Sanlitun

Forget the weather, pollution, politics, security and terrorism. The important topic around Beijing is partying. Specifically, whether parties will be restricted, the music turned down and the booze cut off at 2 a.m. by the party patrol. Two a.m. is a big deal here, considering some clubs don’t even get started until 2 or 3.

But officials are enforcing laws (the 2 a.m. curfew is a law that was never enforced) and exerting their authority to tame once-wild areas such as Sanlitun (above) and Houhai.

The “no-fun Olympics” has been tossed around by the media. But one expat believes the media is making too much about the tighter security around bars and clubs. I met up with the affable Jim Boyce, a Canadian expat who runs the nightlife blog Beijing Boyce. He could be the most plugged in expat in Beijing; he knows nearly every bar and club owner. His fame has also been rising — he’s been featured on BBC and the Today Show to name just a few.

He scoffs at the notion that it’ll be the no-fun Olympics. Sure, some bars have closed (the ones around the Workers’ Stadium), but a batch of new ones have opened as well. And when we went out last night to a couple bars in Sanlitun — the Saddle Cantina, Kokomo and China Doll — there was a decent amount of patrons in each establishment.

None of the places were packed, but it seemed like everyone was having a good time. Personally, it’d be no fun for me if I had to elbow my way to the bar to get a drink. I hate those kind of places. I don’t want any one to step of my Pumas.

I’ll be returning to Sanlitun and Houhai once the Olympics start (what can I say, it’s my job). Perhaps officials will be bigger party poopers. But on this Wednesday night, two days before the Opening Ceremony, the booze was flowing and the music was blaring well past 2 a.m.

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