My 5: Lennon Bar – Qingdao, China.

Exterior Lennon Bar Qingdao Shandong Province China

1. August 2009. I remember reading about Lennon Bar long before S and I had even arrived in Qingdao on our great summer China trip of 2009. I think it may have been Lonely Planet that tipped me off to the city’s Beatles themed bar with an in-house live band treating customers to fab four songs. Finding it was a bit of a nightmare, especially as neither S nor I had a smartphone in those days or indeed any kind of GPS to work with. Tucked away in a quiet, poorly-lit side street just across from Qingdao Eye Hospital, when we finally found the place I initially thought it was closed. But then, approaching the door of the gloomy exterior, I heard the muffled vocals of One After 909 and knew we’d hit the jackpot!

Lennon Bar Qingdao Shandong Province China

2. August 2009. Lennon Bar was everything I’d hoped it would be: stuffed with Beatles memorabilia and audibly rocking under the stewardship of the house band. I’ll never forget that Filipino threesome: Paul Ramon, Georgie Harry’s Son and Bingo. They were really tight, switching effortlessly between tracks like Eleanor Rigby and Fixing A Hole.

Steven the owner of Lennon Bar Qingdao Shandong Province China

3. August 2009. Lennon Bar’s owner was a Chinese man called Steven. He was exceptionally friendly, treating us to a complimentary round of beers and telling us about his life as a keen sailor and traveller. He’d even been to Liverpool to see all the Beatles sites first hand.

The house band Lennon Bar Qingdao Shandong Province China

4. August 2009. The band were an impossibly friendly bunch too and made sure to come and introduce themselves during the interval. When I told Bingo that Don’t Let Me Down was one of my favorite Beatles tunes (more of a Lennon number really) they insisted that I come up onstage to sing it with them. Getting to perform in front of a live audience backed by such a talented band was a memory that will stay with me forever. Magical stuff.!

Drum kit Lennon Bar Qingdao Shandong Province China

5. August 2009. With the passing of the years I’ve often wondered if Lennon Bar is still open. I feared for it a little as I got the impression that Steven ran the whole thing as a passion rather than a business, god bless him. Honestly I have no idea if it’s still going as the last TripAdvisor review was back in April 2017 and its Facebook page is dead. If you wanna see if the old joint is still rolling, Lennon bar was/is located at 20 Zhuhai Road. If any of those guys ever stumble upon this article, thank you so much for that amazing evening all those years ago!

Like this? Check out more travel reports from that long ago summer in Qingdao.

For a more personalized account of my time in this amazing Chinese city check out my short story Don’t Let Me Down, taken from my series Challenged In China.

I’ve travelled all over the country and written up an extensive army of My 5s, so why not dig into my travel guides from around China.

I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001, so why not check out my huge library of My 5s from over 30 countries.

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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