Article By Mike Leaner
#1 shunchengxiang, Inside of Hanguang Men.
11:30am – Mid-night
Average Price per Person/人均消费: 50RMB
PROS: Quiet, inviting atmosphere; cheap bottles of beer
CONS: If you’re a really into craft beer you’ll be SOL
The bar scene in Xi’an is always expanding, and today there’s more places out to destroy your liver than ever before. However, they all kind of do similar things. If you’re looking to separate one kind of bar from another, we have to look at the kind of experience the bar offers. In this respect, Xi Long Bar offers a unique experience, but perhaps not the one you’d expect.
Xi Long can be found at Hanguang Gate, in the location formerly occupied by Kraken Bar. If you’ve been to Kraken when it was open, you can expect a very similar milieu: an intimate barroom with a small selection of beer and just a few tables, with plenty of sidewalk space for tables in more favorable seasons. What you see is what you get, and I appreciate the honesty.
What Xi Long is best for, then, is a night of chilling out and chatting with friends. Seeing as a lot of other bars seem to be in some sort of ridiculous arms race to make theirs the loudest, most distracting bar in Xi’an, I really appreciated the calm, muted atmosphere. The night I went I ended up pulling out my laptop to get some work done while I enjoyed a bottle of German beer. Around me were a few tables of locals having very lively conversations. There were no clacking dice, the music was kept to an ambient volume and there were few diversions to speak of. People seemed to be there specifically to have a couple of drinks and enjoy each other’s company, which I thought was just great.
The bottle shop boom may be over, but that doesn’t mean this style of bar has become obsolete. Xi Long shows that a bar doesn’t need to be a loud, flashy mess to be worth your time—it just needs to do something different. By giving way to calmer moods, Xi Long carves out a niche in the local bar scene and is waiting for you to grab a couple of friends and have a nice evening, without all the bullshit.
Mike Leaner likes to get dirty but not for free. He can be reached at