The first established expatriate bar in China founded in Shekou, over ye30ars ago, when it was just a small fishing village. The birth of the Snake Pit was due to China’s first Joint Venture with multi-national oil drilling and rig service companies, which came from as far away as Texas, Scotland and Scandinavia. The most hardened, tough, weather-beaten engineers were sent over to start drilling in the South China Sea in the mid 80s.
When arriving onshore after spending many days or weeks out at sea the men returned to Shekou with nowhere to go and nothing to do except hang out at the only noodle stand in town where they smoked all the cigarettes, and drank all the beer they could find. Naturally, after several unsightly episodes the local police, China Merchants (the land owner of much of the area), the oil companies themselves and even CNOOC (China National Offshore Oil Corp, headquartered in Beijing) admitted something had to be done for these workers.
Thus the South China’s legendary Snake Pit was born in March of 1987 in what is now known as Bar Street. One of the founding members, “Steal” George was renowned for his antics – he would remove his glass eye and put it on the bar and say “watch my beer while I’m away” as he went to the bathroom. The Pit was always full of colorful characters such as he in its early years.
The Snake Pit started off as a members’ only club. It remains a member club today, open to all – from oilmen, teachers, businessmen and women to frequent travelers to Shekou or the mainland. All are welcome to come and see where it all began, sit and have a drink, talk about sports, life, China or your hometown. We’re sure you’ll want to take advantage of the many benefits of becoming a member of the longest running expat club in China.
Just a few rules to keep in mind:
No talking on one’s phone while inside (or a round of drinks for everyone at the bar is announced with a ringing of the bell for the offence).
No ties – wear an old one you don’t care for anymore and see what happens to it – or just come to see where many ties over the past three decades have ended up that have passed through the doors of The Snake Pit.
Not a member? Don’t worry, guests are encouraged to come.
Times have changed and the Snake Pit is now in the center of Shekou, with easy access to the Metro. The Snake Pit is also known as The Shekou Sports and Social Club which is now more family orientated and is the home to many clubs and organizations such as The Shekou Hash House Harriers, Shekou Squash Club, Shekou Darts Club, just to name a few.
The Club also raises donations by holding charity events to help local orphanages, schools, hospitals and various other charities.
It is from the wild beginnings of those most hardened, tough, weather-beaten engineers and their wild ways 30 years ago to what it is today – a pillar of the local community, having a membership of over 5,000 from 52 different countries. So come check out where it all began, Welcome!
The club is currently situated in along Wanghai Road in Shop 20 of Coastal Rose Garden Phase II West. Take the Shekou Metro Line to Shuiwan Station and take Exit ‘D’ and check out the contact page for a map of how to get there.