Old Town Clubbing

Old Town Shop

After getting back from Lake Namtso we had one last night to spend in Lhasa. We went to the same rooftop bar overlooking the Jokhang Temple when we first arrived in Lhasa.

When Yi went to the Potala Palace she ended up on a different tour. It was here she met a local who had recommended a club in Old Town for us to visit. Another person in our tour group was interested so the three of us headed out while the rest of the tour stayed at the rooftop bar for more drinks.

The club was difficult to find, even with the address. We worked it out after seeing some people leaving a taxi and walking into it. At first it seemed a little seedy, having to climb several stairs through a small opening between two buildings. Once inside we had the familiar having to find us a table.

But this club was very different to New Town. There was a reasonably sized stage with several small tables in front of it. This club wasn’t about trying to force you to buy overpriced champagne sparkling white wine, or requiring spending limits to sit at special tables. The club was well-lit and every table was the same. Some tables had already been filled with several empty bottles of cheap lager.

The music was mostly traditional Tibetan music with a modern twist (at least that’s what it seemed like – I’m not an expert in traditional Chinese music). People would get on the stage and dance – sometimes professional dancers, sometimes just the younger Tibetans in the club. There were definitely similarities with the way Chinese clubs, but without all the pretentiousness and showing off. In other words this club was fun.

We were the only foreigners in the bar – two white guys and a Han girl surrounded by Tibetans. I have to admit I was a little nervous – did we really belong here? This was quickly relieved when people started getting our attention and raising their glasses to us. One man even said “Thanks for coming!”.

We had a few bottles of cheap beer and eventually got the courage to jump on stage and dance. About five seconds later everyone else decided to run away from the stage. A little embarrassed we returned to our seats and the dance floor filled up again.

Eventually Yi got tired and we decided to head back. Our friend decided to stay after we got a phone call from our tour guide saying the rest of them were coming. We left him on his own waiting for them to arrive.

Unfortunately he spent the night alone because they never made it to the club…

Author: Bok McDonagh

I am Bok, a British-born expat living in China. I was born in Lancashire but identify as a 'plassie-Scouser'. I spent my youth growing up in Cumbria. Here I developed a great taste for exploration, climbing mountains and camping in the wilderness - a taste for travel that has defined my life.

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