Shanghai’s Top Live Music Venues

Shanghai’s Top Live Music Venues
By Susie Gordon ,

If you’re sick of the endless thump of second-rate hip hop that accompanies most nights out in Shanghai, the city’s live music venues might be more your style. From a virtually barren live music scene a mere few years ago, Shanghai now has a respectable number of clubs and bars that host bands and open mics. Here is our pick of 10 you shouldn’t miss.

Photo: benoitflorencon

1)  Yuyintang 育音堂 View In Map
The big daddy of live music in Shanghai, Yuyintang is the longest established and probably the most famous venue for bands and singers. Attracting an impressive array of talents from all over the world, Yuyintang is the place to go to hear decent, original and independent music. It’s dark and slightly dingy inside, with beat-up couches in the seating area and a yard outside. Wednesday and Thursday are jam nights, when local amateur talent rocks up to hone their skills.

Add: 851 Kaixuan Lu, by Yan'an Xi Lu, Shanghai
地址: 上海市凯旋路851号,近延安西路
Tel: 021 5237 86621
Opening hours: Wed-Sun, 20:00 till late

Photo: toehk

2)  MAO LivehouseView In Map
Another big name, but still relatively new, MAO Livehouse in the new Red Town complex is already rivaling Yuyintang as the go-to place for live music. Recent big names include Canadian shock rocker Peaches, and throat-singing folk group Hanggai. Audio and stage equipment are all top-notch.

Add: 570 Huaihai Xi Lu, near Hongqiao Lu, Shanghai
地址: 上海市淮海西路570号, 近虹桥路
Tel: 021 5258 9999
Opening hours: 10:00 – 22:00

Photo: Maxime Guilbot

3)  Zhijiang Dream Factory芷江梦工场 View In Map
This livehouse is tucked away inside the New Factories complex in the north of Jing’an District, and attracts mainly local talent to its stage. A roster of bands and DJs keep things busy at weekends, and the Dream Factory is steadily gaining acclaim. If you want to see homegrown Chinese musicians plying their trades, this is the place to go.

Add: 4/F, Building B, 28 Yuyao Lu, near Xikang Lu inside New Factories, Shanghai
地址: 上海市余姚路28号,同乐坊内,近西康路 
Tel: 021 6255 4062
Opening hours: Mon-Fri, 12:00-22:00; Sat-Sun, 12:00-00:00

4)  Brown SugarView In Map
Recently crowned best live music venue at two magazine award ceremonies, Brown Sugar is basking in glory at the moment. The chic Xintiandi stage is a world away from the edgier Yuyintang and MAO Livehouse, and appeals to a Champagne budget. The Latin and Filipino house bands rotate with visiting groups and singers throughout the week, and Sunday is Salsa night.

Add: Xintiandi North Block, Lane 181 Taicang Lu, near Madang Lu, Shanghai
地址: 上海市太仓路181号,新天地北里, 近马当路 
Tel: 021 5382 8998
Opening hours: 21:30-01:00

5)  JZ ClubView In Map
As well as a gorgeous location on tree-lined Fuxing Xi Lu, JZ hosts some of the best jazz to be heard in Shanghai. Inside, it has the atmosphere of an old-style jazz bar – red velvet curtains and couches, low lighting and a balcony level with a great view of the stage. JZ also operates a school to nurture young talent.

Add: 46 Fuxing Lu, near Yongfu Lu, Shanghai
地址: 上海市复兴路46号, 近永福路
Tel: 021 6431 0269
Opening hours: 20:30pm-02:30

6)  House of Blues and Jazz 布鲁斯与爵士之屋 View In Map
Now in its fourth location, the House of Blues and Jazz dates back to 1995, which is a long time in Shanghai years. As well as a roster of jazz groups, there’s open mic on Sunday nights, and Mellow Monday blues shows.

Add: 60 Fuzhou Lu, near Sichuan Lu, Shanghai
地址: 上海市福州路60号,近外滩
Tel: 021 6323 2779 (bar), 6323 8326/ 6321 1214 (office)
Opening hours: Mon-Sun, 16:30-01:30

7)  LOgOView In Map
Another legend on Shanghai’s underground music scene, LOgO heads up the Xingfu Lu bar strip and pulls in the alternative crowd for DJ nights, local bands, and improvisation. Their Sunday Jam is one of the city’s best-attended open mic events.

Add: 13 Xingfu Lu, near Fahuazhen Lu, Shanghai
地址: 上海市幸福路13号,近法华镇路
Tel: 021 6281 5646
Opening hours: 20:30 – Late

8)  Anar石榴 View In Map
Thanks to the talent and irrepressible enthusiasm of musician and promoter John Nguidjol, Anar has firmly established itself as a live music stronghold. The stage may be small, but it’s big enough to attract a crop of talent from China and abroad. The Xinjiang café in the front part of the bar is worth a look too.

Add: 129 Xingfu Lu, near Fahuazhen Lu, Shanghai
地址: 上海市幸福路129号,近法华镇路
Tel: 021 6280 9326, 159 2189 9392 (reservations), 138 1635 1255 (reservations)
Opening hours: 10:30-02:00

9)  Sound BlueView In Map
Every table at Sound Blue has a view of the stage, so you won’t miss a second of the music. As well as regular jazz shows, Sound Blue also hosts an English stand up comedy event every two weeks.

Add: 107 Sinan Lu, near Taikang Lu, Shanghai
地址: 上海市思南路107号, 近泰康路
Tel: 021 6473 2688
Opening hours: daily, 14:00-02:00

10)  BeedeesView In Map
One for the old-timers, Beedees has the atmosphere of a Tennessee bluegrass bar. Country musician Lars Jensen leads an acoustic jazz night every Monday, while Tuesdays is fully plugged blues and rock. Tuesday is improv night, and every other Wednesday, Beedees throws open its stage to a local English comedy troupe.

Add: 433 Dagu Lu, near Chengdu Lu, Shanghai
地址: 大沽路433号,近成都北路
Tel: 021 6327-3160
Opening hours: 18:00 - 02:00

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