Although, Shanghai’s No. 1 fruit fly is usually up for a night of loud music and cheek-to-cheek dancing with a crowd of gay men, lately work has been grueling and we lack the energy required to compete for space on a podium at Club Deep (trust me … as one of the only women in the club we still have to elbow our way through a bunch of other shameless exhibitionists). These days, we have been in search of a quiet oasis where we can hear our friends talk and are not
entertained distracted by the meat market going on around us.
Thankfully, a new chill bar has arrived on the scene, Frangipani Bar and Cafe, which is perfectly in-tune with Shanghaiist’s stamina level. When a review in a local magazine referred to it as a gay-friendly establishment, we contemplated writing to the editor and suggesting a correction to “heterosexual-friendly bar”, but in a government-controlled media environment like China, we pick and choose our battles carefully.
Despite, the industrial, futuristic décor, Frangipani’s environment is right out of the 1980s TV series, Cheers. The theme song goes as follows:
Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.
Wouldn’t you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name,
and they’re always glad you came. … You wanna be where everybody knows your name.
The lyrics offer a perfect description of the latest addition to the gay entertainment community. The first time we visited Frangipani was for a friend’s impromptu birthday drinks and since then the friendly waitstaff and owners have greeted us by name every time we have been back. (Full-disclosure: We did end up staying at the bar until 3 am on a weekday that night so maybe the real reason they know our name is because they were cursing us under their breath until the wee hours of the morning).
Regardless, the environment at Frangipani can be described as laid-back and mixed with expats and locals, and it always has some seating available (unlike Eddy’s where we’ve never been able to sit down). It even has comfy couches on the second floor for big groups or amorous couples. The only drawback to the bar is the large screen TV that constantly shows catwalk fashion models, movies, or HBO reruns. Reading subtitles to Queer as Folk, the gay equivalent to Sex and the City, can put a bit of a damper on the conversation flow even with liquid lubricants.
However, all is forgiven, when one compares Frangipani with other gay bars’ bathrooms in Shanghai. The restrooms are immaculate, unusual (a drunken blunder into a men’s room resulted in a confused Shanghiist discovering a waterfall-like urinal), and pleasant-smelling. Not an easy task to accomplish in a city where the majority of people prefer to squat (on top of the toilet seat) and used paper goes into the wastebasket instead of getting flushed.
In summary, Frangipani is a great alternative to the established, status-quo gay bars in Shanghai and we recommend checking it out!
Weekly specials at Frangipani include:
Mon: Wine night, something we like to call “Tiffany’s special night” (All wines buy 1 get 1 free)
Tues: Lesbian’s/Lady’s night (Buy 1 get 1 free for all standard drinks) We wonder if drag queens are also given a discount
Wed: White collar night (same deal as Tuesday)
Thurs: All-you-can-drink (RMB 100/person)
Fri & Sat : Absolut vodka 400/bottle, 30/glass
In other (disappointing) brief gay news:
- It seems that Mint’s gay and glorious night may have already fizzled after less than two months. The crowd is growing smaller each week and Mint is promoting a networking mixer for Thursday, September 14th. Time will tell … and Shanghaiist will keep you posted!
- Club Deep’s parties, like the “Boys with Toys” one we mentioned a couple of weeks ago, are receiving poor reviews. Patrons complain they have to pay double the normal cover charge and that the club milieu is just like any other typical weekend night. We say bring back the R&G parties which were debaucherous affairs that were always packed and worth the money!
FRANGIPANI Bar & Cafe, 399 Dagu Lu (near Shimen Yi Lu). 上海市大沽路399号(近石门一路). Tel: 53750084.