Beijing’s Best Teahouses: Drinking Tea, and Experiencing More
Famous for its long history as being the royal capital and 7 UNESCO world heritage sites, as well as numerous great places of interest, Beijing also has a fascinating tea culture and boasts about 170 featured teahouses. The tea houses witnessed the fluctuation and fall of Qing Dynasty, and now become cultural places for drinking tea, killing time, chatting, and enjoying the folk arts and traditional local performances.
Beijing’s tea houses can be classified into three types: traditional teahouse (of classic design and decoration and with Chinese folk performances), modern business teahouse (with modern equipment and engaged in business meetings and activities), and special featured teahouse (of various style and cultures). Outgrowing its past as a place for tea drinking, teahouses in Beijing develop into multifunctional entertaining places today.
Laoshe Teahouse (老舍茶馆)
Address: Building 3, Zhengyang Market, Qianmen Xidajie, Xuanwu District
Transportation: Bus 17, 22, 43, 826 or Subway Line 2 at Qianmen stop
Named after a famous Chinese writer, Lao She (老舍）and his drama "Teahouse", Laoshe Teahouse is the most famous tea house in Beijing and beyond. Built in 1988, it retains a quaint and elegant decoration of Old Beijing in 1930s. The waiters dress in long gown, while the waitresses dress in Qipao (cheongsam). Here you can admire at the various Beijing folk performances such as Peking Opera, acrobatics, allegro, tea ceremony, and story-telling in Beijing dialect with drum accompaniment. Meanwhile, famous teas, delicate desserts and local snacks are available.
De Yun She or Tianqiaole Teahouse (德云社 or 天桥乐茶园)
Address: 1 Beiwei Road, Xuanwu District
Another time-honored teahouse in Beijing, Tianqiaole was built in 1933 and converted from the original Tianle Theater. With an area of 1300 square meters, the teahouse can hold 200 guests and audience at a same time. Here you can enjoy interesting performances including Beijing Opera, acrobatics, wresting, martial arts and folk art showing everyday. Never miss the wonderful comic dialogue performed by famous actor Guo Degang and his colleagues. Tianqiaole is of old Beijing theater design, and accepts the ancient copper cash.
Meng Hui Tian Qiao — Sanlitun Theater of Deyunshe (梦回天桥—德云三里屯剧场)
Address: No.4, Gongti Dong Lu, Chaoyang District (opposite to the Sanlitun Yashow Clothing Market)
Another teahouse and theater for comic dialogue performance (crosstalk), Meng Hui Tian Qiao is of solemn and elegant Ming and Qing dynasty architecture style, and can hold up to 500 people. In view of culture differences, all the shows are given English translation properly. It will be delightful to enjoy the tea and tasty snacks while enjoying the comic dialogue.
Zhangyiyuan Tianqiao Teahouse (张一元天桥茶楼)
Address: 18, Wanming Lu, Xicheng District (just facing the Oriental Hotel)
A short distance to Tianqiaole Teahouse, Zhangyiyuan Tianqiao Teahouse is also a good place for leisure, drinking tea and experiencing the unique Beijing tea culture. Authentic Beijing folk performances include storytelling, opera, acrobatics, and comic dialogue. Besides, tourists can also buy various local souvenirs here.
Minghui Teahouse (明慧茶院)
Address: inside Dajue Temple, Bei’an he Village, Sujiatuo Town, Haiding District
Hided in the serene Dajue Temple, Minghui Teahouse features superior Longjing green tea and Biluochun green tea, with fresh spring water. Apart from the tasty vegetarian diet, the teahouse also offers mouth-watering dishes like West Lake Vinegar Fish, and Longjing fried Shrimps.
Liuxianguan Teahouse (留贤馆)
Address: 28, Guozijian Street, Dongcheng District
Liuxianguan locates on the 600-year-old Guozijian Street, and close to Yonghe Lamasery and Confucius Temple. It was recommended by The Times Magazine in 2007, and received US Vice President Biden and his granddaughter in 2013.