Shutters come down on Beijing's Sanlitun bar street

Wang Qingchu
Beijing's well-known bar street is closing as the block prepares for substantial reconstruction.
Wang Qingchu
Shutters come down on Beijing's Sanlitun bar street

A bar on the Sanlitun bar street is lit up in this April 2010 file photo.

Sanlitun bar street, Beijing's first and largest bar community, is shutting down for redevelopment.

Patrons paid their last visits, and the owners became sentimental as the 28-year-old nightlife hot spot, once the liveliest in Beijing, came to an end.

According to Jimu News, the tenants of the majority of the buildings along the street have been told to close their operations by January 31. Most of the buildings are considered unsafe.

"We spent our entire youth here," wrote a client after Fang Lun, proprietor of bar Swing58, announced its closure on his WeChat account.

"Sanlitun Bar Street is ready to leave the stage of history," Fang wrote in his post.

Shutters come down on Beijing's Sanlitun bar street

Fang Lun, owner of bar Swing58, announces its closure on his WeChat.

The area will be subject to another round of renovation and expansion.

Stretching 260 meters, the street has more than 80 bars, or more than 60 percent of Beijing's bars. Due to its proximity to the embassy district and gathering of foreign-funded businesses, the lively area has always attracted large number of foreigners, white-collars and trendsetters since the first bar on the street opened in 1995.

After Beijing Guo'an Football Club settled down at the nearby Beijing Workers Stadium, the bar street drew more football fans.

The street is mostly deserted, with only a few bars open. According to Jimu News, the few patrons were there to say goodbye to this once-famous neighborhood.

The buildings were built in the 1990s and pose major safety risks, according to Wei Lei, deputy director of the Sanlitun Subdistrict Community Office, as reported by Beijing Youth Daily on Tuesday. Most of them had to be dismantled or reinforced.

Since the bar street was so popular, "we would like to maintain the brand and introduce new businesses offering coffee and light fare," Wei said.

Beijing Youth Daily reported that the construction of a slow traffic system and the renovation of the bar street will begin on February 8.

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