PEKING — You're looking for what? A bar? A place to have a social drink? In Peking?
The very idea may be greeted here with derisive laughter. Peking is not one of the world's leading capitals for pub-crawling.
The Chinese drink very little hard liquor, and then only on festive occasions such as banquets.
Beer is popular in Peking but it is often in short supply, and there is nothing comparable to, say, a German beer hall. Over the past couple of summers, Peking has sought to revive the tradition of the teahouse, so far with only middling success.
But if you're really looking for a bar, in the American sense of the word, you should probably do your drinking in one of Peking's Western hotels. A nightspot particularly favored by foreigners is Charlie's, a smoky, dimly lit bar in the Jianguo Hotel, just down the street from the Friendship Store. Here, at small tables that stay occupied until the wee hours, journalists and diplomats speculate about the future of China, businessmen try to figure out how to make money here, and tourists unwind from an arduous day at the Great Wall.