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Teahouse with Art
Huddled in a small courtyard opposite the Watch Tower of the Forbidden City, Shangpingwang is a newly-opened teahouse, tailor shop, gallery and small theatre.

Transformed from a small courtyard house, it is divided into three sections: the inner part is the tailoring workshop, the courtyard has been arranged with tables and chairs to be a teahouse, while to the east of the courtyard is a separate section serving as a stage for drama performances on Saturday nights.

It is actually co-run by a brother and sister team who are both crazy about art. The brother is a Chinese ink painter who has made the small shop a gallery with ink paintings of all styles hung on the wall. The sister, a tailor of Chinese traditional garments, runs the tailoring business in the inner part of the shop, which has also been arranged like a gallery featuring Chinese traditional garments.

On Saturday nights, students from the Central Academy of Drama and other drama groups from universities in Beijing give performances on the small stage. The audience has the chance to enjoy the performance while sipping a cup of fragrant tea. The glass roof of the courtyard is an attractive feature. When the show is going on, the shop is candle-lit, giving the place a very pleasant, cozy atmosphere.

Location: 3 Jingshan Qianjie, opposite the Watch Tower of the Forbidden City, at the northeast corner of the T-crossing, Dongcheng District

Hours: noon to 10 pm , drama performances start at 8 pm every Saturday night, tickets priced at 50 yuan (US$4.80) including snacks and tea

Tel: 6400-9372

(Beijing Weekend December 17, 2002)

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