MAKO Live House
Beijing's live music venues are well-established and well-loved by their dedicated followers. Yugong Yishan, Mao Livehouse, D-22 and 2Kolegas have all served the scene well, and have pretty much been the only players on the block for several years now. Joining their number in early 2010 was Mako Live House, a combination of live music venue, 300-seat theatre and banging dance studio.
Located just off Guangqu Lu, near Shuangjing Qiao, Mako Live House isn't exactly easy to find; however, this is pretty much the only criticism we can level at the place, as everything else about it is fantastic. Split into three sections, the theatre and dance studio - which also doubles as an art gallery - are impressive enough in their own right, and more than cement the venue's cultural credentials.
A long bar lines one side of the cavernous room; cocktails cost around 40RMB, with Tsingtaos reasonably priced at 20RMB. Half the floor space is taken up with long tables surrounded by high bar stools, while the other half is taken up by a huge dancefoor - a pleasing sight in a city of shrunken grooving spaces. The 10m-high ceilings work well for the acoustics.
The success of D-22 shows that Beijing's live music fans are more predisposed to travel than Beijing's more territorial dance music crowd, meaning that Mako Live House's relatively isolated location won't be too much of a hurdle. It wins points over Beijing's other live music institutions by being bigger and having a better layout.