A rarefied Atmosphere

atmosphere - Lunchmag
Ear-popping ... Beijing's highest bar

Hannah Leung

Atmosphere (云酷), Contemporary Air and Flair in Beijing

The bar scene in Beijing once seemed incomparable to the sophisticated crowds of South Korea, Singapore, or Hong Kong, provided, of course you are searching for the sleek, industrial environment.

But in a city where newer is almost always perceived as better and where places seldom aim for subtlety, Atmosphere, a hotel lounge located on the 80th floor of the China World Summit, aptly represents China’s upwardly-mobile tastes.

Holding a place in the heart of Beijing’s CBD, Atmosphere has the impressive title of being the highest bar in Beijing.

On a good day in Beijing where the AQI (air quality index) is decent and the city is not enshrouded in an unnatural smog, peer out from Atmosphere’s looming, panoramic windows for a stunning view of historic Tiananmen Square juxtaposed with the glitz and seemingly impossibility of high skyscrapers in the business district.

Situated next to Atmosphere is CCTV (China Central Television), an iconic building occupying prime real estate on Beijing’s skyline and also humorously nicknamed as “the pants” for its resemblance to a pair of boxers, currently an unoccupied building due to an incident of exploding, unruly fireworks.

But woes of unpleasant accidents and political issues will subdue themselves in this cozy environment, as Atmosphere is the unanimous, go-to place where business deals are happily sealed and otherwise blasé clients are brought in for purposes of being impressed.

This is the kind of place where it’s important to pay attention to what you’re wearing—after all, the slightly pompous air generated in a place like this screams indiscreetly of status—but if you can tolerate a certain level of pretension, this lustrous lounge is an absolute must, for both the view and patron-watching.

Schmooze with some of China’s nouveau riche, take in the modernity of a seemingly tradition-seeped city. The well made, extensive menu of European drinks are an added plus.

Jazz enthusiasts will fancy the live musical entertainment; you can also sit farther away if conversation is profound and outside entertainment is not on the side order. Don’t feel embarrassed if you find yourself liking the complimentary nut mix too much; not to be compared to the average pub fare, this is a delicious dish of spicy wasabi, salted peanuts and seaweed-wrapped nuts.

Look down the crack in the elevator when you get off the 80th floor for a truly vertiginous experience. By the way, the entire ride up to the bar caps in at under a minute, be prepared for some serious ear popping. But be careful not to drop your credit card at any point. It will probably come in handy at this venue.

Atmosphere is a bar that looks as good in the daylight as it does at night; even with wine goggles on, this is a sultry, sexy environment. Soak up the smooth drinks, plush red chairs, glowing mood lighting and soft candles; you’ll soon forget you’re in the money making center of bustling Beijing.


China World Summit Wing, 1 Jianguomenwai, Beijing, China


Opening hours

12am – 2am

+(86 10) 6505 2299 ext 6432 / 6433

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