China... Wuhan, Chengdu & Jinan: After Hours!

Me? A party animal? Who? Me? Well, OK! Throughout my first two years in China, I was able to have some stellar nights out! Working in an educational setting from Monday to Friday had me wanting to enjoy those weekends and breaks away. Within China's Wuhan, Chengdu and Jinan, I'm up for flashing back to that time of disorderly discovery. Oh, those 'After Hours' memories?

During those two years that I spent within China's Wuhan City, I certainly made those weekend nights count and then some! Beginning my 'After Hours' experience I made one special connection at WUHAN Prison. No, it wasn't an actual prison, I found that alternative 'dive bar' because my then colleague from my first teaching gig had introduced me to that nearby Guanggu venue. I spent many nights after finishing at my initial Training School gig, I wasn't going to let that un-social work schedule ruin my down time. Are you sure? I was! After finding my second teaching opportunity, I had a new group of friends who were also finding their feet in Wuhan. I found myself frequenting different nighttime venues such as 'Beer Barn' and 'Vibes'. I had never been to such a bar with the drinks in the fridge, meaning they were on display to pick and purchase. I missed my Beer Lao Light from WUHAN Prison but I wasn't going to get jaded by one single venue. No! With those new found friends, I observed those new personalities. 可以吗?

As the second year neared, I met my 'China Bestie' at the Christmas event during 2015. Fiona was working in the nearby city of Xianning, blinded by the basics I broke away from the Wuhan night scene to experience a slice of Xianning drama! Fiona came back to Wuhan after the Summer break in 2016, it was on! We became aware of the basics from day dot, we entertained a certain amount of hilarity, it was funny more than anything to know how life away from the dance-floor would end up for us all! We'd go to Beer Barn for some pre-drinks then onto somewhere more lively, we weren't fans of sitting idle with drinks and talking rubbish in one bar all night! We branched off and did things our way, we would disappear from the group and get our drink on within Fiona's DongXiHu District community. Making our Sangria and then a bit more, we knew how to stay off-radar and have a good time! Wuhan, we got bougie when we wanted to! Wuhan, just play those AfroBeats! For sure, you haven't seen the last of me 亲爱的!!! 

I hadn't been in China that long before that first National Day seven day holiday came up, sure I had those Chongqing and Chengdu flights booked! Chongqing was gargantuan and had me impressed, that's a city that I have pledged to return to. Chengdu was a different story, no word of a lie, I knew what I wanted and I was damn sure I would seal that deal once the sun had gone down! Famed for its Giant Panda Research Centre, the South-Western Chinese city in Sichuan Province had my back! Dubbed as the 'Gayest' city in China, I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity to have my cake and eat it! Being China, I had to get inventive with that research but as luck would have had it, I found myself following some sketchy directions outside Exit D at DongMen Bridge Station on the Chengdu Metro. Only now will I be elaborating further about my Chengdu 'After Hours' experience because it was more than nasty good! MC Club/Pub was the venue that I had my eyes peeled for as I walked along the JinJiang River with no clue! Jeez! 

I saw that rainbow flag nervously fluttering outside the entrance that would lead me to MC Pub. No drag queens nor cabaret were on the bill that night but I was made to feel like I was the celebrity as the only Caucasian person in the club. The vibe in MC Pub was chilled yet the music was really good. Needless to say, I met a guy who spoke English. He had found a guy who was rather besotted by my Western looks, I was flattered. I'll leave the rest to your imagination! Returning the next night, I had all but given up after having a great night but I hadn't pulled. I remember sitting outside the venue with some other guys, they only spoke Chinese so the conversation was limited, he wanted money for my time? No! I followed them down the stairs that lead to MC Sauna, it wasn't one of those places to get a massage or any beauty treatments, no. Going into the dark, I trusted the moment. In the depths of the darkness I allowed certain things to take place with precautions used. I felt how many pairs of hands? Chengdu was major!  

For the following Chinese National Day that I spent in China, I decided to visit China's Shandong Province. Famously known for its beer, I stayed in Qingdao for two days but refrained myself from visiting any bars or nightclubs, that 'After Hours' experience would be docile. Day drinking in the city of Qingdao Beer and China's former German concession, I saved my coins for Jinan. Taking the high speed train from Qingdao Railway Station to Jinan Railway Station didn't take all that long, I would be greeted to some fun goings on. Hitting the Spring City Square just before the sunset served me a truly patriotic sight. I rested for the first night, for what though? I got what needed to be done after I had checked into my hotel room, I was on some kind of mad thing! The second day brought the nighttime, dressed to impressed I had stumbled upon a riverside bar that looked like the perfect place to start the night off! Enjoying my craft beer beside the Spring City Square in Jinan City, was I prepared for the next move, Jii? 

Using my app of choice, I got in-contact with a nearby gentleman who said he knew of a bar that had booze, queens and more! Why were we backtracking towards my hotel? The night was young! The bar that I can't remember the name of, was only located around the corner from my hotel! Yes, I had picked the best place to stay! Going down some stairs I was fronted by a dated looking bar that had a red curtain that was dying to be opened! Sitting with my beers on the table, I was amazed as the first queen of the night took to the stage! Now, it wasn't RuPaul quality but I lived for their 'Local Queen' energy! The Jinan queens worked their stuff on that stage in their best drag, I was shocked but very happy to be witnessing my first ever drag show in China! It was an underground venue in many senses but I was about to learn that things would be like that on the Mainland. Jinan and its local queens served some more the following night, a Singaporean queen tried to out sass me! Bad move, sister! I want that 'After Hours' glow! 对对!


Joseph Harrison


  1. Chengdu sounds like my kind of city🥰 Well for the pandas at least😅


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