My 5: 1912 Bar District – Nanjing, China.

1912 Bar District Nanjing

Reading from China? This My 5 contains a YouTube video, which can only be viewed with a VPN!

1. October 2018. I remember thinking how incredibly convenient it was that they’d built a lively bar district right next to The Presidential Palace. It’s literally as if some wise soul had foreseen how desperately I’d need a beer after a few hours tackling the Golden Week masses. And so, having finally exited the palace, one of Nanjing’s premier sights, it was just a five-minute walk to the entrance of this bustling bar zone, home to a pedestrianized huddle of cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs.

1912 Bar District Nanjing

2. October 2018. 1912 takes its name from its illustrious neighbor, as it was the year China’s first president Dr. Sun Yat-sen moved into the palace to set up his offices. I’d come here primarily to seek out Master Gaos, a famed craft beer brewery and watering hole with western pub grub. 1912 also has a popular craft market with inventive souvenirs, local art and home-décor shops. It’s also the place to come for chic beauty salons, spas and massage parlors.

May Bar 1912 Bar District Nanjing

3. October 2018. Most of the bars here are very trendy and beautifully designed. And best of all, from my perspective at least, most of them aren’t busy at all as the Chinese generally aren’t drinkers. For them 1912 is a place to come and wander around, be seen and… needless to say… take lots of selfies. This is a snapshot of May Bar, predominantly empty save for a few staunch foreigners perched at the bar. The back wall is lined with fridges racked with just about every kind of bottled beer you could hope to find.

Master Gaos 1912 Bar District Nanjing

4. October 2018. Jaylin and I had a bit of trouble finding Master Gaos. There are actually two branches, one beer only joint with a sour-faced waitress who clearly didn’t want to deal with us and one larger building with a wider range of beers and a food menu. I went for a German Banana Beer and the Philly Cheese Steak, while Jaylin opted the spicy beef pasta. Man, if I lived in Nanjing it would be a joy to work my way through that beer menu, which features all kinds of curious brews such as Sweet Yam Caramelized Ale and Green Tea Lager. A pint of draft goes for anywhere between 40RMB-60RMB (£4-6/€5-7/$7-9).

5. October 2018. 1912 is a family friendly zone, with cinema screens, a shopping mall, some toyshops and this cool little electric train that chugs about the zone every thirty minutes. Come here in the day and you’ll find the place largely deserted. Things only start to get going at about 19:00.

Like this? Check out my many other pieces from around Nanjing.

Want to delve further afield? Why not tap into my stacks of articles from across China.

Leighton Literature travel reports short stories travel blogger

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Freelance travel writer, voice over and English teacher from London. Former music and film journalist, interviewer of the stars. Passionate about travel, film, music, football, Indian food.

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