So, perhaps officials were a little ambitious trying to shut down all of Shanghai’s most infamous bar street by the end of July. But, yesterday, the Xuhui District government confirmed rumors that over 70 bars on Yongkang Lu will be shut down by the end of October.
Liu Haisheng, head of the newly-established Yongkang Rd improvement team, said that these 70 odd bars are being shut down because they are unlicensed and occupy illegal structures. “They will be shut down by the end of October,” Liu vowed.
70 unlicensed bars is a pretty serious number considering that there are just over 90 bars and restaurants on Yongkang Lu. According to Shanghai Daily, the remaining 20 or so establishments have licenses and will be permitted to stay open as long as they close down before 10:00 p.m. each night to avoid disturbing elderly residents who live nearby.
“All the illegal businesses will be turned into boutiques, chain stores, and apartments,” Liu added, “Law enforcement officers with the district’s urban management team and police authorities will patrol the road to ensure bars do not move tables onto the street or remain open after 10 p.m. The moves are going to greatly improve the environment of the street.”
Is this the end for Yongkang Lu?
The crackdown on the bar strip on Yongkang Road is mainly due to the increasing number of noise complaints from locals, as well as clashes between customers and residents in the recent years. 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 after midnight. This argument led to a familiar 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… until now?
A number of businesses in the former French Concession were shuttered in May after the new Xuhui Cultural and Historical Preservation act was enacted. However, the bar and restaurant businesses gradually crept back in over the last few months. Xuhui authorities decided to take action in July as the governor of Xuhui told the media, “The bars along Yongkang Rd must be removed, especially the ones near schools. The government never gave any permission to run bar businesses on that road.”
So if YKL is your favorite chillin’ spot in Shanghai, looks like you may have only 3 more months to make the most out of it.