The cocktail: long-derided in the West as the drink of wimps; the supposed tipple of choice for metro-sexual males and, of course, the ubiquitous whistle-wetter of women everywhere. But attitudes towards cocktails in Shenzhen are different. Perhaps it’s the long indolent summers here, or maybe people dupe themselves into thinking that they are somehow providing their bodies with a vitamin boost as they elegantly sip their fifth martini, but in Shenzhen, cocktails are here to stay.
Thankfully, backwards attitudes to relaxing with a cocktail or two haven’t permeated expat society in Shenzhen, and while you might not see a Rangers fan in Glasgow tucking into a post-match mojito, the people of Shenzhen have a love of all things alcoholically fruity. From up-market hotel bars and lounges to local pubs, you can find an excellent cocktail anywhere in Shenzhen. Here are a few great places to go.
1) V-BarView In Map
V-Bar used to be the place to be seen in Shenzhen. In fact, for a long time it was one of the only places where you could go to get a decent cocktail. Today there is much more choice in the city, but V-Bar is still a prime blowout destination for those not on a budget. Cocktails here can be pretty expensive; you can get a decent long island iced tea, but only to the tune of around 70 RMB a pop. But don’t despair! The prices may be extravagant but so are the size and servings of the drinks. The cocktails in V-Bar are certainly worth a try as the bar usually has fantastic live music. However, they still seem to have the strange rule about only sitting at the bar itself after you have purchased a bottle of whisky or vodka. Far better is to sink a few tequila sunrises whilst mingling with the great and good, before heading to somewhere less outrageous.
Add: Crown Plaza Hotel, 9026 Shennan Lu, OCT, Nanshan District, Shenzhen
Tel: 0755 2693 6888
Opening hours: Sun-Thurs, 17:00-03:00; Fri-Sat, 17:00-04:00
2) Lounge 1982View In Map
“Drinks at the Intercon, anyone?” I actually found out about this place because I tried to get into the nearby Galleon, only to be informed that I was far too early but that I could have a drink in the hotel lobby. When I got there I was directed to a cavernous sofa by a polite young woman and handed a cocktail menu. I appreciate that drinking in a hotel lobby, especially if you live in Shenzhen, might not be everyone’s idea of sophistication or of a thigh-slapping good night out, but they do make a superb gin and tonic, and if I remember correctly, a fine margarita too. Also, look out for the celebrated lychee martini. Surprisingly, prices aren’t exorbitant – around 50 RMB for a gin and tonic – so the lobby of the Lounge 1982 might be the ideal place to meet a date without blowing the bank, or you could just throw on a tweed jacket and saunter around the place, bloody mary in hand, like you are someone important.
Add: Intercontinental Hotel, 9009 Shennan Lu, OCT, Nanshan District, Shenzhen
Tel: 0755 3399 3388
Opening hours: 07:00-00:00, daily
3) The PenthouseView In Map
Situated on the 38th floor of the Grand Hyatt in Luohu, The Penthouse has one of the most spectacular views of any up-market bar in Shenzhen. Once you have got over the jaw-dropping views of the splendour of the CBD in Futian District and the rugged New Territories in Hong Kong beyond, you will be taken aback by the sheer height of the ceiling. Equally impressive is the marble-topped bar and well turned-out and knowledgeable staff who are fluent in both English and the expansive cocktail menu. The drinks here are pricey; there is no getting away from that fact, but the sense of luxury and superb presentation and décor may appeal to those who fancy a splurge once in a while. The dry martini is guaranteed to please, exquisitely mixed and presented with just the right number of kalamata olives so as not to overpower. If you are feeling particularly self-indulgent, why not treat yourself to half a dozen raw Washington Bay oysters before gesturing masterfully to the waiter for a top-up.
Add: Grand Hyatt Hotel, 1881 Bao’an Nan Lu, Luohu District, Shenzhen
Tel: 0755 8266 1234
Opening hours: Mon-Fri, 17:00-01:00; Sat-Sun, 17:00-02:00
4) Señor Frog’sView In Map
Despite what you might think, you don’t have to go to expensive hotel bars in Shenzhen to find a decent cocktail. Señor Frog’s in Shekou is an unpretentious locals’ pub where you can get a very reasonably priced frozen margarita and sit outside on the patio and watch the world screech by. If there’s a particular cocktail you fancy, just ask the friendly staff and they will try their best to make it up for you. However, many customers – including myself – are seduced by the swirling actions of the frozen margarita machine perched behind the bar. Señor Frog’s may not have the extravagance of some of the other venues mentioned in this article, but they offer good food and drinks at a reasonable price. In this weather, what more could you ask for?
Add: 57 Wanghai Lu, Rose Garden Phase 2, Shekou, Nanshan District, Shenzhen
Tel: 0755 2667 1155
Opening hours: 06:30-02:00, daily
Now that you are armed with some of the best places to get a cocktail in Shenzhen what are you waiting for? Get out there and get refreshed.
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Keywords: Cocktail bars in Shenzhen great bars Shenzhen best cocktails in Shenzhen
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