The Chronicle of Gongti Ximen
text by Amor
Wanna have fun at night? Wanna have one or two drinks? Wanna hit the floor till the break of dawn? The area around the West Gate of Workers' Stadium (Gongti Ximen) is a new "in" destination for nightlife in the capital city. Join BTM editor Amor as he browses some of the area's celebrated nightclubs and find out how Gongti Ximen has emerged from a forgotten corner to claim new-found glory.
When thinking about nightlife in Beijing, the first places that usually come to mind are Sanlitun or Houhai, but if this is the limit of your local knowledge, you will definitely miss out. When Friday night falls, the truly fashionably dressed can be found heading to Gongti Ximen, with its clubs stuffed with "in" people, "in" music and "in" nightclubs. Gongti Ximen is the hottest spot of the moment for stylish night wanderers.
Just a year and a half ago, things were completely the opposite. People only mentioned Gongti Ximen in connection with the Workers' Stadium 100 Bowling alley. With two or three scattered small bars, the region was as unfashionable as a poor Cinderella.
The present prosperity of Gongti Ximen partly owes much to the influence of Sanlitun and the area around the North Gate of Workers' Stadium (Gongti Beimen) where two of Beijing's best nightclubs Mixs and Vics are found. Skirted by these two major entertainment areas in Beijing, Gongti Ximen was noticed by club operators who were troubled by the physical limitations of Sanlitun and Gongti Beimen.
Then Babyface opened its Beijing branch here on Christmas Eve in 2004, turning a glorious new page in Gongti Ximen's history. The Angle Club followed the path of Babyface's "lounge club" concept and found the same success. Gradually, the region took on a brand new look and began to challenge Sanlitun and other hot spots for nightlife.
In the first half of December 2005, three big new clubs were opened in the area around the West Gate of Workers' Stadium, making the region more prosperous than even. Never in Beijing had so many nightclubs emerged within so short a time and in such a small area. The three new clubs connected Babyface and the Angle Club, turning a street no longer than a thousand metres into Beijing's largest nightclub area. Cinderella found herself in the form of a princess!
Unlike nightlife hot spots often seen in southern Chinese cities, clubs at Gongti Ximen are more or less interrelated and essentially similar. They all adopt the "lounge concept" introduced by Babyface, narrow the dance floor and extend the bar area, to create a more relaxing atmosphere. All feature luxurious and fashionable décors.
With Coco Banana set to open in April, Gongti Ximen combines everything fashionable partygoers need in the city. Leave Sanlitun and Houhai to those "out" people dwelling in memories of "good ol' days." Come to this "in" region, dance to the electric music in its glittering nightclubs, taste wine until the last drop trickles down your tongue, then enjoy karaoke with your friends. Gongti Ximen is certain to touch your every nerve!