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.
1. Blue Sky
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
2. Talking Bar
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
3. Blue Marlin
The Blue Marlin to be found in Nanjing is a well known expat haunt. 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.
Add: Number 7, Baijiahu 1912 Area, 1680 Shuanglong Dadao, Jiangning District, Nanjing
Tel: 025 5239 3289
Opening hours: 10:00-02:00
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
5. Finnegan’s Wake
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