We’re sure there are other members only bars in Shanghai, but they would actually require memberships for you to enter. Not Southern Cross, at 1276 Huaihai Zhong Lu, not too far from Huating Lu and across the street from the No. 2 entrance for the Changshu Lu metro stop. The sign outside says “Member’s Bar” and the door is locked. But all you need to do is knock on the door and pay 50 kuai to become a “member” for the evening. Here’s what their photocopied “Membership Table” says:
Southern cross is a member’s bar. We pride ourselves in upholding the highest levels of service, quality and exclusivity for our members.
In order to provide a comfortable and intimate environment, we will pick up every new member with great care.
We need a period of time to make the membership card. So during this time, customers can use the door bell. Our staff will try their best to provide you with our service.
Each card costs 200RMB. And if you lost it, then you need another 100RMB for the new one.
And yes, that is 200 kuai for a lifetime membership. We asked — three times. What is the place like? Well, it’s kind of interesting, if you find drinking in someone’s living room interesting. It definitely is the kind of place you have to know to be able to find it. It would be easy to walk past the gate and the lane that lead to the locked door. So perhaps you could impress your friends by introducing them to this hidden bar. Once they get inside, it may be harder to keep them impressed, however. Southern Cross is charming in an odd way. Imagine if your grandparents decided to rip out the Lay-Z-Boy and the Barcalounger and the entertainment console and put in a big blue-lit bar, along with two young Chinese guys wearing tuxedo tops, khakis and sneakers. There was also a big flat-screen TV playing DVDs of live performances from B.B. King and Ella Fitzgerald, which was kind of cool.
The place is tiny. One main room with the bar and a couch, another smaller sunken room with a couch off the entrance. The bar is well stocked and the bartenders know how to mix a drink. They even serve their whiskey with one big-ass ice ball which is how some aficionados say it should be served. But drinks aren’t cheap (50-60 kuai, not including the 50 kuai
bribe per person table fee), it didn’t feel like a place to be seen (zero other customers on Friday night, although we are told they are popular with the Japanese) and it’s not particularly exclusive-feeling (seriously, think grandma’s apartment with a bar and black lights).
This does make us think of an idea for a party, though — free entry to anyone wearing a Members Only jacket. Wonder if they’ll make you one of those at the fabric market.
Southern Cross, 1276 Huaihai Zhong Lu, Tel: 54047211