It's been a while since we have updated the list of Shanghai's best bars for saving some red notes. Old titans like C's and Not Me are still going strong, but there has been some nightlife casualties. Most notably the dismantling of the Xingfu Lu Big Three, with Anar closing, LOgO moving to a new location, and Dada a shell of its former glory. Yet, fear not, for there is a freshman crop of hole-in-the-wall bars which are giving everyone looking for a good buzz plenty of options to get their drink on for less than 100 RMB. So if you are looking for cheap drinks and less-than-glamorous accommodations, then you need look no farther than this motley crew of Shanghai dives.
1) Perry's and Ellen's Cafe
First up, there are two similar bars serving two different university crowds just west of the city centre. Both places look like they were designed by the same “alternative” interior decorator that got a hold of C's. You can expect to find graffiti on the walls, worn wooden tables, and dirty bathrooms.
The first is Perry's which opened late last year. Pull up to one of the long tables that run right through the middle of the bar and start making new friends. Perry's has one of the absolute best deals in Shanghai with their 25 RMB rum and Coke buckets. Coming in at ½ litres, these buckets of alcohol are deceptively strong and get you blasted for less than 100 RMB. In addition to the drinks, Perry's offers cheap hookahs in the 50 RMB range in a variety of flavours.
Ellen's Café is the baby of the bunch having just opened about a month ago. The bar is popular with East China Normal University students and the place definitely has that wild university town vibe. You can expect plates of 20 RMB nachos and 40 RMB for buckets of gin and tonic. Don't let the shady, single stairway exterior fool you, the place is quite large on the inside, and even features a second exit, presumably in case you get lost looking for the first one.
Perry's View In Map
Add: 1139 Kaixuan Lu, near Anshun Lu, Shanghai
Tel: 138 3255 8117
Opening hours: 11:00 - 3:00; Daily
Ellen's CaféView In Map
Add: 433 Jinshajiang Lu, near Zaoyang Lu, Shanghai
Tel: 138 7668 4985
Opening hours: 17:00 - Late; Daily
2) B&C Bar and B&C 2
Next up in our easy-on-the-wallet tour, is B&C Bar and its cleverly-titled sister bar B&C 2 which are right down the street from each other. Since the first B&C was opened in 2008, it has been attracting plenty of foreign and Chinese customers as one of the Jing'an district's hidden gems. Noted for its hyper-friendly staff, B&C 1 and 2 serve up cheap beers and mixed drinks in the 30 - 40 RMB range, with a buy-one-get-one free happy hour everyday from 16:00 to 21:00. It can be fairly quiet on the weekdays, with people coming in for good conversation over cheap beers, but on the weekends the place fills up and a raucous good time is had by all. Both places have a bevy of quirky decorations hanging off the walls and the owners are there virtually every evening to make sure customers have a great, drunken experience.
B&C BarView In Map
Add: 940 Changde Lu, near Changping Lu, Shanghai
Tel: 138 5213 2100
Opening hours: 16:00 - 3:00, Daily
B&C 2View In Map
Add: 320 Xinfeng Lu, near Shanxi Bei Lu, Shanghai
Tel: 138 3256 9558
3) Liwa BarView In Map
Located out in the wild hinterlands of Putuo district, Liwa bar is a quiet Chinese bar that recently opened up its brand new location on Daduhe Lu. Serving up big bottles of Suntory for only 15 RMB, this is one of the cheapest places in town. Most of its patrons are Chinese, so it is a fantastic place for meeting locals and practicing your Chinese. You will see a foreigner meander in there from time to time due to the fact that the bar is within walking distance from an earlier entry on the list, Ellen‘s Café. Overall a pretty good place for a cheap, late-night bar crawl. Liwa is a low-key, no frills dive but warm and inviting all the same. Wild nights from Liwa Bar's old location on Zaoyang Lu are stapled onto a far wall giving you something to ponder over as the Suntory slowly drains its way into your system.
Add: 828 Daduhe Lu, near Jinshajiang Lu, Shanghai
Tel: 138 1670 6605
Opening hours: 18:00 - Late; Daily
4) Sea BarView In Map
Things do not get much more hole-in-the-wall than Sea Bar off of Julu Lu. It looks like someone took a Lanzhou lamianrestaurant and converted it into a bar. Sea Bar is tiny, and offers a mix of foreign and Chinese patrons, sitting elbow-to-elbow, pounding away 20 RMB beers. It is very close to Huaihai Zhong Lu, and the place almost feels a bit out of place among the more glitzy bars in the Former French Concession. On a good day it seats around 12 to 15 skinny people, and it earns big points for allowing customers to bring in their personal iWhatever and blast their own tunes in the bar – which depending on your taste in music can be a good or bad thing…
Add: 256 Julu Lu, near Ruijin Yi Lu, Shanghai
Tel: 158 0170 7202
Opening hours: 18:00 - 5:00; Daily
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Keywords: hole in the wall bars Shanghai foreigner nightlife Shanghai expat-friendly places Shanghai expat hangouts Shanghai best bars shanghai
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