Xi’an nightlife and drinking
Depending on your preferences, Xi’an offers many different ways to spend a night out, and each will provide a variety of experiences of the same city at one night. There are dinner shows, night markets, night clubs and bars. So, if you still have the strength after daily visiting of the city, nightlife in Xi’an should not be missed. The interesting thing here is that nightlife is not just about drinking, dancing, listening to music, but often about food, tasting, and informing about the culture.
In that sense, dinner shows are all about the culture of Xi’an and its surroundings. If you need additional information about the way of living, behaving, eating and spending free time, these dinner shows are definitely worth visiting. For example, Tang Dynasty Show (仿唐乐舞; 75 Changan Road, Beilin District; www.xiantangdynasty.com; 8782 2222; dinner/show 18:50-20:10/20:30-21:40; with/without dinner CNY370-1,000/220) is one such show, that includes music and dancing; an extraordinary performance that presents the culture, tradition and the glory of the Tang dynasty in a very creative and interesting way. Of course, it would not be called dinner show if there were not meals offered, so you may also enjoy tasting traditional food. Besides this, Shaanxi Grand Opera House (or Shaanxi Song and Dance Theater; 陕西歌舞大剧院; 165 Wenyun North Road, Beilin District; www.tang-dynastyshow.com; 8785 6012; dinner/show 18:30-19:50/20:00-21:10; with/without dinner CNY298/198) also has a lot to offer. It is a theatre restaurant as well, with traditional Chinese food and with a permanent stage performing music and dance shows. Famous local snacks and dumplings are mostly server, but in combination with performances, great acting, costumes and dancing, this can be a perfectly spent night.
Night markets in Xi’an are perfect for those interested in the life of local people, who want to try famous snacks and to wander through the narrow lanes at night. One such market is definitely Muslim Quarter (回民街), and the main thing about it is that it gets a completely new dimension at night, so no matter if you visited it already during the day, give it one more try when the night comes. Another place is Beiyuanmen Night Market (北院门夜市; Huimin Street, near Bell and Drum Tower Square) – also known as the North Gate Night Market, situated near to the Bell and Drum Towers. It is the perfect place to enjoy traditional, but also world cuisine as well, including barbecues, lamb basin and spicy hot pot. A bit crowded, but definitely worth exploring, since the culture of Xi’an is best visible at these sorts of places. Dongxin Street Night Market (or East Street Night Market; 东新街夜市), is one more market to spend the night, enjoying food, especially traditional. With over 50 food stalls, this night market will satisfy your needs and please your stomach with delicious and interesting dishes.
Nightclubs and bars
If your daily dose of culture and history was enough, you can always spend the night in one of the numerous nightclubs and bars. For more peaceful, relaxing evening with a drink with friends, the best possible place is Defu Lane (or De Fu Xiang; 德福 巷) which has over 20 bars, pubs and coffee shops. It is the heart of nightlife in Xi’an, and you will not be disappointed if deciding to spend your evening here. The street itself is quite interesting, with traditional architecture combining with modern buildings, giving the impression of old and new merging into one another. The atmosphere here is relaxing even during the day, and most of the bars in Defu Lane are open from morning until late at night. Among the best and most popular bars are Old Henry’s (老 亨利 酒吧; 48 Defu Lane), Defu Cafe and Bar (德福 咖啡; 39 Defu Lane) and Fu Bao Ge teahouse (福宝 阁 茶楼, 66 Defu Lane), all lined up in Defu Lane. Near South Gate, you may find one more great bar, The Belgian Bar (比利时 酒吧; 69 Shun Cheng Nan Lu, inside the South Gate; www.belgian-bar-xian.com; 8726 4019).
Even those looking for a lively nightlife and dancing will not be disappointed, since Xi’an offers some great places to spend your time, whether you are lover of discos, karaoke clubs, or simply bars where you can enjoy chatting with friends and drinking. This city is a perfect portrayal of how an ancient civilization can still offer the sites and spirit of the old age, but keep up the pace with modern world, offering everything that is typical for this age. Though you should explore and experience many places in order to see what is the most suitable for you, there are two night clubs that are highly recommended, 1+1 Club (285 East Street, Beilin District (碑林区 东 大街 285 号) 8728 0008; 19: 00-late) and Salsa Club (莎莎 俱乐部; 6 West Street, Lianhu District (莲湖 区 西 大街 6 号) 8728 6666; 20: 00-late), and there you may fully enjoy the nightlife in Xi’an.