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Insider's Guide to Beijing

Chinese-Canadian bar owner Nick Ma takes us to his favourite spots.

Nick Ma

Nick Ma returned to his home city of Beijing in 2014, after living in Vancouver for 10 years. But he didn’t leave Canada behind: In March, he opened a bar called Out of Step in the popular shopping and eating area of Sanlitun, where they’re currently importing beers from five different Vancouver craft breweries. “Beijing is busy and fast, but we’ve formed a strong community in Sanlitun.”

Mega Vintage

Photo: Anton Hazewinkel / Alamy Stock Photo

1. Mega Vintage

The owner has operated this shop for years, and there are now four locations in Beijing. The small one in Sanlitun is packed with clothes, but they have old-fashioned neon lights, too, that are the first thing you see. I bought a 1980s army-style T-shirt, and a leather wallet with a silver snap from the ’50s.

6/F, 3.3 Bldg., 33 Sanlitun Rd., Chaoyang District



2. Twoface

Mega Vintage’s owner introduced me to this spot — they’re in the same shopping plaza. It’s like a classic U.S. barbershop with retro leather chairs, and they do the old-fashioned haircuts that are popular these days: shaved on the sides and longer on top. They sell their own brand of hair wax, which is unscented and easy to style with.

6/F, 3.3 Bldg., 33 Sanlitun Rd., Chaoyang District, 86-10-5745-1230

Ji Kun Café


3. Ji Kun Café

I normally go to this restaurant twice a week for Hainanese chicken, which is poached and served with rice and soup. Food in Beijing can be salty, but this is light and you can really taste the chicken. The interior is simple, with black and white floor tiles and an open kitchen; it reminds me of the 1980s Hong Kong movies I watched as a kid.

4 Sanlitun Dongsanjie, Chaoyang District, 86-10-8532-1991

4. 27 Khsha

There’s always a lineup for the noodles here, so I like to go for lunch before we open up the bar. The signature dish is chilli pork noodles, and I like their pork ribs, too. I pair my order with a refreshing and not-too-sweet apricot juice.

NaLi Garden, 81 Sanlitun Rd., Chaoyang District, 86-10-8418-5849



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