Hangover Cured: Sanlitun "Dirty" Bar Street Has Been Demolished

An era came to a close Monday afternoon when business located on Sanlitun bar street were ordered shut down and demolished by local city management.

Photos of the destruction show the once-bustling pedestrian street reduced to shambles after being taken over by local chengguan and heavy machinery.

READ: Dirty Bar Street and Numerous Other Sanlitun Alleys to Be Cleaned up by Beijing's Ongoing Brick Laying

As the Beijinger reported last week, the end was near for Sanlitun's "dirty street" when piles of bricks began appearing throughout Sanlitun Houjie. Residents of the bar street said they had immediately began looking for new places of business after being informed entrances to their buildings would soon be bricked up.

Located just north of Taikoo Mall, Sanlitun bar street had served as a popular local drinking destination for expats and locals alike. However, an ongoing city campaign has resulted in the closure of many businesses throughout Beijing that include Fangjia Hutong and Bexinqiao Santiao as well as the nearby Sanlitun Lu and Xingfucun.

READ: Great Wall of Beijing: Find Out Which Businesses Survived Sanlitun's Recent Onslaught of Renovations

Zhao Yong, head of the "Sanlitun enforcement team, explained the decision to forcefully evict residents and demolish Sanlitun bar street comes after the area was repeatedly cited for numerous violations. Zhao said proprietors unlawfully altered their building premises by knocking down walls, illegally set up kiosks, engaged in unlicensed business activity, and installed signs without proper authorization.

Zhao said the former Sanlitun bar street will need to undergo extensive renovation. "The road surface is not clean," said Zhao. "In 2014 we had cleaned it, but this time we are going to thoroughly restore it to its original appearance."

Zhao pointed out that the majority of businesses located on Sanlitun bar street were subletted spaces, noting that a recent census showed only three spaces of the bar street were occupied by the original owners.

READ: Dead On the Vine: Wudaoying Stalwart Vineyard Cafe Shuts Down But Set to Open Delivery Kitchen

A total of 33 stores with a combined area of some 1,000 square meters were destroyed as part of Monday's demolition.

Stay tuned to the Beijinger as we bring you any new information on where the former occupants of Sanlitun bar street end up. Sadly, bar and restaurant closures throughout the city is an ongoing trend with no end in sight ...

Here are two before-and-after photos for comparison (and watch of video of the demolition here):

More stories from this author here.

Twitter: @Sinopath

Images: Biteapitta, Beijing Youth Report, Weibo (1, 2, 3)

Comments

Has anyone asked how long the renovations are going to take?

I find it odd how city planning can take action like this but their hands are tied in regards to the Guosam Centre in Dongzhimen. Just two unfinished towers and a hollow mall right on top of the bus station. That's fine, but those bar streets are the real menace.

Pity the man too dense for satire.

All accents are equal, except some accents are more equal than others.

LysanderWrites wrote:

Has anyone asked how long the renovations are going to take?

I find it odd how city planning can take action like this but their hands are tied in regards to the Guosam Centre in Dongzhimen. Just two unfinished towers and a hollow mall right on top of the bus station. That's fine, but those bar streets are the real menace.

Agreed. All other streets that are getting bricked up are still half done and they're already starting the next. When I asked construction workers at Guijie when they'd be finishing they didn't know, same for the ones bricking up the hutongs. Seems like nobody knows.

the Beijinger

The dirty bar street is dead. Long live the dirty bar street.

It'd be a safe bet to guess that Beijing's bar street will relocate to someplace established like Wudaokou, but I'm thinking the rent has become too high there. For my money, I'm guessing the bar street will relocate somewhere to the zone northeast of Sanlitun -- that transportation-deficient area before reaching IKEA.

And if you weren't sure if they were going to brick over the fronts of the buildings, here are some more recent photos of the "former Sanlitun bar street" renovations:

It's a thing.

Well we still have the other side, with 1st floor, kokomo and everything else.

gnature gnature gnature gnature gnature gnature

Whew, I was worried Kokomo and 1st Floor would be gone, and I'd have nowhere to go get pickpocketed or buy fake ecstasy. Huge relief.

Right? Biggrin

gnature gnature gnature gnature gnature gnature

Are there any finished areas that have previously had this manner of work done to them? Or is 'renovation' just code for ousting businesses and replacing the shop fronts with aesthetically pleasing bare concrete walls?

Pity the man too dense for satire.

All accents are equal, except some accents are more equal than others.

Hahaha, I can't think of a better way to spend a Friday.

I'm inclined to say the latter, Lysander, though I want to dig into the details more and make sure.

I lived in Beijing for over 4 years left about 5 years ago.

So sad to see this place go! Used to get my Movie fix there and lived just around the corner.

City planners often have no clue as to what attracts people to an area and makes it vibrant. Just look at the next door Yaxiu that was renovated into a shiny new mall with no soul. You can't build something like Houjie, it takes years to establish with the right mix of shops that keep attracting people back.

It's gone for good.

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