Taking a Breather

While not yet up to New York, London or Sydney standards, night life in Beijing is quickening, where once the only option was the major, usually foreign-owned, hotel cabaret or disco, now it's the privately-run karaoke bar, disco and night club, each trying to draw in the youthful crowds with the latest technological gadgetry and lighting marvels.

For crowds, noise and encounters of the friendly kind, it's the Bauhaus bar/pub in the China World Trade Center (505-2266, ext 6565).

Devotees of the strictly American Hard Rock Cafe establishments will be happy to know that Beijing's offers the same generous portions and eye-catching decoras elsewhere around the world.

As does Frank's Place on Gongrenti Yu Gvan East Road (507-2617), a bar/pub which bills itself as the all-American watering hole.

Discos Beijing styles are all the rage among the young and young at heart. House (312-8833) is a favorite among overseas Chinese Business people, Rumors (512-8899) is rumored to be one of the world's best, Talk of the Town (505-2266 ext 6126) has a following among foreign students and Cyclone (437-6688) just blows you away.

If dinner theater is your choice, and you're Chinese, it's the Lao She Tea House: if you're a Westerner, it's Dynasties at the Gloria Plaza Hotel.

The Lao She Tea House dinner-theater celebrates Chinese artistic personality Lao She and his famous drama The Tea House with folk art performances amid simple and unsophisticated yet lively and elegant surroundings.

But, if it's the best in dinner-theater of a cultural and historical nature, from a total of eight dynasties, it's the Gloria Plaza Hotel's Showcase Performances. Unforgettable performances and a nine-course banquet fit for an emperor.

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