If you’ve recently moved to Nanjing – or are just having one of those homesick days – a few friendly faces and some home comforts will soon set you right. Nanjing has several well-known bars where you can find English and Chinese-speaking drinking companions, enjoy a taste of home, and if you are lucky, even cheer on your local sports team.
Everyone knows Jimmy’s. The menu has reasonably priced burgers, pizzas and hot dogs, which are also available for delivery. Jimmy’s organises regular pub quiz nights and the website shows up to date listings of the sports fixtures being screened and special offers available – meaning this is the perfect place to go to watch your favourite sports team. Jimmy’s was even open for middle-of-the-night World Cup matches, and we expect it to screen other big sporting events too, regardless of time difference.
Add: Block of Gourmet Food & Leisure, 193 Shigulu, Baixia District, Nanjing
Tel: 025 8679 2599
Opening hours: 16:00 – 24:00
Getting there: Take metro line 2 to Shanghailu Station
Pool night on Wednesdays and sports matches on big screens, this is the perfect place to go with a group of friends, for grilled steaks, meat pies, and a great selection of local and international beers. It is a solid option, and easy to find as it is on a main road.
Add: 77 Shanghailu, Gulou District, Nanjing
Tel: 025 8663 9197
Opening hours: 10:30-14:00 and 17:00-22:00
Getting there: Best way to get here is to take metro line 2 to Shanghailu Station
You’ll always get a warm welcome at Finnegan’s Wake. The downstairs is a bar, often with live country and folk music from a range of local and expat performers, and there are regular open mic nights. Upstairs is quieter and you can order Irish stew, fish and chips, and a range of other hearty dishes, although prices are probably higher than the average student or backpacker budget. If you find it easier to make friends through sports, you’ll also find local football and rugby teams celebrating after league matches in here.
Add: 6 Xinanli Jiequ, 400 Zhongshannanlu, Baixia District, Nanjing
Tel: 025 5220 7362 or 130 5762 3789
Opening hours: 17:00-24:00
Getting there: Take metro line 1 to Sanshanjie Station
Chinese owner Jacky opened his first bar because he wanted a job where he could spend every day drinking with friends. He now owns five bars, some offering live music, others serving food, and all are well priced and popular with the student crowd due to the location opposite Nanjing Normal University. This place is perfect for the younger crowd, if you want to make local friends, or maybe find a language partner.
Add: 9-101 Ninghailu, Gulou District, Nanjing
Tel: 025 8320 0844
Opening times: 10:00-02:00
Getting there: Take bus 3 or 20 to Nanyang Yangying Stop
Warm apple strudel, schnitzel, and noodles; if these are a few of your favourite things you’re in luck as they are all served in generous portions at Secco. There are two pool tables, darts, and large TV to keep you entertained if you intend to go alone, or to help you make conversation. The staff is very helpful and speaks English, German and Chinese. They’ll even give you taxi vouchers for your next visit. Between 18:00 and 21:00 it is buy-one-get-one-free on draught beers, and there is also a cocktail menu.
Add: 1F Super 8 Hotel, 132 Changhonglu, Nanyuan District, Nanjing
Tel: 025 8337 0679 or 138 1402 0098
Opening hours: 18:00-02:00
Getting there: Take bus 28, 83, 127, 818 or y18 to Changhonglu Stop
Blue Marlin 蓝枪鱼
The three branches of the Blue Marlin to be found in Nanjing are all well known expat haunts. They boast imported beers, a cocktail menu, and reasonably priced Western food such as burgers, pizza, and salads. Most nights feature live music from 20:00 with a mix of local and foreign performers for a very friendly atmosphere – good for those who love meeting new people! The 1912 branch has belly and pole dancers upstairs and is very busy on weekends; if you are looking for a quiet drink one of the other two would be preferable. The staff speaks some English.
Add: 1912, 8 Taiping Beilu, Xuanwu District, Nanjing
Tel: 025 8453 7376
Opening hours: 16:30-02:00
Getting there: Take bus 2, 3, 31, 44, 65, 68, 80, 95, 201, 304, 313, 802 to Daxinggongbei Stop