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Nightlife Popularity Charts Print E-mail
City Life - Nightlife
Written by ND
Xi'an is a city with a long past and in the process of finding a new direction between the old way of life and the brightness of the modern world but the most striking contrast between the two is the nightlife in Xi'an. The places people can dance, sing and drink are often right next door to ancient buildings and temples, further highlighting the contrast.

As with any other place, the liveliest place is the city centre providing entertainment for locals, expats and tourists alike. Below ND's suggestions and observations of what is particularly popular in Xi'an among friends and night life or shopping activities. Pubs & Bars are essential parts of a city's nightlife and the Chinese really know how to throw a party, both the younger and elder generations.

There is an abundance of drinking holes and nightclubs peppered around the city too, that feature a range of music and ambience, from Chinese pop to thumping house. For some quintessential Chinese entertainment there are performances at the Big Goose Pagoda such as the Fountain and Music show. The karaoke craze has swept the whole of East Asia; and Xi'an is no exception.

Below are places, spots and activities that we think are popular among Xi'an expats and/or locals only. We heavily focus to provide up-to-date and precise information at all times! However, in a rapidly developing city like Xi'an that also has a high fluctuation level, the bar names and locations, groups, and people can and do change or sometimes even disappear from the scene. What does never change is the popular food and the great and cheap beer here :-). See the following charts just as a reference and help for you to decide. Please feel free to add to the list and help to improve this page! Send us YOUR suggestions and your Xi'an favourites! Click here.


  1. Popular Clubs and Bars
  2. Popular social (party drink) games in Xi'an
  3. Popular drinks in Xi'an
  4. Popular Singers and Songs in KTV's and some bars
  5. Popular hangouts among the Expat Community in Xi'an
  6. Popular bar streets in Xi'an
  7. Popular local food streets in Xi'an
  8. Popular local food in Xi'an
  9. Popular expat Music Bands
  10. Popular local Music Bands
  11. Popular local and expat DJ`s
  12. Popular sport events
  13. Popular Shopping places

Popular Clubs and Bars

1. MGM

The MGM is a more intimate club. It’s not as big as other more exclusive clubs but with a similar charm. The drinks are not as expensive which occasionally make the crowd goes wild. Many people call his place "strange" or "odd", because you have to buy the drinks in their own shop and the bartender just opens it for you.

An unusual concept but very popular among expats and locals because the prices are cheaper and you get the typical bar/disco feeling nevertheless.

2. Salsa Club(莎莎)

One of the best and most exclusive clubs in Xi’an. It is a beautiful club with good house dj’s and in the weekends they often book international disc jockeys and acts which makes the Salsa club alternating. Behind the DJ boot here is an impressive video screen for VJ-artists and they have one of the biggest dance floors of Xi’an. It is a popular club for Westerners. Cost per person: ~100 RMB, Payment: Cash & Major Credit Cards: Visa, MasterCard, Address: 7F, Parkson building, No.107 Weststreet (中国陕西省西安市碑林区西大街6号(百盛购物中心7楼)), Booking and Info (029) 87286666, Opening Hours: 19:00-05:00. For a map location abd more info click here.

3. 1+1 Club (Closed)

One of Xi’an’s biggest and most beautiful clubs and do not be confused by its 3rd place in this list. Lots of Westerners, Chinese businessmen go here to party. The club exists of two area’s, at the entrance you can pick the VIP entrance or the disco entrance. The waiters' english is not the best but the service is great. With the menu card (it is bi-lingual: chinese and english) and a few basic hand signs even those of you who don't speak Chinese will get along and you will be able to order what you want easily.  The VIP area is more like a bar with a small dance floor and a swimming pool.

If you are a passionated dancer and want to enjoy a great night at 1+1 and are not really a party drinker, then it is advisable to avoid those transparent plastic bottles. Their content is an unpredictable substance that most wrongly consider to be a kind of apple juice. And it even tastes so! BUT: If will blow you out of your shoes if you drink it in large quantities. You've been warned:). The Disco area has a reasonable dance floor and offers a variety of international and Chinese house dj’s. To learn more about one of them - DJ Elemance - click here! To read our review about 1+1 click here.

4. Moonkey Bar

If you like live performances, this is bar is excellent. Daily local and international artists perform here LIVE. Sometimes bigger artists come here to try their best, especially punk concerts are held here. The atmosphere is a bit dark, but that makes is special. This place is good for alternative clientele.

Address: South Street 6 / NanMenLi, near Merchant's Bank, 西安碑林区南门里招商银行西侧(箱子庙街口)
Inside the South Gate on the left side of the Merchants Bank (you have to go down the stairs) / 南门里招商银行西侧 Tel: 029-81068772

5. Hu Tong Bar (胡同)

6. 98 Bar

Address: Taibai Road 179
Tel: 029 - 88484687

7. Bamboo Bar

Serving specialty coffees and teas as well as soft drinks, beer and liquor, the Bar Bambu exudes sophistication and class with its high ceilings, decor and furnishings.

Opening Hours: 10:00 - midnight
Address: East Wing Lobby, Sofitel Renming Square, Dong Xin Street 319
Tel: 029 - 87928888 - 4666

8. Havana Bar

Featuring live entertainment with a DJ on the decks playing acid jazz and R'n"B remixes, upbeat and contemporary. Equipped with the latest audio and lighting systems. 10 private karaoke rooms with the latest international and Chinese hits.

Opening Hours: 18:00 -- 02:00
Address: West Wing Lobby, Sofitel Renming Square, Dong Xin Street 319
Tel: 029 - 87206026

9. Park Qin Bar

Address: Shuncheng Road 2, near the South Gate
Tel: 029 - 87287720

10. Wonder Bar

Address: Ke Ji Er Lu 78, Gao Xin District
Tel: 029 - 88327777

Popular social (party drink) games in Xi'an

1. Bosons
2. "Finger-Guessing" games
3. "Small Bees"

Popular drinks in Xi'an

1. "Hans" Beer
2. Hennessy VSOP
3. Ballantine
4. Tsingtao Beer
5. Chivas
6. Carlsberg
7. Corona
8. Budweiser
9. Heineken
10. Bai Jiu

Popular Singers and Songs in KTV's and some bars

1. Huangzheng
2. Yangkun
3. Lee Hyo-lee
4. John Lennon
5. Coco
6. Jacky Cheung

Popular hangouts among the Expat Community in Xi'an

1. Salsa Club 莎莎
2. Havana Bar 哈瓦那酒吧
3. Xiang Zi Miao Youth Hostel 湘子庙青年旅社
4. Small World Café
5. Oscar's Bar
6. Didi's
7. 98 Bar
8. Green Molly Bar & Restaurant

Popular bar streets in Xi'an

1. Defu Lane

As the most outstanding bar street in Xi'an, Defu Lane (Defu Xiang) is best place to taste Xian nightlife. The three-way stone archway, the imitated old houses which could date back to Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and the pavement made of large bluestone pieces, are the great ingredients for a beautiful scene of the street. Just like Shanghai's Xintiandi and Beijing's Sanlitun, Defu Lane in Xi'an has been a sign of vogue. Bars, teahouses and coffee shops in the 200-meter-length street cater the need of upper and middle classes customers, and the names of these bars & cafes indicate the westernization of local lifestyle.

It is located in the south of the Bell and Drum Tower, with 100 meters west of Nandajie. The whole lanet stands archaized architectures and permeates the light aroma of tea. More than 40 Bars, Tea houses and Cafes densely covered here. Each has a distinct style including the Chinese style, the American style or whatever can be found here, and an intriguing name such as Roman Holiday, Blue Heart, Captain, Old Tree, etc.

As the curtain of night befallen, the nightlife here just begins. Locals, tourists of other places in the country as well as the foreigners all look for own corners to enjoy the classical music, pop, music, rock music, and their beer and coffee.

Popular local food streets in Xi'an

1. Moslem Street (Huimin Jie)

Full of life street market. With a broad range of smells, flavours lights and sounds and local food. It's really cheap to eat on the street and quite easy to enjoy a walk all along the street. In front of the doors of some stores, old men with white beards sit on the cane chairs enjoying the tender touch of the sun and having fun with the little children running along the street. The main goods of these stores are authentic hand-making Moslem food which tastes very good. While still there are small stores selling the special local products of Shaanxi Province and yet others provide you with exquisite souvenirs.

The area was founded around 742 AD when foreign merchants from Persia, Afghanistan, and many other Middle Eastern kingdoms set up shop there along the route of the Silk Road. After 1300-odd years of integration we reach the current tight-knit Chinese-Muslim community totalling around 50,000 of whom many will spend their entire lives within the same five square kilometres where life exists much the same as it has the last few hundred years.

Popular local food in Xi'an

1. Yang Rou Pao Mo

Yang Rou Pao Mo is mutton soup with flat bread pieces in it and an authentic Shaanxi/Xi'an specialty. It is a popular meal among workers, because it is "strong food", very nutritious, delicious, calorie rich and cheap. Try it and you won`t be hungry anymore for a looong time. The bread used is a hard, unleaved flat bread. You are given the whole bread at the table, and you have to break it up yourself into small pieces (You can also ask the restaurant to do this for you). You put the broken bread into a bowl, which is returned to the kitchen. The chef simmers the bread in mutton soup, and returns to you the bowl of soup with bread in it in about 10 minutes. At the table, you garnish it with chopped fresh coriander, sweet pickled salted garlic cloves and a chile sauce, which are presented in separate bowls.

Caraway seed may also be served. Two restaurants particularly noted for it in Xi'an are Lao Sun Jia and Tong Sheng Xiang.

2. Fried Rice

Fried rice is a popular component of Asian cuisine. It originated as a home dish from China around 4000 BC, generally made from cold leftover rice fried with other leftover ingredients. Later it became a more elaborate dish, made from fresh ingredients, and often served as the penultimate dish in Chinese banquets (just before dessert). Fried rice with pickled Chinese cabbage and little capsicum is extremely savoury. And it is a real enjoyment for you to eat it on a hot summer's day. Fried rice à la Hui (Muslim Street!) style is the best. There are many popular varieties of fried rice, each with its own specific list of ingredients.

In Asia, the more famous varieties include Yangzhou and Fujian fried rice. Elsewhere, Chinese restaurants catering to non-Chinese clientele have invented their own varieties of fried rice including egg fried rice, Singaporean (spicy) fried rice and the ubiquitous 'special fried rice'.

3. Dumplings (Jiaozi, 饺子)

Perhaps comparable with italian Raviolis, but much larger in size and served in a completely different way, Jiaozi typically consists of a ground meat and/or vegetable filling wrapped into a thinly rolled piece of dough, which is then sealed by pressing the edges together or by crimping. Jiaozi should not be confused with Wonton: Jiaozi have a thicker, chewier skin and a flatter, more oblate, double-saucer like shape (similar in shape to ravioli), and are usually eaten with a soy-vinegar dipping sauce (and/or hot chili sauce); while wontons have thinner skin, are sphere-shaped, and are usually served in broth.

The dough for the jiaozi and wonton wrapper also consist of different ingredients. Jiaozi is perhaps the most familiar food in the lives of Chinese people. On New Years Eve, it is served after midnight with a garlic-soy sauce.

4. Kebab

Xinjiang kebabs are a snack which is popular nationwide in China, Kebabs can be found in the streets and bazaars throughout Xi'an as well. Chunks of mutton are strung on a skewer and roasted over charcoal. The kebabs are turned continually, and when they are almost done, salt, pepper and other seasonings are sprinkled on them. Kebabs are crispy outside and tender inside, slightly salty and hot. They are not greasy and have no unpleasant smell. The meat is very tender and not chewy. Together with some chilly pepper or spicy sauce, Kebab is more flavorful and you won't feel sick even after eating alot of them.

The best part about kebabs? They are super cheap! One kebab costs ~1 to 1,5 RMB, the equivalent of 15 cents, so the plate of kebabs in the picture above probably cost us close to $3.

It's not a full meal in itself, but it makes for a nice side order. Although the best kebabs are found in Xinjiang, you can find them in almost any major city in China such as Xi'an. Once you find a Muslim restaurant or a Muslim quarter, you'll find lamb kebabs.

5. Cold Noodles (Liangpi)

This snack is made from wheat flour (or other starch). It looks translucent and tastes cold, and known for its white color, thin shape, smooth surface, pliable texture, tender and savory taste. It is eaten along with garlic, ginger, pepper, sauce, vinegar, bean sprouts, capsicum flour, salt, sliced cucumber, caraway, chicken essence, sesame oil etc. When wandering in Xi'an, seeing the white noodle and red pepper oil, you can't resist the temptation of tasting them. Liangpi literally means Cold Skin, although it has no animal products in it at all. There are several ways of making Liang Pi, some of them quite interesting:

First, wheat or rice flour is turned into a soft dough by adding water and a little bit of salt. Then, the dough is put in a bowl, water is added and the dough has to be 'rinsed' until the water is saturated with starch from the dough, turning into a muddy white color. The remainder of the dough is now removed and the bowl is left to rest overnight at a cool place to allow the dissolved starch to precipitate.

The following day, there will be a kind of starch-paste on the bottom of the bowl with a more or less clear liquid on top which has to be discarded. Once the liquid has been removed, a small amount the paste can then be poured into a flat plate or tray, and spread evenly in a thin layer. The whole plate is placed into a large pot full of boiling water, where it is steamed for a couple of minutes and the resulting 'pancake' cut into long pieces vaguely resembling noodles.

6. Sour Soup Dumplings

It is an old traditional snack with a history of more than 1, 000 years. The dumpling eaten in this way is usually made of mutton fillings. When eating, people put mutton dumplings into the especially made sour soup. The sour soup in all contains 13 kinds of condiments including dried small mini-shrimps (~1cm long), cooked sesame, minced caraway, minced leek, cattle oil, sesame oil, chicken oil, sugar vinegar and soy sauce. The clou is not just to pick/eat the dumplings but to drink the extraordinary delicious sour soup as well in between and at the end. It is very, very tasteful and a pure enjoyment. Enjoy it with a nice bottle of "Hans" Beer" if possible to experience real local taste :-). A cold Coke will also do the trick :-).

7. Guantang Steamed Baozi

Jia San Guan Tang BaoziOne of Xian's most famous specialties is the Guan Tang Baozi (steamed buns served with sauces inside) served at Jia Brothers' Restaurant in Muslim Snack Street. It is incredibly tasty variety of Chinese snack! These buns are actually a kind of dumpling that gets its name because of the juices that collect inside the bun when steamed. The bun's wrapper is thicker than most dumplings, but thinner than other steamed buns. With over ten types of seasoning, they are really quite delicious. With a little bit of vinegar, they can make for a very satisfying meal! You'll know you're there when you see the monstrous blue arch over the entrance and a wall festooned with photographs of Xian notables - TV hosts, writers, and musicians.

It is just north of the city’s Drum Tower. The specialty dish is Guan Tang Bao Zi, with a choice of beef, lamb or 'three flavors' - lamb, mushroom, and prawns. The buns have piping-hot soup inside, so caution is advised. This dish is best washed down with Ba Bao Xi Fan, a bowl of sweet rice porridge filled with peanuts, sultanas, hawthorn, and medlar berries.

8. Biangbiang Noodles

"Biang Biang" noodles are the stuff of folklore. Not because of the dish itself (though it deserves to be legendary) but because of the very name. The word "biang" is a Shaanxi localism not found in any modern Chinese dictionaries, famous for its complexity. It is written with 57 strokes, and pity the poor sign-maker that has to paint it twice. No one knows for certain where the name originated, but the most plausible guess is that it represents the sound of the noodles being slapped against the work surface when being made. The noodles are made by tearing wide strips of noodle dough in two lengthwise, rather than iteratively pulling them to thinness as done with "hand pulled" noodles (la mian).

Traditionally they were supposedly made more than an inch thick and a meter in length, but fortunately are found in a more manageable size nowadays. These noodles are a must try in Xi'an!

9. Rou Jiamo

Roujiamo (finely chopped pork plus some fat stuffed in baked pancake) is sometimes called "Chinese Hamburger". Roujiamo comes from the ancient Chinese "Rou jia yu mo” (pork stuffed in pancake). Roujiamo is made of mincemeat wrapped by griddle steamed bread. Meat used in Roujiamo is a kind of cured meat stewed with assorted sauces in a kettle. This makes the meat soft, easy to chew and taste with a lasting flavor. High culinary skill is required to produce this kind of meat. If you are not put off by the often shabby looking exteriors of some of the small eateries serving the local specialties, situated along the roads leading out of the city center, you can get a hearty meal for as little as 10 yuan (one euro). The meal includes a bowl of a kind of wonton or mung bean soup and a "hamburger," or rou jia mo, filled with shredded pork meat.

The price of the "chinese hamburger" is determined according to the amount of fat, skin or lean meat you want in it. The meat is strongly seasoned, which is just as well, as the bun itself does not have any flavor. Usually rou jia mo is served cut in half. Order two if you are very hungry.

Popular expat Music Bands


Popular local Music Bands

3. Overload
4. AK47
5. Little Prince

Popular local and expat DJ`s

1. DJ Elemance (Expat)

Popular sport events

1. Xi'an City Wall "Marathon"

Popular shopping places

1. Wild Goose Pagoda shops

2. Beiyuanmen Night Market

This is a great (if sometimes overcrowded) night market.
It offers mainly food of all sorts, but also other market-ish stuff - clothes, fans, etc.

3. East Street

4. Terracotta Army Warrior Factory Shop

5. Muslim Quarter Market

6. Kai Yuan Shopping Mall

7. Ancient Cultural Street (Shu Yuan Men)

8. Kangfu Lu Market

9. Xiao Zhai

10. Xi'an Fine Art Institute

11. Xu Hong Juan

This is a small shop next to the 'Folk House' in the Islamic main street. It caught our eyes because of the combination of traditional clothes and modern design: beautiful silk dress and other clothes made to measure.

12. Zhongda International

13. Xi’an Art Ceramics and Lacquer Factory

14. Huajue Xiang Handicrafts

15. Rongshengzhai

16. City God Temple Market

(More details for the above shopping locations coming soon)

► We are improving this page and will add more detailed information about the places, spots, people mentioned here. Do you have a suggestion for this charts? Help us to improve this page! Write us now: Please check out our City Guide to learn more about where to go in Xi'an and their locations.

Last Updated on Saturday, 06. October 2013.

Our valuable Editor ND has been with us since Monday, 15 June 2009.

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