Places that go BUMP in the night

Article by Thabo Jaffe

Winter is coming! We’ve just passed the mid-point of autumn and we’re hurtling towards the low temperatures of the Xi’an winter. People tend to go out less, and if they do, they want to be warm and comfortable.

Nightclubs. They’re always there when you need them, with their heartwarming beverages and gentle invitations to bust a move on the dancefloor. Whether it’s your choice or you’re dragged into it, you WILL find yourself in a situation where someone asks, “where should we go?” Personally, the wrong answer is a place named after a Mexican sauce made with tomato, onions, and hot peppers – this happens to be the first place that locals (and local expats) suggest to newbies. The club scene has become a bit more robust lately, so maybe these suggestions can breathe some life into a late night of dancing and partying.1


Location: North-east corner of Chang’an Road and 2nd Ring Road interchange

X-linx is a fairly new addition to the Xi’an lineup of clubs. It has at least one counterpart in Shanghai and is aimed squarely at the upper end of the partygoer spectrum, with all the EDM you can handle.  Drinks may be a little pricey, but they make up for it in top-class, well-choreographed performances to marvel at. It’s quite a large, open space when you enter, and you can indulge the snob in you when you go to the second floor to look down on people. It’s a very modern club with all the smoke, lights, and other stuff that you would expect, but it suffers the same many-tables-small-dance floor syndrome as most clubs.2


The One

Location: Opposite the huge KTV on Nandajie, halfway between South gate and Bell Tower. (Used to be Fantasy)

The One is a trove for foreigners. It’s a medium-sized space as far as clubs go, but it’s filled with all the technology it can handle – without going into too much detail, you can jump around on TV screen walkways. They seem to always have some really attractive DJs playing the usual (but good) EDM, along with a funky MC to get you in the party mood. Where it gets interesting now for foreigners is that they have international Wednesdays where they serve free beer and snacks until 2am as well as low prices for vodka and whiskey. No catch. They also plan to offer a deal on weekends to pay one price and drink all night. They have some scantily-clad performances every so often, with a new routine almost weekly. If you want a guaranteed fantastic night out, show up on a Wednesday.4


Location: 50m down the road opposite the McDonalds on Xidajie, big sign if you look up.

Afterparty is a new spot a stone’s throw from the Bell Tower that is a little difficult to find, because of some construction on the lower levels of the building. But, once you enter the little outdoor elevator you’re transported to a hip-hop, trap and dubstep heaven, with a large dance floor. With low-priced drinks and a fantastic rooftop with an interesting almost Zen-like layout, this is your new hangout. I would say that for now, it’s a well-kept secret, but the cat’s out the bag – go to their beautiful rooftop before it gets too cold!5


Location: The first little doorway next to the big China Construction Bank, just north of South gate. Next door to a bar called Marley’s

Flyhigh is a club with it’s sights set firmly on the hip-hop heads in Xi’an, though they play some pop and other genres. It’s underground, figuratively and literally, and draws an impressive crowd of dancers, emcees, rappers, b-boys and the like, as well as the layman. The décor is inspired and quite unique. They regularly host beer pong (and basket pong?), rap cyphers and b-boy battles, and give these people a platform to showcase their skills and get noticed. In the future they aim to also sell bottled drinks at supermarket prices to accommodate the everyday hip-hop lover. This is definitely the place to be, if you’re into the hip-hop scene, or looking for something different.

Thabo is an avid explorer and less-than-worldly South African, always in search of new experiences. Stopping just short of suicidal, he’s a true Yes Man. You can reach him via email at