I’ve seen plenty of Pandas over my visits, so I shunned the number one reason people come to Chengdu. Instead I chose to walk the streets in the pouring rain and explore some of Chengdu’s drinking holes. After a morning of the People’s Park and Tianfu Square, I turned my attention to the Wu Hou Mauseleum. After paying my respects to and admiring the century d statues of great warriors – the hands on the clock were vertical. I didn’t have far to go.
Around the Mausoleum is a tourist district known as Jinli. It is a recreation of ancient streets and snack and souvenir shops line the maze of narrow streets. In Zhangwu Street you’ll find one of China’s great beer destinations – The Wild West Jinli Taproom. What. A. Place. It’s a simple room that looks out onto the street. Across the street is a beer garden, which would be great, but with the unrelenting rain it was all indoors. You also could belly up to the bar sitting on stools, but these are also exposed to the elements. 10 taps pour top quality beer.
In fact everything about Wild West is quality – the beer names, the beer logos, the t-shirt (yes, I succumbed) and even the liberal scattering of PowerPoints around the bar. I found other good places, but if you only had time for one place – make it Wild West Jinli TapRoom.
After a considerable amount of effort (ie I got lost) I finally found The Lazy Guys brewpub. Unfortuitously it was closed, I was drenched and despite a feed of Tibetan dumplings my spirits were flagging. Cabbies were hard to direct and another long march commenced. My luck turned when I discovered the Shamrock (see separate post) and fortified with an @untappd unique from Beijing’s nBeer, I recommenced my quest for Chengdu’s stalwart Craft Beer bar – The Beer Nest. On the way, I stumbled across another Irish Pub – McElroy’s. Not half bad and worth a visit.
Finally I found The Beer Nest and it was worth the effort. A modest sized place with 8 taps including its own brews. They are proud members of the Chengdu Craft Beer Association. These guys rallied to help Harvest Brewing get back on its feet after a fire destroyed his set up. Things must be going well for The Beer Nest as they’ve opened a second outlet. Their Chengdu Wheat was a standout.
This time I used a cab to get back to The Lazy Guys Brew (I knew where it was). It was open and doing well. Another tight little place with the brewing equipment jockeying room with the barstools. The IPA and the Wheat were the go to options. Regrettably no beer t-shirts because they’ve made an effort with their livery. Definitely worth a visit, but be warned (and prepared!) – open from 6.30pm.
So no shortage of good drinking experiences – just have your maps sorted before you venture.
Wild West Jinli Taproom: Zhang Wu Jie, Temple of Marquis, Wuhou, Chengdu
Lazy Guy Brew: 165 Yulin W Rd, Chengdu near Fangcao Rd
The Beer Nest: 34 Jinxiu Road, Wuhou, Chengdu