Spring Cleaning -- Beijing's 'dirty bar street' is no more

Updated 2017-05-22 09:31:22 CGTN
Dirty street after facelift.

Dirty street after facelift.

With Beijing playing host to many world leaders at the recent Belt and Road Forum, several areas of the capital underwent something of a facelift.

And nowhere was this truer than in the popular entertainment district of Sanlitun, where a strip colloquially known as "Dirty Bar Street" underwent an altogether more radical change.

In its heyday, dirty street was home to dive bars, DVD shops, beauty parlors, and small eat-outs that were crowded and cheap.

Now, it's been reduced to a strip of empty ground.

All the shops were shut down in an end-of-April facelift to get rid of illegal construction that has been here for some 10 years.

One has now relocated to a nearby shopping mall, with a much nicer look. But its manager is nostalgic.

"I didn't even dare go to the demolition on the day. I was afraid to get too emotional. After all, I spent so many years there," says Liu Feng, manager of a nail shop.

Still, Liu is a lucky one. She says none of her former neighbors managed to stay around.

As her shop moved, the rent also increased. Liu says it is now some 20,000 US dollars more each month. "So we have to work extra hard to keep old-timers and attract newcomers and promote it harder since passers-by are few now. But we see the move as a chance to grow."


Passers-by today seem to welcome the cleaner surroundings.

"The clean-up is good! It used to be so dirty, crammed up, and smelly in summer!" one young Chinese who worked there told CGTN.

Another passer-by agreed, but only partially: "It is cleaner, but also much less fun."

Anyone who misses the clamor of the place, can still turn to the opposite side of the street, which is safe for now.

Just one block away from Liu's older shop, Sanlitun is at its best – clean, green, and glamorous, the way Beijing hopes the whole city can be. The local government is taking down 40 million square meters of illegal construction this year alone to meet this goal.

Also in the News

Nicole Kidman Recalls Oscar Glory: Loneliest Time
Showbiz2016/06/16 13:58September 21 2018 11:40:46

Nicole Kidman Recalls Oscar Glory: Loneliest Time

Attending Shanghai International Film Festival, Nicole Kidman talks about her role in "Grace of Monaco".

Labor Day Travel Peak Starts
Also in the News2014/05/01 12:16September 21 2018 11:40:46

Labor Day Travel Peak Starts

Johnny Depp Delivers a Speech 'Evolve the Future' in 'Transcendence'
Also in the News2014/04/18 13:18September 21 2018 11:40:46

Johnny Depp Delivers a Speech 'Evolve the Future' in 'Transcendence'

Hollywood star Johnny Depp's speech in the upcoming new film "Transcendence" has been disclosed on Friday, April 11th.

China World Business Sports Showbiz Audio
C4 My Chinese Life The Sound Stage China Revealed Showbiz Video Travel Video
China World Fun Travel Entertainment Sports
Beijing Shanghai Guangzhou
Live Music Opera & Classical Movies Traditional Shows Exhibitions
Learn Chinese:
Chinese Studio Living Chinese Everyday Chinese Just For Fun Chinese Culture Buzzwords