Home China Guide Beijing Attractions Laoshe Teahouse - Beijing's Best Teahouse

Laoshe Teahouse - Beijing's Best Teahouse

Laoshe Teahouse was named after the people's artist, Lao She (1899-1966) and his famous theater. Lao She, real name Shu Qingchun (舒庆春), was a notable Chinese writer, a novelist and a dramatist.

Founded in 1988, Laoshe Teahouse is located in Qianmen Street, covering a business area of 2,600 square meters. Decorated mainly in a traditional Chinese style, it is simple and elegant with a Beijing-styled environment. Neatly arranged square tables, backrest chairs, palace lanterns hung from the ceiling, wooden tablets marked with a tea table on the counter, and paintings and calligraphy couplets hung on the wall make you feel like you are entering an old Beijing folk museum.

Mentioning "Laoshe Teahouse", the name was known by women and children not only in the capital, but also by lots of people in other cities of China, and even abroad. "Laoshe Teahouse" has become the "Name Card" of Beijing - the ancient capital of the Six Dynasties and international metropolis.

Nowadays, there are five or six hundred teahouses in Beijing, but why does only Laoshe Teahouse enjoy the reputation of the "Name Card"?

One reason is that it was the first modern teahouse after the reform and opening up of China, with the price of a big bowl of tea only costing two cents a bowl.

Secondly, is that the well-known teahouse in Beijing was named after Lao She, who was one of the representatives of the Beijing-flavored culture.

Thirdly, is that Laoshe Teahouse has a Beijing-flavor, where not only the tea can be tasted but the culture can also be appreciated by visitors.

Enjoy the Performances at the Teahouse

People there can enjoy splendid performances every day converged with outstanding folk arts such as operas, acrobatics, magic and face-changing while enjoying famous tea, palace snacks, as well as traditional Beijing flavored snacks. Numerous celebrities both at home and abroad have visited Laoshe Teahouse since it was founded, which enjoys a high reputation in the world. It has been a window for exhibiting the national culture and a bridge that connects China with the rest of the world. See below performances given at Laoshe Tea House.

Handeng Drums

It is one of the folk arts of China. When singers are singing, their mouths contain a lamp holder that has a horizontal length of nearly one foot, held by their teeth. On the top of the lamp holder, stand a number of lit candles; the bottom is decorated with colored tassels (each tassel is a drooping braid made with colorful feathers or silk). Singing in this way, it increases the difficulty of performing on the one hand, on the other hand, it gives prominence to the charming "acrobatic shows" which are visible, audible and pleasant.

Ventriloquism of a Hand Shadow

The ventriloquism of a hand shadow is a shadow which creates shapes of figures and animals by using a private shadow. It also projects the hand shapes on the screen with the simulated sound of ventriloquism through light reverse technology.

Face Changing

Face changing is one of the special skills of a Sichuan opera performance, which is a romantic way to reveal thoughts and emotions in the characters’ hearts. It turns the invisible, abstract things into visible, specific things. Face changing can be divided into three types, which are "touching the face (摸脸)," "blowing the face (吹脸)" and "pulling the face (扯脸)"; in addition, there is a face changing skill called "luck".

Chinese Kung Fu  

Chinese Kung Fu is a type of kickboxing but not just a fist movement. It is a crystallization of the wisdom of the Chinese nation.

Beijing Opera

The Peking Opera or the Beijing Opera - the largest opera in China - is the quintessence of China and has a history of 200 years. It has a rich list of plays, artists, troupes, audiences and wide influences, making it the foremost opera in China. The Beijing Opera is a comprehensive acting art. It blends singing, reading, acting, fighting and dancing together by using acting methods to narrate stories, depict characters, and express thoughts and feelings of "happiness, anger, sorrow, joy, surprise, fear and sadness". There are four roles in the Beijing Opera: Sheng (生), Dan (旦), Jing (净) and Chou (丑) (Sheng: a male role; Dan: a female role; Jing: a male characterized with moral integrity and cruelty; Chou: a clown role with white powder on his nose, called a clown or buffoon). These roles have the natural features of loyalty and treacherousness, beauty and ugliness, good and evil.

Ventriloquism

Ventriloquism is a form of entertainment, where performers seem to cause their voice to imitate the sounds of birds, insects and nature by using their mouths, teeth, lips, tongues and throats. Through aircraft, artillery and other military battle scenes, combined with art and good performances of ventriloquism, it can also be imitated vividly, which makes the audience feel like they are part of the scene, and they enjoy themselves.

A Two-Man Comic Show

A two-man comic show is a comic pairing in which humor is derived from the uneven relationship between two partners as a whole. Often one of the members with a body performance is known as the performer, while the other one, who is good at singing and has a wonderful voice, is called the rapper. The performer doesn’t make any noise but only imitates the pronunciation of the rapper silently.

Playing a two-man comic show must have a scene with tables and chairs, as well as props which include handkerchiefs, folding fans and specialized headgear which is embroidered on the pigtails, and tied on a small circular support with a pigtail hung on the top.

Shadow Play

Shadow play is an ancient and unique dramatic art in folklore, using a piece of white gauze as the screen when playing.

Shadow puppetry originated during the Western Han Dynasty 2,000 years ago. A shadow puppet performance relies on the shadow of a window and making use of the lighting principle and planar mapping, then reflecting the paper dolls or puppets onto the screen, with music and singing to show a dramatic story. In the development of Chinese dramas, shadow play was probably the earliest Chinese play.

Drinking Tea in the Teahouse

You can drink tea in Laoshe Teahouse on the third floor. Scented tea and green tea are the main teas, which are served mainly in cups and covered bowls. There are about 20 kinds of tea and home-made biscuits with certain characteristics.

Travel Essentials

Address: No. 5 Building in the West Street of Qianmen. 前门西大街5号楼

Price: performances are from 19:40-21:20 every night in the West Hall on the third floor of the Laoshe Teahouse. There are comprehensive performances, including the Beijing Opera, folk arts, acrobatics and magic. Booking two days in advance is required. The price for a performance is 60 to 380 yuan and tea is included. The major difference in price is due to the distance from the stage and the refreshments.

Opening times: 09:00 to 21:20.

Traffic routes: take the 17, 22, 43 or 826 bus to Qianmen Station (前门站); or take Subway Line 2 to Qianmen Station.

.If you don't want to spend too much money, the best time for visiting is on a Saturday or Wednesday afternoon. At that time, there is a special show of the Peking Opera from 15:00 to 17:00 which costs 20 yuan, serving only tea in the western hall of the teahouse.

Folk music is performed from 14:30 to 17:00 every Monday to Friday at the small eastern hall of the teahouse, which costs 10 yuan with a tea service.