The Nanfang / Blog

McCawley’s coming to Dongguan, Helen’s to Shenzhen: PRD bars expand to new cities

Posted: 10/15/2012 1:00 pm

Helen’s will open two outlets in Shenzhen by the end of the year.

The bar scene in the Pearl River Delta is growing fast.  It seems to have hit a wave of expansion, with some bars moving into entirely new cities.

Guangzhou seems to be ground zero for all the action.  The Brew now has three locations, after the grand opening of their Yuexiu location on Friday night.  The Tavern has two locations, and the Paddy Field opened their second location earlier this year.

McCawley’s – just this year – opened a new location at the Peninsula in Shenzhen and expanded into Guangzhou in a joint-venture with Hong Kong’s Delaney’s.  McCawley’s isn’t done yet though, as sources tell The Nanfang the popular Shenzhen pub chain has already locked up a new location in Dongguan.

Dongguan, itself, now has a whole bunch of more bar options.  The Nanfang visited Murray’s on Saturday night, which is a classy Irish pub with a relaxed feel.  Helen’s, directly across the street, is the 18th outlet of the popular student-themed bar but the first in Guangdong.  It plans to open two new outlets in Shenzhen before the end of the year, bringing dirt cheap draft beer and pizzas to the city.  The Office makes up the triumvirate in an area which is becoming known as The Crossroads, as all three bars are steps away from each other.

The rapid expansion of laowai bars and restaurants in Guangdong raises a few eyebrows considering the economy is supposedly slowing and manufacturing – while still strong – is a few years past its heyday.

Your correspondent also spent many years living in Beijing, a city with its own iconic establishments.  What’s interesting to note is there seemed to be almost zero desire among these bars and restaurants to expand to second locations, nevermind expand to other cities.  The entrepreneurial fire burns hot in southern China, and maybe laowai are picking up on the shrewd business skills of the Cantonese.



The latest in Guangzhou’s Bar Wars: The Brew strikes back with new 3rd location

Posted: 08/22/2012 4:18 pm

Rob, from The Brew, celebrating Canada Day

What is up with Guangzhou’s pub scene these days?

We told you already that the Paddy Field, one of the Guangzhou originals, has opened its second location in Tianhe, near where The Brew and The Tavern are already set up.  So what does The Brew do?  Open up very close to the original Paddy Field on Jianshe Liu Ma Lu.

No, these aren’t done to spite each other (I don’t think), but it does give pub-goers a wide range of places to tilt a pint or two.

Rob, one of the Canuck owners of The Brew, told The Nanfang that he’s been looking for a third location for a while.  The guys have even considered opening in Shenzhen, Dongguan, and Foshan, but finally found an ideal spot near the Garden Hotel.  The new Brew will most resemble the Panyu version, with mostly indoor seating and a stage for live performances.

While it seems pubs in Guangzhou are spreading faster than SARS ever did, Rob says it’s all a result of Guangzhou’s maturing nightlife. “Can you believe we have four Irish pubs in this city??  Everyone wants to own a pub eh.  At this point, I don’t mind it,” he said.  ”I mean, it’d be great if I owned the only pub in the city, but I think the number of pubs is an indicator of how Guangzhou is expanding and becoming more cosmopolitan.  We’re confident that we can still be popular in our niche as a friendly neighbourhood sports bar.”

For those wondering, the new venue won’t feature The Brew’s famous taps.  It is set to open sometime in mid-September.

Also on The Nanfang:


The Paddy Field throws open its doors in Tianhe

Posted: 08/8/2012 3:25 pm

It’s been around longer than many expats in Guangzhou, and now one of the city’s first decent pubs is opening a second location.

The Paddy Field – that den of Irish beer and pub food – is now officially open in Tianhe, lining up alongside other local stalwarts like the Tavern, the Brew, and McCawley’s in Guangzhou’s increasingly heated pub wars.

Michelle from the Paddy Field told The Nanfang that everything customers have come to know and love about the first location will be replicated at the new venue.  ”The new place is exactly the same Irish hospitality and warmth offered at the mothership. The only difference is that we won’t be having our weekly Salsa nights because of space constraints,” she said.  ”But it will be still 99.99999% business as usual!”

The Paddy Field originally opened in 2004 on Huale Lu, just behind the Garden Hotel.  It moved up to the second floor earlier this year to expand — indeed, there is plenty of space inside the revamped bar.

Michelle notes the new location, on Tiyu Dong Lu, is family-friendly and offers plenty of non-smoking areas.  It has the same (rather extensive) pub grub menu and beers on tap as the original.

The Paddy field is just the latest bar to make a foray into the Tianhe / Zhujiang New Town area.  The Brew opened its second location there and Shenzhen bar staple McCawley’s opened in the area, both within the past year.  The Tavern is also nearby, and Rebel Rebel opened last month, meaning there’s plenty of choices for people who want to get their drink on.

You can get all the info about the new Paddy Field, including the address, map, opening hours, and menu here.


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