Shanghai has an ephemeral nature: with the breakneck pace of modernization, it seems like the city is a little bit different every day, changing right under our noses. With all that constant progress comes an ever changing cast of cultural venues: every year, we find our favorite places to rest and relax going the way of the collective farm, only to be replaced with entirely new and fascinating ones that catch our attention. We spend a lot of our time exploring the great things our city has to offer, especially the ones that serve us alcohol: to top off our year of intrepid boozing, here’s a list of our favorite new bars, clubs and lounges that have popped up over the past year.
5. Gosney & Kallman’s Chinatown
With China’s ever-increasing censorship, we were shocked to hear that a burlesque was on the list of prominent openings of 2009. Having been to a number of seedy vaudevillian clubs in the States, we were piqued by G&K’s decision to give burlesque a go in Shanghai. And though Chinatown is notably tamer than their western counterparts, we were thrilled by what it had to offer: a great bar with signature cocktails at reasonable prices, a theatrical setting with the ambiance of a speakeasy in the Republican era, and a captivating show that manages to be scintillating without too much scandal.
471 Zhapu Lu, near Haining Lu in Hongkou District. 乍浦路471号近海宁路
4. Boxing Cat Brewery
We spend a lot of time on Fuxing lu, and Boxing Cat has quickly become one of our preferred places for drinks in the area. Granted, Boxing Cat has been around on Jinfeng Lu for a while, but the new location makes it a perfect spot for your editors to catch a round after work. Plus, it’s got all the wonderful qualities that we love about brew houses: great selections, great settings, and of course, the 12-beers-in-two-hours challenge. Finally, the fact that we had a patriotically good time at our Independence Day party only makes us love the place more.
82 Fuxing Xi Lu near Yongfu Lu in Xuhui District 复兴西路82号进永福路
Hip, low key bars playing good music tend to draw our attention, and Dada is exactly that: after going to LoGo so many times, we appreciate having a laid back version. We appreciate their cheap drinks and intimate surroundings, and with cultural events like the monthly Shanghai Photographer Night, we can see ourselves spending a lot of time here in the years to come.
115 Xingfu Lu, between Fahuazhen Lu and Pingwu Lu in Changning District, 幸福路115号进法华镇路
2. The Rhumerie Bounty
We’ve made no apologies about our love of pirates, and an affinity for rum is just par for the course for plunderphiles like ourselves. Throw in the kitschy pirate themed setting, replete with barrels for tables and pirate hats, and you have a Shanghaiist-approved winning combination. Although swashbuckling ain’t easy, the Rhumerie does make it at least a little more accessible for the land loving crowd, and we appreciate them for it.
550 Wuding Lu, near Xikang Lu in Jing’an District 武定路550号， 近西康路
1. Not Me
It’s no surprise that Not Me rounds out our list: after all, we’ve been excited since we first heard about it. And besides the fact that not me plays awesomely danceable music from all over the Indie/Electro/Dance genres, their cheap drinks and intriguingly modern/futuristic interior design lend the place an air of intimate debauchery that most divey bars can only aspire towards. And let’s not forget about our awesome Halloween party…er, since our memories are actually a bit hazy, let’s not forget about the pictures from our awesome Halloween party.
Not Me, 21 Dong Ping Lu near Hengshan Lu in Xuhui District, 东平路21号近衡山路
Photo by Jeremy Breningstall