From the same minds who brought Sanfaina, the modern gastro “resto” by Franki Fernandez comes a new bar that strives to channel the traditional European drinking culture while at the same time challenging how a bar like that might be set up. The vast menu covers your standard drink selection as well as some interesting twists.
The entrance is set off of the street partially concealed by an alleyway; from the street the large glass window reads Samfaina, the name of the restaurant upstairs but the entire first floor is dedicated to the bar. The area itself is on the smaller side seating-wise, with only a few two or three chair tables. The bar could seat probably ten but if barstools aren’t your favorite you could be a bit uncomfortable. The high ceilings and ample lighting do provide some much needed atmosphere, as does the custom wallpaper. True to Spanish tastes the decals are flirty yet conceptual, and just a tad on the strange side. My favorite is one of a woman taking a giant fish out of the oven, but instead of a tail the fish now has a pair of shapely legs. It makes for some good food (or drink) for thought.
The drinks and liquors are split up into different sections labeled under either types of alcohol like gin, tequila, etc. or by when they should be drunk. For example, aperitifs come before the meal to stimulate your appetite and get you ready for the food to come. Digestifs follow the meal to settle the stomach, and this being a Spanish bar they have the traditional favorites like Orujo (45/75RMB), a local spirit that really packs a punch. They have cocktails as well, including classics like whiskey sours and martinis (75 and 65RMB) along with some interesting choices like Pu-Er tea with rum and citrus – although they were out of the tea at the time I reviewed this. They also offer the designated driver some tasty choices so they aren’t left out of the fun.
Overall, they have some exciting options to choose from and paired with the restaurant upstairs, it’s shaping up to be a winning combination.
Bar Sifon – 532 Fuxing Zhong Lu, near Ruijin Lu, (复兴中路532号). Tel: 0(21)-5352-1361. Hours: 11am-1:30am, Tues-Sun. Closest metro stop: Xintiandi, Line 10.
See a complete list of our bar reviews here.
By Noelle Albert
Noelle Albert is a contributor for the Shanghaiist Food desk. Email tips, recommendations, and news updates to [email protected]!