HouhaiA ~ Z

Introducing the Houhai

Houhai Lake, also called Back Sea, is one of the two most popular pub streets in Beijing. It refers to a lake and its surrounding neighborhood in Xicheng District of central Beijing. Along with Qianhai (Front Sea) and Xihai (West Sea), they comprise Shichahai, the collective name for the three northern-most lakes in central Beijing. And Houhai is the largest of the three lakes, with a size of 34 hectares. Back Sea is actually a giant man-made lake, which was cherished by the Mongol leaders. Since the early 2000s, the hutong neighborhood around Houhai has become known for its nightlife as many residences along the lake shore have been converted into restaurants, bars, and cafes. The area is especially popular with foreign tourists visiting Beijing and is also often visited by locals.The Former Residence of Soong Ching-ling and Prince Gong Mansion, as well as Bell and Drum Tower are all located in the Houhai neighborhood.

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Smoking Pipe Street

Smoking Pipe Street (Yandaixiejie) is one of the oldest hutongs in Beijing. It is close to the Shichahai and Houhai area which are famous attractions in Beijing. The Yandaixiejie is about 232 meters long with its east end on the Di'anmen Street and the west to the Yinding Bridge. Stepping into the street for about 50 meters, one would come to the south end of the Dashibei Hutong, which goes to the Drum Tower West Avenue (Gulou Xidajie). Passing over the Yinding Bridge one can reach the Houhai Bar Street, one of the two most famous and popular bars streets in Beijing. According to a book published during the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799), the street was initially named Drum Tower Xiejie and later named Yandaixiejie at the end of Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It is recorded that there were many smoking pipe stores on the street in the Qing Dynasty, among which there was one named Shuangshengtai. The store owner put a 1.5-meter-high wooden smoking pipe in front of the store as a sign. As time went by, the street was known by the whole city for its giant smoking pipe. After the 1911 Revolution, the Qing Imperial Family was overthrown, the bannerman (Manchurians that were fed by the Qing government) lost their incomes and many of them had to sell their properties, such as antiques, to make a living. Gradually many antique markets were formed in Beijing, among which Yandaixiejie was a large one. But after 1949, the antique trading on this street gradually declined. This old alley lost its commercial position in the 1950s and many buildings were changed to residential buildings, including the Taoism Temple, Guangfu Guan. In 2007, the street was redeveloped to recover its historical features. Guangfu Guan has become a tourist site and many reproductions of classic architecture were built on the street.


Entrance Fee: Free


Houhai Park, Xicheng, Beijing, China




Getting There


Line 8 Shichahai Station Exit A2



(Please take me to the Lotus Market, Houhai)

Travel Tips

Confirm the price before ordering in the bar

Last Updated

2018-05-04 09:07:51

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