The Bookworm Suzhou: at once café, bookstore, restaurant, library, bar, comedy club, and live music venue; truly a central cultural hub of the great city of Suzhou, and one of the most classic expat-operated venues in town.
Located just off the famous ShiQuanJie street right downtown, it plays host to delicious foods, drinks, and activities both local and from around the world. Head down anytime, be it for a proper cup of coffee and a sandwich, a cold beer and some laughs, a bit of sun out on the patio, or to check out one of the many cool weekly events that keep this cultural heart beating.
As one of the classic culture centers of the city, we host many events and activities of different sorts, including weekly live music shows, stand-up comedy, book talks hosted by eminent China authors, expat meetings, and even our own Pub Quiz and Chinese corner. Check out the list below for more details on our regular weekly events, and we strongly encourage you to sign up for our newsletter (simply enter your email at the top of the page) to keep up-to-date on the many, many special events we host!
Tuesdays – Kung Fu Komedy‘s Comedy Open Mic sessions, 8:30pm
A stand-up comedy event hosted weekly by some of the funniest people in and around Suzhou and Shanghai. We regularly host comedians both local and international, and this is the event that keeps many of them fresh and ready for their formal shows. You can come check it out for a laugh, or even get up on stage and tell a few yourself, even if it’s just a ditty you read on the internet! Bring on the Funny!
Wednesdays – The Bookworm Open Mic, 8:45pm
“It’s impossible to overstate the importance of the Bookworm in the creation of the local expat music scene.” -City Weekend Suzhou
Ah, the Bookworm Open Mic; not enough can be said about this night. As the longest running and most popular Open Mic event in Suzhou, you can ask almost any of the regular musicians on the scene how and where they got their start, and almost all will say the same thing: The Bookworm Open Mic. Show up any given Wednesday and see a mix of practiced regular musicians and brand new talent showing off whatever it is they’ve got at one of the most important and classic events on the Suzhou music scene. And a free drink to anyone who gets up on the mic, even if it’s just Mary Had a Little Lamb!
Thursdays – Quiz Night, 8:30pm, (Note, every OTHER Thursday!)
The oldest Pub Quiz in the city; this one is always a classic. Come down to test your mettle against some of the best brains around, and be prepared to have an evening both stimulating and hilarious! But remember, show up on time if you want to stand a chance: first prize team gets a free bottle of whiskey, and a bottle of wine for second and third.
Fridays – Acoustic Sessions Live Music, ~8:45pm
The core event of the Bookworm music soul, each Friday hosts Suzhou Acoustic Sessions, booking some of the best talent in Suzhou both well-known and yet-to-be-discovered on the stage for a raw, “unplugged” performance (although it still occasionally gets hopping!). This one you definitely don’t want to miss! Call or email ahead for weekly band info, sign up for the newsletter at the top of the page, or look for events postings on Facebook and City Weekend. Music lovers unite!
Also Fridays – Board Games Club, 7pm
Also meeting each Friday for some more relaxed fun on the 2nd floor is a friendly and welcoming group of regular gamers playing board and card games of all sorts, from relaxed rounds of Settlers to strategy games with manuals thicker than a novel. Come down and join any Friday; there are several games always available in the Bookworm, and you’re always welcome to bring your own and join the fun!
Saturdays – Amp’d Presents, Live Music, ~9pm (Intermittent)
Not every Saturday gets booked up at the ‘Worm, but if it does, expect a great show with a band playing something a bit louder than the acoustic sessions! Keep an eye out for event listings, and even if there’s no band on for the night, expect a really nice deal on ribs and beer, great for getting a party started or an alternative to your typical SIP evening.
Sundays – Chinese Corner, 8pm-9:30pm
I know we’ve all been there: it’s Sunday evening, it’s been a long weekend and you’re feeling hungover, or tired, or just plain lazy. You keep telling yourself you’re really gonna sit down and learn Chinese, but can’t ever seem to get around to doing it properly. Fortunately at the Bookworm, we have a specially arranged Chinese Corner every Sunday evening! Our lovely teacher Joy will be there to assist you in getting past the “Ting-bu-dong” phase forever! These mini-“classes” are designed to be flexible for all levels of Chinese ability, so all are welcome. (Note: The cost to participate is 30rmb, which goes straight to the teacher, because as many of our customers know, good teachers don’t usually work for free.)
A Biography of the Bookworm
The Bookworm was born some five years ago into humble surroundings.
Its founder, Alexandra Pearson, was running a one-woman outfit in a modest courtyard where she not only managed a small library and put on low-key events, but also handled the restaurant side of things herself. The library had a meagre collection of 2,000 books – mainly biographies and non-fiction – that Alexandra had actually collated for another venture back in 1998…but that’s another story.
One day in 2003, a curious journalist walked in to have a look round and almost immediately became member number 2. He soon fell under The Bookworm’s enchanting spell and found himself lending a hand around the place; planting daisies in the courtyard, reshelving the books as they grew in number. Three years later, that journalist was to become The Bookworm’s Business Partner and Co-owner, and open The Chengdu Bookworm, and then The Suzhou Bookworm the following year. He is none other than Peter Goff, and today you’re as likely to find him writing the quirky questions for Chengdu’s quiz night as moderating a talk by a celebrated scribe in Suzhou.
restaurant at suzhoubookworm dot com
admin at suzhoubookworm dot com