Shanghai’s infamous Yongkang Road — known for its (often noisy) bars filled with expats — does not look to be long for this world.
After years of receiving complaints from residents living above the bars, the governor of Xuhui District, Bao Bingzhang, has finally decided to do something about it, vowing to shut the noisy street down this month, arguing that the noise level is too high and the traffic too chaotic for a supposed “residential street.”
“The bars along Yongkang Road must be removed, especially those near schools since the government never gave any permission to run bar business along the road,” Bao told Xinmin Evening News via That’s Shanghai.
Up until 2010, Yongkang Road featured an ordinary wet market, but this was shut down in an effort to improve the neighborhood for residents. However, things did not go quite as planned. Since 2010, roughly 70 bars have opened on the street.
The majority of the buildings along the road are more than 70 years old, and not structurally sound enough to house a large mass of party-goers. Bao said that some of the bar owners have even altered the structure of the three-story residential buildings, which poses further risks to the safety of the structures.
The street is mainly populated by elderly tenants, who are sick and tired of the disruptive partying. One resident claimed that the music was unbearably loud, to the point that it made her floorboards shake. Several residents also mentioned the annoying constant honking of car horns and the minor quarrels that break out on the street.
“The bars play loud music till well after midnight. Drunk customers sing and dance on the road which is a nuisance,” a resident told Shanghai Daily.
Yongkang Road has received negative attention in the past. Back in 2013, the street gained international attention when a few pissed off residents poured scalding hot water over the heads of drunken bar-hoppers. This argument led to an agreement between residents and venue owners that the bars would close down by 10 p.m. each night… an agreement which has obviously not been honored.
Bao stated that the city will begin taking action to transition Yongkang Road from a famed party street back into the quiet residential area it was always intended to be. Via That’s Shanghai:
Commercial construction is not supposed to be destroying building structures, so starting this July… 10 streets are being put under new regulations. Both Yongkang Lu and Jiashan Lu will be included in comprehensive renovations, which will require owners to recover original house structures, adjust or cancel street businesses, as well as stopping alcohol businesses.
While residents are overjoyed to hear that the bars of Yongkang Lu have been placed on the chopping block, bar-hoppers have been left in disbelief. Some consider Yongkang to be a favorite haunt of theirs, while others have maybe only endured a night or two of good fun, but in the end we’re all a little nostalgic to see it go.
[UPDATE: 4 p.m.] It seems that rumors of Yongkang Lu’s demise may have been somewhat exaggerated. That’s Shanghai talked to one owner who had this to say:
Many of the venues on the street are correctly and fully licensed, and for those venues we are not expecting to see big changes. The other venues on the street that lack the proper licenses, which would be 50-60 percent, will be shut down within a month.