The Former French Concession in its heyday during the 1920’s was chock full of exciting bars and shows to titillate throngs of Westerners and locals alike. Even nearly a century later things don’t seem to have changed too much, at least the party scene that is. The city has greatly expanded and everyone has a smart phone but that doesn’t mean we aren’t suckers for nostalgia. O Theatre mixes younger generations need for new, outside-of-the-box concepts and their obsession with all things “roaring 20s.”
Set on the second floor of the cavernous Lyceum Theatre on Maoming Lu, the décor is archetypal Art Deco. Floors set with several different colored stone, steel circular chandeliers, and a long reflective bar top are just some of the highlights in this architecturally aesthetic wonderland. My drinking companion and I were both wowed by the sleek, structural design of the chairs and lounges as well as the interesting contrast of dark interiors and boxes of bright green plants behind the bar.
The menu is full of sophisticated drink choices like a variety of six martinis from classic dirty, and Appletini (made with real apple) to orange marmalade and thyme. There are also the “classic” cocktails but altered by showcasing new textures and tastes. We tried the Smoky Sour (95RMB), a whisky sour with sugar, egg white, bourbon, and lemon, where the bartender uses a handheld smoker to infuse the ice and liquid with the essence of smoke. I thought the drink was expertly mixed and the smoke was strong but nice although there was an aftertaste of butane that was hard to bypass. We also tried the Molecular Kir (85RMB), which is traditionally Champagne mixed with Cassis or Currant flavored liqueur but the twist here is that the Cassis has been transformed into “caviar”. Using a solution of sodium alginate, drops of liquid are submerged and turned into juice-filled pearls. There is also a small menu of eats like smoked salmon and pickled vegetables but the manager promises to have more bar-appropriate bites soon like sliders and fries.
Overall O Theatre hits the mark on ambience, service, and tasty drinks. “Cool” needs no better definition than this venue.
[Photo: O Theater by Javier/Foursquare]
O Theatre – 2/F, 57 Maoming Nan Lu, near Changle Lu, Huangpu District (茂名南路57号2楼, 近长乐路, 黄浦). Tel: 0(21)-6096 -0505. Hours: 6pm-late daily, Closest metro stop: Shaanxi South Road
By Noelle Albert
Noelle Albert is a contributor for the Shanghaiist Food desk. Email tips, recommendations, and news updates to [email protected]!
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