It goes without saying that different people want different things from bars, and Shanghai-ites are no exception. Some crave the glamour of the Bund’s best nightspots, believing that stunning views make their pricey cocktails taste all the sweeter; others are happier getting more beer for their kuai in a downtown den with a happy hour. It’s hard to choose just ten bars from a nightlife scene as wide and varied as Shanghai’s, but we’ve narrowed it down to ten joints which cater for all tastes, from the high-end right through to the dive bar.
Bar RougeView In Map
Some of Shanghai’s glitziest and most exclusive bars are located on the Bund, affording amazing views over the Pudong skyline. It’s normal to pay top dollar for this view, so be prepared. Bar Rouge, with its wide terrace, has a prime spot overlooking the river and the skyscrapers beyond. Inside, the décor is sleek and opulent, with a long bar running down the middle. The door charge is 100rmb unless there’s a special event, when prices are higher. The cocktails are especially good here, and you can expect to party until daybreak at weekends.
7F, Bund 18, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, near Nanjing Lu
Fri-Sat: 6pm until late
Door charge: 100rmb
ManifestoView In Map
Up the stairs from Mesa restaurant is the Manifesto bar – an ambient, laid-back lounge which is just as good for a Wi-Fi brunch as it is for a weekend party. It’s especially attractive on Sundays when an all-day ‘happy hour’ menu offers low-price drinks and snacks. Top tip: try the mini burgers – cute, tasty, and a snip at 10rmb each.
748 Julu Lu, near Fumin Lu
Daily 11am-2pm, 6pm-late
Zapata’s Mexican CantinaView In Map
Don’t let the name fool you. The only nod to a ‘cantina’ at Zapata’s is the tiny taco/quesadilla stall tucked just inside the entrance. What Zapata’s is famous for is its twice-weekly Ladies’ Nights, where dancing on the bar is all but mandatory, and daiquiris flow free for females. A meat market it may be, but for weekday fun, it’s a must. The second floor is less crowded, and has a small terrace from which you can observe the carnage below. Zapata’s comes into its own during the warmer months, thanks to its huge outdoor area. If it all gets too much, head next door to Sasha’s, where the atmosphere is a little calmer.
5 Hengshan Lu, near Dongping Lu
CuveeView In Map
This classy but cozy wine bar is situated in the Kangding 528 development north of Jing’an Temple, and offers a huge selection of wines, cocktails, spirits, and even cigars. There’s an outdoor terrace for warmer nights and a fireplace for winter. Become a member, and you get to store your wine selection in a cellar locker. Cuvee does a great weekend brunch too. Also in Kangding 528 is Kuluska, a sleek Basque tavern which serves tapas and northern Spanish snacks.
Building 103, Lane 528 Kangding Lu, near Xikang Lu
Tuesday - Sat: 5pm - late
Sunday: 11am – late
Cloud 9 BarView In Map
Fancy sipping a cocktail at one of the highest bars in Asia? If so, head to the 87th floor of the Jin Mao tower where you’ll find Cloud 9, the Grand Hyatt hotel’s bar. There’s a minimum order of 110rmb, so make sure you get a west-facing table to make the most of the view over to Puxi.
87/F Jin Mao Building, 88 Shi Ji Da Dao, Pudong
LongitudeView In Map
If you like Manifesto, you’ll love the Longitude Lounge. It has similar fare and atmosphere, a nice long terrace, and the advantage of being in the middle of the French Concession.
2/F, 1 Yueyang Lu, near Dongping Lu
Daily: 6pm to 2am
BulldogView In Map
Formerly know as British Bulldog, this expat staple lost none of its English charm when it changed its name. Located in the heart of the French Concession, the Bulldog’s three floors of wood-paneled coziness, pool tables, traditional pub décor and British comfort food (the shepherd’s pie is amazing) make it a haven for nostalgic foreigners searching for a slice of home. There’s a quiz night on Thursdays, Men’s Night on Wednesdays, and themed parties throughout the year. Big screens show sport, and it’s buy-one-get-one-free on all drinks every night.
1 Wulumuqi Nan Lu, near Dongping Lu
Glamour BarView In Map
Glamour Bar on the Bund is part of the M franchise, which also includes top class restaurant M on the Bund. Glamour is home to the annual Shanghai International Literary Festival, and other events throughout the year. Rumour has it that the sleek candy-pink design was modeled on stilettos.
6/F, 5 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, The Bund
Captain’s BarView In Map
Even if you’re not staying at the Captain’s Hostel, take a trip to their top-floor bar which affords Bund views without inflated prices. The hostel’s nautical theme extends to the bar, which is decked out like a ship. Get there just before sunset to watch the skyline light up with neon.
6/F, 37 Fuzhou Lu, near Sichuan Zhong Lu
Yongfoo EliteView In Map
The French Concession villa that now houses this exclusive bar and eatery has served as the Russian, British, and Vietnamese consulate over the years. It’s now an upscale venue with a tranquil garden and general air of luxury. This is the place to take someone you really want to impress.
200 Yongfu Lu, near Hunan Lu
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