This new bar seems to be waiting for its kickstart, but once it gets going, it could be a really chill first stop for an evening on the town with some colleagues or ‘the gals’. Coffee store by day, bar by night, the decor is a unique mix of hang out and night out. The drinks are fun, the service is good, the ambiance nice. The only thing missing: the people.
Decor and service
Red Corner is a coffee shop by day, bar by night, and you can tell by the decor that it is a mix of two very different environments. During the day, the comfy couch/table that consumes most of the floor would be a great place to sit and get some work done over a cuppa. With it’s big red (surprise, surprise) pillows and hefty wooden table, it’s the perfect spot to work on that paper that just doesn’t seem to be getting written. And if massive paintings of horses get you in the studying mode, then this is the place to be. As day turns to night, the atmosphere shifts towards a more bar-vibe with dim lighting coming from settings that could be found in a dungeon. Charlie Chaplin movies are projected near the bar onto the wall. And the main feature – the wide variety of hard liquor offered at Red Corner – is showcased by being bathed in a night orange light.
The service was top-notch at the bar. The dynamic duo that was serving us that night was more than happy to chat and ask us about what we were doing in Shanghai. Since there wasn’t much buzz at the bar, they were able to really help in any way we found necessary. Drinks were delivered promptly, service related questions answered demurely and with a smile, and the left over glasses cleared away with speed.
The vast number of drink options is a definite draw for the Red Corner, even if the prices are a little bit on the “gui” side for cheap skates like myself. The mixed drinks are fun, with options like the cheaper Moscow Mule – ginger infused vodka, lemon juice and ginger ale (58RMB) – to the more expensive Aviation – gin, lemon juice, marschino, vuilette, grand marnier (78RMB.) From the 17 options for mixed drinks to the 18 options for single malt drinks, the options are never ending. The Glenfiddich 12 goes for 65 RMB while the much more expensive Macallan 18 goes for 160 per glass. The hard liquor is also flowing freely, with eight options of whiskey coming in at 55-65 RMB a glass, 5 options of bourbon for 45-60RMB each, and one rye selection for 70 RMB.
For those looking for some plain old wine and beer, have no fear, the selection is equally as plentiful. While wine can only be served by bottle which is a definite bummer, the prices are reasonable. A bottle of red will cost you 260-360 RMB, with the Lott Manor Shirazs Sauvignon going for 260 RMB and the Swan Bay Sauvignon and Rand Manor Sauvignon ringing in at 360 a pop. Beer goes for 25-50 RMB per glass. Soft drinks are available for those not wanting to drink that evening, with a ginger ale coming to 20 RMB a glass.
While food is not the focus of the bar, they do have a few unique noms to munch on over your costly drink. For those who love wasabi flavored anything, this will be your heaven – wasabi caviar goes for 28 RMB and a plethora of other wasabi covered snack concoctions.
Located on the corner of Dagu Lu and Chengdu Bei Lu, this new bar is in a central location for a night around Jing’An and People’s Square. Yet, it seems that the traffic and buzz around Red Corner has not quite hit Shanghai yet, making for a rather quiet evening affair at this location. The decor was quite cool, the service speedy, and the atmosphere interesting – here’s to hoping other Shanghai locals and expats come to know this place so it can keep the corner of Dagu Lu red a little while longer.
By Charlotte Evans
117 Chengdu Bei Lu, near Dagu Lu, Jing’an District, 成都北路117号, 近大沽路 Tel: (0)21-3117-9694. Hours: 11am-2am daily.
See a complete list of our bar reviews here.
Charlotte Evans is a contributor to Shanghaiist’s Food Section.
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