when I was in Beijing and loved the atmosphere immensely. Very laid-back and friendly L-shaped room. The owner of that bar had just opened a new bar in 南锣鼓巷 but I didn’t like that one as much. Did you get to try the fresh mongolian beef jerky in Amilal? It was the first time I had tried beef jerkey and I’m glad I started with the best on the planet! 🙂

    I didn’t really spend much time in the north end of that hutong, except for when I went to a small conference for translators held in a special hotel in the back alleyways off 北锣鼓巷. I stayed in a hotel which was about 5 minutes walk from 南锣鼓巷 and it was surprisingly cheap and clean for the price I paid. Looking at Google Maps, it seems that the hotel was called “Beijing HuaFeng QingNian Hotel” on 交道口南街.

    Did you get to the “Traveler Bar” (I think that’s what it is called) in 南锣鼓巷? It serves the best pizza I have tasted in China! 🙂 When I was there I met up with Brendan, Dave Lancashire, John Biesnecker (sp), Frank Fradella and a couple of other people for dinner. Had a great time there and really didn’t do a lot of sight-seeing to be honest. I also hung out with Winser Zhao (from twitter) a few days going to a few places.

    Beijing is a very nice, laid-back city that I could spend a lot of time in just relaxing despite the fact that it is a large capital city with a lot of g0vernment presence, I didn’t really see a lot of that side of things. Even just hanging out within a kilometer of my hotel, I found many little places to explore. By that stage in my 1-month holiday of tramping around by myself, I was confident enough to jump on a subway and get off whereever and then wander around for a few hours, soaking in the atmosphere of the place. Beijing is one place I really want to see more of.

  2. Is Amilal the one run by the Han-despising Mongolian guy? Two people (Brendan being one of them) have talked that place up and tried to get us to go there when we visited in April, but we were too beat from the day out to make it.

    Beijing, when the weather is good, is a really attractive place (especially when the weather has been such crap in Shanghai).

  3. As I remember it, we (JohnB and I) met up in a restaurant for lunch and then went on to dinner with the rest of the Beijing expat crowd. That was a nice restaurant, although the table was a little small hehe.. I have a picture of that on my wall and on flickr, as seen below:


    There’s another picture of the same but with me in it and Brendan taking the photo. 🙂

  4. John B,

    Yeah, Amilal is run by the Mongolian former managers of Sandglass.

  5. Wow, I didn’t know you had a blog! Cool.

  6. […] our recent trip to Beijing, conversation naturally turned to comparisons of Shanghai and Beijing. I don’t want to rehash […]

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