A glimpse at traditional Chinese culture -- Beijing teahouses and drama theaters
BEIJING, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- Outside of sitting back and sipping a fragrant cup of tea at home, Beijingers love nothing more than to go to teahouses and indulge in their favorite drink and Chinese traditional culture. Over time, teahouses have become part of the life and fabric of the capital with more than 500 establishments offering various styles. To sip a cup in any of them is to have a glimpse of daily life in the country.
Founded in 1988, this establishment covers an area of
more than 3,300 square meters. Since it opened, it has entertained many famous
people from China and all over the world. Here, sitting in a traditional Beijing
background, you can drink the best teas in the country, taste delicious
traditional Beijing-style snacks and delicacies which used to be eaten by Qing
Dynasty (1644-1911) emperors. Most importantly, you can enjoy all kinds of
traditional performance art, including Peking Opera, Changing Face of Sichuan,
hand shadow play, Chinese martial arts and acrobatics, among others.
Address: 3 Qianmen Xidajie, Xicheng District
Phone: (8610) 6303-6830,
Tianqiao Le Teahouse (or Tiaoqiao Happy
Built in 1933, this establishment features an area of
about 1,300 square meters that can comfortably sit around 200. The room's
classic decorations add to the experience of sampling various types of tea and
snacks while watching traditional performances. Roast duck and cross-talk
(rapid-fire conversation with humorous elements) are hot attractions at the
Address: 1, Beiwei Lu, Xuanwu District
Tel: (8610) 6304-0617
Set up in 1994, Wufu, which means five kinds of
happiness in Chinese, was the first chain teahouse in the city. Compared with
the Laoshe Teahouse the ambience here is much quieter and milder, with girls
dressed in traditional clothes performing tea ceremonies for customers. The
store also sells high-quality tea, handmade tea sets and books. It even
organizes tea forums and lectures.
Address: 104, Di¡¯anmen Dajie, Xichengqu
Tel: (8610) 6405-9648
Zhang Yiyuan Teahouse
This is a renowned time-honored teahouse in the city.
It consists of seven private rooms that can accommodate about 100 customers in
total. The theater is run by one of the most respected tea leaf purveyors in the
country, so it serves up some of the best cups in town.
Address: 18, Guangshun Beidajie, Wangjing, Chaoyang
Tel: (8610) 6472-6514
Started in the 12th year of Qing Dynasty Emperor
Guangxu, the teas here are supplied directly from such tea-producing areas as
Anhui, Zhejiang and Fujian provinces. The scented Jasmine teas were specially
made in the cells of Fuzhou and Suzhou and then transported or shipped to the
capital and pieced together at different grades.
Address: 44 Dongsi Beidajie, Dongcheng District
Tel: (8610) 8403-0547
Colorful Beijing leaves people with many options to
experience traditional Chinese culture. Drama theaters spread across the city
are very much worth exploring.
Huguang Guild Hall
Founded by Beijing residents coming from Hunan and
Hubei Provinces, this theater provides a place for lodging and a gathering of
fellow townsmen. It has a history of more than 190 years dating back to 1807
when investments were gathered for its foundation. At that time, its premier
role was to host students who came to the city to sit the Royal Exam and
officials who were waiting for their nomination.
It was also one of centers of political and social
life in the late Qing Dynasty, where officials and average persons had fun
together, dining, chatting and watching Beijing Opera staged by famous
It was renovated starting in 1990 and the Grand
Theater opened to the public on May 8, 1996. Some top actors such as Mei Baojiu
and Zhang Xuejin attended its debut. From then on, it has been a major stage of
Beijing Opera. In 1997, the hall was opened to the public as a whole and renamed
Beijing Museum of Traditional Opera. It is the only guild hall featuring a
theater and the first to be renovated and opened in line with its original
Address: No.3, Hufangqiao Road, Xuanwu District,
Tel: (8610) 6352-9140
Run in conjunction with the Peking Opera Theatre,
this spacious venue seats 1,000 people who cram in for the carefully-selected
repertoire of Beijing Opera pieces. The ambiance is the closest you will get to
the way the masses used to enjoy this art. When you sit at the old fashioned
square table for eight people (Ba Xian Zhuo), appreciating the singing,
recitals, dancing, acrobatics and martial arts of the performance, you will
definitely feel intoxicated by its artistic beauty.
Address: 1/F, Qianmen Hotel, 175 Yong'an Lu, Xuanwu
Tel: (8610) 6301-6688
This theater was specifically constructed for
traditional drama performance and cultural exchange. It covers an area of 2,000
square meters and was built in the style of a Beijing courtyard.
Address: In the Garden of Changpu River,
Tel: (8610) 6417-0068
Grand View Theater
This theater has been influenced by the surrounding
"Red Mansion" culture. It mainly puts on a "Red Mansion Dinner Dance,"
presenting before your eyes a setting like fairyland on Earth. Set in the Qing
Dynasty, and taking the national performance style and relying on the atmosphere
of the classical garden in the Grand View Garden, the dance is a set of dinner
dances to go with the "Red Mansion Dinner." Delicately made, it is endowed with
unique characteristics referring to the plot and story of "A Dream of Red
Mansions." The beautiful and colorful scene combines tradition with modernity,
martial arts with acrobatics, masculinity with femininity, culture with catering
and performance with participation in a natural, ingenious and organic way. Be
sure to come and see this the performance.
Address: No.12, Nan Cai Yuan Street, Xuanwu District
(Inside the Grand View Garden Park)
Tel: (8610) 6351-9025
This wood structure has survived intact for more than
100 years. It houses a large stage and can seat over 200 spectators comfortably.
The hall also boasts some of the best acoustics in town for Beijing Opera. Even
when seated far from the stage, you can hear every note clearly.
Address: Inside Prince Gong's Palace, A14, Liuyin
Tel: (8610) 6618-0573