In a Shikumen style alleyway in Jing-An there is a new string of bars and restaurants that is worth a visit.
On Kangding Lu, near the junction of Wuding Lu, the first of these bars is Exit.
A cheap (25 RMB beer, 30-40 mixed drinks) neighbourhood bar, Exit is powered by the personality of owner Sergio who occasionally takes a break from dancing around to MP3s to tell customers about the years he spent making 2.5 million crepes, or when his next batch of Serbian liquor will be smuggled through customs.
Judging by the late-night crowds, Basque restaurant Kuluska needs no introduction to Shanghai’s Spanish community. The full menu is not yet available, so for now Pinchos line the bar. At 15RMB per snack you can reckon on filling up on these tapas-style snacks for around 100-150 per person. On Wednesday night a glass of decent house wine or beer is also 15RMB.
Moving further into the alleyway, Kai Bar is stocking what we reckon must be Shanghai’s biggest selection of beer. The main focus is Belgian, but there are also brews from the US, Australia, Luxembourg and Germany. Although not fully open (oh those soft openings, what would we do without them?) until October 18th, this place is already introducing locals to drinks such as Cuvee van de Keizer Blauw which is only brewed once per year (to celebrate the birthday of Belgian King Charles V, naturally).
By the time a new wine bar from Matt ‘Senses’ Ryan opens next month, this enclave off Kangding Lu looks set to be a charming community, like a boozy Taikang Lu, or XinTianDi with a soul.
All of the places mentioned are in the same alleyway that starts at 522 Kangding Lu, behind Eight Park Avenue. Opening times vary (in fact we’ve yet to stay late enough to see any of the places close).