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Glimpse of Nightlife in Kunming

Keats Student J. Paterson

We started the night out in an old stalwart in Kunming, The Hump, on Jinbi Lu. The 2nd floor has a large balcony and an indoor area with a free pool table and a laid back atmosphere of travelers staying in the hostel as well as locals just coming to socialise. The downstairs bar was formerly one of the liveliest venues in town but unexplainably it was transformed into a low-key dumpling supplier!? The beer is cheap upstairs but my drink of choice is青梅酒 (Qinmei Jiu)  a kind of 泡酒(paojiu) at a mere 15RMB a glass - bargain. After an irrepressible run on the pool we declined further challenge and moved on.

So onto the epicenter of Kunming nightlife – The Mighty 昆都!If China is Middle Earth then Kundu is certainly Mordor. I’ve been to a few of these night markets (夜市, or club areas around China but Kundu surely ranks as the Queen of these Sin Cities. Before heading into the silliness of Chinese clubs we visited a couple of the popular foreign-run bars in the area. First, Moondog, a kind of ‘Cheers’ bar, which was packed. There was a nice acoustic performance by the Dutch owner and lots of socialising. After a couple of Rum cokes and foosball we walked to The Mask on the other side of Kundu making light work of a bottle of 劲酒(jinjiu) on the way. The Mask is definitely one of the best people-watching spots in Kunming, whether it’s for the obscene outfits performers wear dashing in and out of the big clubs’ side entrances, or the drunken antics of revelers in the main square of Kundu there is always something going on. After taking some photos with some people we didn’t know and a few more drinks it was getting late and there was far too much House and Techno for me to take. Cue the best chicken wings in Kunming, maybe the planet?

On the way to the taxi rank we were accosted by some inebriated young women and, I assure you against our will, were goaded into having a drink in one of the larger clubs in Kundu. There was a lot of posturing and ceremonial pouring of the whiskey and iced tea mix which is the drink of choice in Kundu followed by much over the top toasting and mutual lowering of glasses to show ‘deep and meaningful respect’.  One of the shadier guys hovering around our table expressed his admiration of our capacity to drink and of the dire music that was blaring out as the night winded up then showed us his large tattoo on his arm. It read “I’ m takeing [sic] my time waiting for the princes” I wonder if he found them that night.

We walked home to find the 小区 gate was just opening and a new sunny Kunming day and a hangover was beginning.



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