Lao She Tea House is one of Beijing's most famous tea house, and has been visited by a number of well-known politicians. This is one exciting cultural place at Qianmen off the main tourist itinerary. It is named after the drama Teahouse by Chinese author, Lao She. And Tea House is one of his famous novels. Although an attempt to give a taste of a Beijing tea-house during Lao She's time, it has instead transformed into a wonderful entertainment house with short shows by comedians, singers, musicians, acrobats and opera performers.
With service area of more than 2,600 square meters, the teahouse provides an antique-flavor, Beijing-styled environment, where you can watch wonderful performances by celebrities from folk arts and drama on any given day while enjoying famous tea, palace snacks as well as traditional Beijing flavor state. Numerous celebrities and more than 2 million Chinese and foreign tourists have visited Lao She Teahouse since it was founded. It has been a window for exhibiting the national culture and a bridge that connects China with the world. In short, one can have a kaleidoscopic view of Beijing culture while sipping tea with light refreshment. Dinner before the show is provided separately in another section of the building and the price of the food is reasonable. An adjacent room display paintings, art objects like paper cuttings, figurines, antiques, kites and jade carvings.
An evening at the tea house involves a Chinese dinner followed by traditional Chinese entertainment that includes a series of acts, such as Peking Opera, acrobatics, dancing, and a comedy show. All of the entertainment is in Chinese and although there is a screen overhead with English translations, much of the performance will be unfathomable to the non-Chinese speaker. Nonetheless it is still very enjoyable for those seeking an introduction to traditional Chinese entertainment. Lao she is also a good place to take family or friends who may be visiting you in Beijing.
A highlight is the tea pouring acrobatics of the waiters. The waiters masterfully pour tea from a very long spouted tea pot into a small tea cup, which is always greeted by much applause. Amazingly fresh tea is served throughout dinner and the performance. There is also a tea and curio shop in the teahouse.
Lao She (1899-1966), real name Shu Qingchun, was of Manchurian descent and the famous author of the book called "Camel Xiangzi" also known in the US as "Rickshaw". It was a bestseller in the US where Lao She was a visiting professor. He also taught Chinese at the Oriental School of London University in his earlier days. His drama Teahouse displayed his linguistic talent of the Beijing dialect, depicting the customers with their bird cages and their pipes enjoying tea and gossip. Other famous works are Crescent Moon, City of Cats, The Yellow Storm and the Drum Singers. Unfortunately, despite his great love for China, he was hounded by the Gang of Four to suicide by drowning. He was posthumously rehabilitated in 1979 and his complete works were fully available. His wife, Hu Jieqing (1905-2001) a close friend of Prof. M.L. Pei, was an accomplished painter.
The owner of the Lao She Teahouse, Yin Shengxi, is a student of the son of Qi Baishi, one of China's best contemporary painters. Hence, one can see the busts of both Lao She and Qi Baishi at the entrance to the Teahouse.
Address: No.3, Qianmen West Street, Xuanwu District, Beijing
Transportation: Take bus routes 5, 10, 110, 120 and take off at Qianmen stop, or take subway Line 2 and take off at Qianmen station.
Opening hours: 9:00a.m-22:00p.m