WINOPETE AT THE RACE TRACK: MELBOURNE CUP DAY PARTIES
“There’s only 50 metres to go and favourite Waikikamukau is two lengths in front of King Witchety Grub, but Son of Pharlap is charging down the outside and takes the race by a nose! What a boilover!”
Where is the only place on the planet where a public holiday is declared because of a horse race? It’s our hometown of Melbourne in the fair land of Oz. As part of Australia’s annual spring racing carnival, the Melbourne Cup is held on the first Tuesday each November, that’s November 6th this year, folks. A public holiday is held in the Melbourne metropolitan area so that everyone can head to their local TAB (i.e. betting agency) to shell out their hard-earned shekels. It is Australia’s most prestigious horse race and is broadcast around the world. Here in Shanghai, the race will be broadcast about midday, so go over to Big Bamboo (main Melbourne Cup party venue) or O’Malleys about 11am to take an early lunch and join in the revelry. Even if you don’t care about the nags, join the party and drink like a fish. It’s probably not often you have an excuse to get pissed at noon on a work day.
BLARNEY BROTHERS AT O’MALLEY’S
Forget Beyonce and listen to some proper music instead. The Blarney Brothers, an Irish band based in Hong Kong, will perform traditional Celtic music with a modern twang at O’Malleys this Tuesday and Wednesday (November 6th and 7th) about 8.30pm. Come and check it out, while downing a pint or two of the black stuff.
AUSSIE AND CANADIAN FRIDAY DRINKS
Every Friday the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai (“AustCham”) holds a drinks function at the Le Royal Meriden Hotel’s 789 Bar from 6.30-9.00pm approximately. Yep, fair dinkum, the Poms, Yanks and everyone else hold their sundowners once a month, but we Aussies need an excuse for a business drink at least once a week. Don’t get me wrong, all are invited, just don’t talk about the rugby, George Bush or Johnnie Howard. Put the ayi on overtime to mind the ankle-biters and other half, then come down for RMB15 Coopers beers, RMB30 wines and join the throng where everyone’s flappin’ their gums. You’ve got kangaroos in the top paddock if you miss this! There’s also a raffle with vino, meat, slabs of beer and more. Go to www.austchamshanghai.com if you reckon I’m comin’ the raw prawn with you. I’m nice to galahs. Anyway, mark your diary.
If the thought of partying with a lot of Ocker Aussies doesn’t flick your ticker, maybe you’d rather join the Canadian shindig. Our Canadian friends hold their monthly drinks function (Canuck Connection) every second Friday of the month, and for November, that ‘s this Friday, November 9th. With mounties and maple leaves they take over Jazz 37, on the 37th floor of the Four Seasons Hotel (500 Weihai Road) from 6.30-9.30pm. Everyone’s invited! House wines, beer and cocktails are RMB30 each. There’s a small RMB20 cover charge for non-members (a similar charge is at the Aussie drinks function too).
TORBRECK WINE TASTING
ASC will hold a tasting of 7 Torbreck wines on November 12th at Jazz 37 (37F, Four Seasons Hotel) from 7-9pm. Torbreck is one of Australia’s best wineries and their wines have been highly rated by Robert Parker. The winery owner and chief winemaker, David Powell, will attend the event to talk about the wines. To reserve your place at the wine tasing, e-mail: susanchen AT asc-wines DOT com. Cost is RMB198.
THE TWO BEST WINE DEALS IN TOWN
As a big wine drinker, it is pleasing to see an increasing number of bars, restaurants, retailers and wholesalers hold wine tastings, wine promos or offer value-for-money wines by the glass. However, two places stand out way ahead of the pack. They are:
(1) Sasha’s (corner of Hengshan and Dongping Roads, 衡山路/东平路), which holds a wine buffet every Friday, when it’s an all-you-can drink deal from a selection of about a dozen wines from 6.30pm-9.00pm for just RMB148. A lot of the wines are drinkable lower end labels, with one or two nasty Nelly’s, but most weeks there are a few roses among the thorns to keep the pickier plonkheads happy (e.g. Pedroncelli 2002 Merlot, Jim Barry 2004 Shiraz). Note, the wine selection changes each week.
(2) American Steak and Eggs (99-3 Xikang Road 西康路, around the corner from Big Bamboo and the Portman) has a very decent Argentinian wine, Signos Shiraz 2005, on special at a paltry RMB15 a glass or RMB65 a bottle! The wine is fresh and there’s no fine print to bite you in the balls. They also have a Signos Chardonnay Chenin Blanc 2006 at the same price, but we haven’t tried it yet. We’ll be writing more about this place very soon. Stay tuned.
ABBEY ROAD ABERRATION
Against our better judgement we thought we’d try Abbey Road, on Yueyang Rd, opposite The Beaver. Run of the mill house grog at average Shanghai prices, plus slow service were what we got, plus being made to wait an incredibly long time when we asked for the jack n’ jill. We miss the old days when Cotton’s was at this location. Even Freelance delivered more than the current bunch of jokers. Speaking of Cotton, her brother, Monty, works here. Cross this place off the list.
DROPS AND DREGS
Shots of Glenfiddich are just RMB20 at C’s Bar (685 Dingxi Rd), the most ‘diviest’ of dive bars in Shanghai. Thanks to CB for the tip-off.
Tam, GM at O’Malleys (42 Taojiang Rd ), has apparently ordered almost 50 different Scotches from a supplier in Scotland, in order to satisfy the local demand for a “wee dram.” Whiskey drinkers, take note.
Motown Bar (3F, 66 Tongren Rd) has their happy hour from 8pm to midnight daily when all beer, whiskey and cocktails are buy one, get one free.
Up the road near Nanjing Xi Lu, below City Diner, the new Blues Room has their happy hour from 6-9pm (note the 9pm finishing time), or from 3pm on weekends (ain’t going to give those Long Bar suckers an even break). This place looks rather uninspiring to me, so I have not gone in yet.
For you Pudongers, try the Dolphin Bar on the NE corner of the Zhangyang Road and Songlin Road intersection. We haven’t been there for a while, but it used to be OK. Very local though.
Until next time, Happy Drinking!
Winopete is Shanghaiist’s resident drunkard. Email tips, recommendations, news and gossip about Shanghai’s bar scene to drink AT shanghaiist DOT com. All view expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Shanghaiist.