GUINNESS PRICE GOUGING UPDATE: In our last post, we accused Big Bamboo (132 Nanyang Rd) of having the most expensive draft Guinness in town at RMB70 (their new price, as of a few weeks ago). Apparently that is incorrect. Since then, a Shamrock snout has reported to us that actually the priciest Guinness in Shanghai is somewhere in Xintiandi where they charged RMB88 a pint! Holy Hippopotami! We’d be interested to find out which establishment it is, but we’re not intending to darken their doorstep anytime soon.
TRADER VIC’S R.I.P.: Trader Vic’s and Frankie’s closed down end of last week (see previous post), as did Trader Vics in Beijing (a much more surprising development). We were lucky enough to stumble into a large crowd (a relatively uncommon phenomenon at TV Shanghai) there last Friday, not knowing it was to be the final business night for Trader Vic’s in ‘Shangers.’ This had been our favourite cocktail spot which we’d visited very frequently over the last 13 months. Here’s wishing the expat managers and great staff all the best in finding new employment in the extremely competitive local F&B industry. Hopefully Trader Vics will return to China with a different franchise backer in the not too distant future.
MANEO NAVEL-GAZING: Pier One bit the dust late last year, as did Mint in January. From that little group only Maneo (333 Tongren Rd) remains, but even it recently sacked their rather new GM for under-performance and is now doing a lot of navel-gazing and genuflecting about how to re-invent itself in the rocky restaurant business. With a very romantic, pseudo-Mediterranean environment, a nice bar and lounge area, good food that includes a popular weekend brunch and a solid wine list, let’s hope that Brad and Kylee can see Maneo ride the popularity wave sometime in 2008. Just keep a lid on the prices, will ‘ya? Bottled Heinekens and Carlsbergs at RMB48-50 – Egad!
PENNY PINCHERS AT PENTHOUSE 39: Until very recently, the Penthouse Bar on the 39th floor of the Hilton had been one of our favourite hotel bars in this fair city. Last week, however, when paying the bill, we discovered that for non-hotel guests the first drink is charged at RMB80, no matter whether we’d drunk water, coffee or a beer (we actually had an Erdinger, while our friend had a coffee), with subsequent drinks charged at listed price. However, this discriminative pricing policy was never mentioned to us when ordering, nor was it printed on the drinks menu. On other visits to this bar over the last couple of years, we had never encountered this problem either. During this most recent visit, a weekday evening, the bar was almost deserted with only a few souls enduring the not so dulcid sounds of the not so with-it band. Only a couple of minutes after asking a waitress about my bill problem, we heard a Chinese couple nearby make the same enquiry. If the Hilton would rather just have paying guests in the bar, they’ve adopted the right policy to clear out we riff-raff. Hope they’re happy.
CJ CAFE BAR: Tucked out of harms way in the New Factories area, CJ Cafe Bar (108 Yuyao Rd) has a reasonable happy hour that runs from 2-10pm during which Tiger draft is just RMB15 and RMB20 for small and large ones respectively. Vodka and tonic is also only RMB15. Heard this from a desperate drinking buddy who had been tolerating the crushing boredom in other small Jing An neighbourhood bars. Thanks DC, for the heads up, we’ll check it out soon.
THE BLARNEY STONE BARNEY: One or two readers decided we were being too heavy on the Blarney Stone (5 Dongping Rd) in a previous post. It may surprise them to know that the Blarney has always been one of our favourite night time spots in Shanghai and will continue to be so. Our angst was more stemming from the fact that as a skint journo, not a fat cat expat, our hip pocket was hit rather severely by the new prices. We’re sure if Dave or Paul really had a bone to pick with us, they’d contact us. They’ve known us long enough. Should any other establishment increase prices, we’ll write about them too, you can be assured of that.
Photo from theshanghaieyehttp://flickr.com/photos/theshanghaieye/517867551/.
Winopete is Shanghaiist’s resident drinker. Email tips, recommendations, news and gossip about Shanghai’s bar scene to drink at shanghaiist.com.