Shanghaiist read about The Den in the English mags and websites, and from the description it seemed decent — a chill place which is a bar, lounge and massage parlor combined. What’s more, Brad Prichard plays indie rock on Tuesday nights — so we headed out there to see what it was all about. It’s hard to be picky about the location, which although is by no means far away, but seems a bit out of the way in that there is nothing else around there, save a Bi Feng Tang and the like.
However, we took a liking to the place for its decor and atmosphere. Lots of crushed velvet and black, couple of widescreen TVs. It’s actually rather small, and when there are not many people (as was the case on Tuesday night) everyone gravitates towards one side. It suits a certian misanthrope quite well — crowds overwhelm us, especially when we are trying to get to the bar.
The drinks are normally priced around 25 RMB and on Tuesday nights they go down to about 20 for gin and tonics and certain beers. Why are gin and tonics favored over other drinks? Because Brad likes them, of course. Luckily, so do we.
Oh, and the music — indie rock. Art Brut, the Futureheads, The Decemberists, The Thermals, Guided By Voices, Broken Social Scene, Magnetic Fields, Modest Mouse, Dead Kennedys, Be Your Own PET, Heartless Bastards, Elvis Costello, Frank Sinatra, and Marvin Gaye. We don’t know if Brad would be open to suggestions about future playlists, but we do know that he actively looks for new stuff for each Tuesday.
As mentioned in all the blurbs about this place, there is a massage parlor on the second floor, and we tried the 58 RMB foot massage. The place was nice, clean, legit, had a TV, etc. The service was decent as well — we had a nice chat with our masseuse while watching Guan Hu’s TV series about migrant workers.
When all is said and done, The Den is a nice place, and if we lived around there, it would sure as hell be our
second home neighborhood bar. Maybe it was just the mood we were in on Tuesday, but it seemed like a good place to unwind. Most of the time when people go out it’s to engage — with the people you go with or meet, or the place itself. The Den, on the other hand, is a good place to disengage — you can watch TV, listen to other people’s conversations, and in general, zone out of life for awhile — our definition of a good bar.
The Den, 527 Xujiahui Lu, near Luban Lu. 徐家汇路537号，近鲁班路. Tel: 6305-7079.