After figuring out where we like to eat we thought it would be fun to ask Shanghaiist contributors about their favourite places to drink.
The discussion sparked arguments that are still echoing through the corridors of Shanghaiist HQ, but one thing is clear: we like dive bars and cocktails.
No 183, Lane 1038 Huashan Lu (nr Fuxing Xi Lu)
Cheap drinks, good food, and an incredible house cover band (the ‘Sultans of Swing’). It’s not flashy, but we always enjoy ourselves and can never stop ordering the 10RMB servings of the most addictive french fries in Shanghai.
Beware that if you go before 10pm, the windows look out onto a tennis court and you can get a really unpleasant blast of fluorescent lights before it closes.
Room 103, 1245 Wuding Xi Lu (nr Wanhangdu Lu)
An old Japanese neighborhood Japanese bar with an unusual feel. Hidden in a dark alley with awesome owners who’ll be more than happy to introduce to you their shochu collection.
Good for catching up with friends (just a few though as the place is tiiiny) and pretending you are in Japan. If Reggae music isn’t your thing then don’t worry- they don’t play it so loud that you can’t talk.
685 Dingxi Lu, (nr FaHuaZhen Lu)
It can be hard to find places that are unpretentious and don’t take themselves too seriously in Shanghai but C’s definitely ticks those boxes. It’s cheap and cheerful with great staff and a friendly atmosphere.
We also like the fact that it basically stays open until you decide it’s time to leave and stumble blinking into the morning light.
We have found a little trouble finding friends to go to C’s with us, as it kind of smells and we’ve watched in horror as customers set down an used beer mug (or cocktail glass) on the bar and the waitress dumped the backwash in the sink, refilled it, and handed it to another customer.
Maybe it’s best to order by the bottle.
86 XinLe Lu (nr XiangYang Lu)
Very intimate, Constellation serves the best cocktails in Shanghai, period.
Top notch bartenders and top shelf liquor as far as the eye can see, in a way it’s a glammed up version of Mokkos.
Best not to head there if you are tired as the dim lighting is conducive to sleep (tried and tested).
The Vault @ Laris
3 ZhongShanDong Yi Lu, inside Laris, inside “3 On The Bund”
A real “Scene” place; crowded, hot and a little snobby, but two excellent martinis (white chocolate, mango, raspberry) for 65 RMB on Thursday is hard to ignore.
28 YueYang Lu (nr DongPing Lu)
A dart board, Foosball table, decent bar music (if the right person is in charge of iTunes) and the best beer selection / fish `n’ chips in town (at least until Shanghai gets a chippy ).
The Beaver had most of us convinced, although the cheap wordplay of the name makes some of us cringe every time they walk past the place.
132 Anting Lu (nr Jianguo Xi Lu)
Warm fireplaces in the winter, a cool patio in the summer. Cotton’s is a good all-rounder that it’s all too easy to forget about, despite the good bar food and evil “Chairman Mao” shooters.
181 Jinxian Lu (nr Maoming Lu)
tel: 5228 8323
Sometimes, nothing beats the 60 mL draft Hoegaarden at Bliss which comes in a glass so huge you have to grip with both hands to drink.
It’s 65 RMB but well worth it to get waterboarded by the sweet wheat brew.
2-for-1 happy hour every day, with each day being a different beer (we always pray it’s Stella day and not Budweiser day).
4th Floor 18 ZhongShanDong Yi Lu, (nr Nanjing Dong Lu)
tel: 6323 8399
Super spacious with room to keep to yourself or to mingle by the bar and dance floor. A little pretentious, and another place to go to be seen, but the decor is classy and the music is a good mix.
Makes some of us feel like a ratty-haired version of Colin Farrell in Miami Vice. Which can be fun sometimes.
265 Nandang Lu (nr CaoXi Bei Lu)
tel: 5424 7317
In a cool basement, there’s a dive bar atmosphere but the place is pretty clean. Pool table, darts and gigs / club nights now and again. Harley’s definitely has its own personality, and it’s own unusual drink behind the bar…
Contributors: Andy Best, Jake Newby, Dan Washburn, Wee Ling Soh, Rebekah Pothaar, Eric Hu, Derek Sandhaus