For booze and views, Shanghai’s got it all. Is it the world’s roof bar capital? Maybe. It’s not being left behind in the craft beer movement which is sweeping the world, with the taps being turned on with some exotic brews such as IPAs from different Chinese cities. It’s not just about Tsingtao anymore.
1. VUE Bar
Sitting atop the Hyatt, many say this is the best view at night, with Puxi and Pudong views. DJs spin discs, the crowd is fashionable, some even take a playful plunge in the hot tub. Weather permitting, go the open-air option, and lounge on a day bed.
2. Daga Brewpub
A new neighbourhood bar at 100 Fuxing Lu with huge number of small craft brews from Beijing, Chengdu, Nanjing, etc. They’ll let you taste these until you choose the one you like. Industrial chic vibe, with techno soundtrack. Can eat here or just warm up for elsewhere.
A really slick and stylish cocktail bar, occupying a corner unit at 570 Yongjia Rd. The management has a good pedigree. You won’t find a dizzying array of a million choices, they specialize more in the recognizable classics, and they serve them just right.
4. Captain’s Bar
Nautical but nice, you’ll find an interesting mix of locals and expats in these casual surroundings, enjoying the splendid views but without the dressy pretense (and expense) of being in a 5-star bar. Views through and over the Bund here at 37 Fuzhou Lu to the Pudong skyline.
5. Jazz Bar at Fairmont Peace Hotel
This is Shanghai’s equivalent of having a Singapore Sling at Raffles. The band’s average age is nearing 80 now, but they still trot out the tunes nightly from 7.30pm evoking a charming yesteryear feeling and classic Shanghai ambience to an appreciative audience.
6. Bar Rouge
See the local jet-set and hard-partying expats at play, while dancing and taking in views across to Puxi. Ladies night on Thursday scores you free cocktails and even a manicure. It’s a late starter and very late finisher. 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu.
There’s any number of reasons to like this quirky little Japanese bar, hidden down Lane 1245 Wuding Xi Lu. You’ll be charmed by the couple who run this small joint. Surprises galore: is that reggae music playing? Wow, now they broke out the instruments and started jamming.
8. Speak Low
The Prohibition-style speakeasy scene has caught on big. This one is found behind a book case in a supplies store at 579 Fuxing Zhong Lu! Refined atmosphere where English Mules slip down way too easily. Another secret room awaits behind a world map upstairs, and there’s allegedly a 3rd room.
9. Yonkang Lu
Just want to crawl your way down a great bar street and see what takes your fancy? Lively French, Cuban, and English style cafes, bars and pubs. One downside: it finishes at 10pm because it’s actually a residential street and the locals don’t like noisy stragglers.
For that morning after pick-me-up, here’s a great coffee tip. Head to Sumerian at 415 Shaanxi Bei Lu for a laid-back California-meets-China earthy vibe. Beans are roasted right there in front of you, and cupping classes are staged weekend mornings. Freshest beans in all of China.