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Nightlife keeps pace with city’s boom

BRENT DEVERMAN finds Shenzhen’s nightlife and entertainment scene has undergone something of a revolution, as most expatriates seek out more choices for having fun in this booming city.

“Some club-goers want to enjoy different drinks, some want to watch famous DJs’ performances, some just want a break. Compared with eight years ago, I have more choices in Shenzhen’s nightlife,” said Deverman.

A graduate in computer science and East Asian studies from Michigan State University, Deverman came to Shenzhen in 2000 when he was hired as software engineer at a U.S. watch manufacturing company in Futian District.

Together with three French co-workers, Deverman launched a Web site for English speakers working and living in Shenzhen in 2001.

Like most expatriates in Shenzhen who want to have a full life in the city, Deverman, who can speak fluent Chinese after studying at Qinghua University for eight months in 1998, always tries to get to know people, explore the nooks and crannies of the city and find new places to eat. “Every time I go to a new city, I like to explore it,” he said.

“For the early part of my stay in Shenzhen, there were only a couple of bars and we got bored of going to the same places all the time.”

According to Deverman, at that time, he and his friends didn’t like the music played in most Shenzhen bars. “The music, which was fast, heavy and hard, was not suitable for foreigners, and we called it ‘Chinese techno,’” said Deverman.

But there was one place attracting many foreigners, called Good Fellas, a 200-square-meter bar on Zhenhua Road in Huaqiangbei. “The bar had many choices of much better quality music, including hip-hop, house, disco and pop, but later the owners closed Good Fellas and opened U Bar,” he said.

Now numerous nightclubs cater for club-goers from different countries and new ones continue to open all the time. The music at these clubs covers a wide range, with hip-hop and house being very popular with both tourists and locals.

Although Deverman enjoys himself at a variety of trendy bars in Shekou, Overseas Chinese Town and Coco Park, he still isn’t satisfied with the service of some Shenzhen bars.

“In Hong Kong, especially in Lan Kwai Fong, you can enjoy different kinds of cocktails or wine sold by the glass, but Shenzhen bars sell their spirits by the bottle, so the quantity is too much for a small group and it is expensive. In addition, although Shenzhen bars look different in their appearance, they sell almost the same products and service is still very slow. There’s still room for improvement.”

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