Thankfully, some bars around the Houhai Lakes have resisted the temptation to go down the neon-lit, karaoke-driven, guitar-bar route, which seems so popular with local drinkers. The Boathouse instead offers a tranquil tree-shaded terrace with an unrivalled view stretching the whole length of the middle lake.
The drinks menu is limited, and the coffee is instant rather than fresh, but if you just fancy a couple of bottles of beers or a soft drink by the lake, this place hits the spot. The tea is decent, although not particularly cheap.
It is, of course, also a boathouse, and you can come here to rent kayaks or canoes (single ¥60, double ¥80). Life jackets are provided.
This is also the base for the Beijing International Dragon Boating Team, which meets here during the summer months (April-September) for practise sessions. On Sunday afternoons, they hold public practise sessions where they allow visitors to have a go in the dragon boats. See their website for more details.
81A Houhai Xiyan
Xinjiekou or Jishuitan (both 750m)