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A Guide to the Top 20 Bars in Shanghai

05/11/2018

Shanghai is one of the topnotch destinations of the world when it comes to bars and nightlife. Here is a small guide to top 20 bars of Shanghai.

When it comes to bars, clubs and nightlife, Shanghai is one of the hottest destinations in the world. There are speakeasies, craft cocktail bars, rooftop lounges with jaw-dropping 360-degree panorama views of the Shanghai skyline, and plenty of laidback lounges stylishly appointed by world-famous designers. Here’s a look at the Top 20 bars in Shanghai…

VUE Bar

Located on top of the Hyatt on the Bund, VUE Bar offers amazing views of the scenic Huangpu River as well as the Shanghai skyline. There are two levels at VUE – the lower level, filled with wine rack walls, and the upper level, with Jacuzzis and whirlpools. It’s a place to see and be seen, and you’re doing it all at a rooftop sky bar.

B.A.T.S.

If VUE Bar takes you high up in the Shanghai sky, then B.A.T.S. takes you below ground, to the basement of the Shangri-La Hotel. The name and décor of the bar are inspired by a similar location in Jakarta, Indonesia. It’s an exotic milieu, made all the more exotic by a Western-style electronic bucking bull in the corner of the bar.

Flair Bar

On top of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, located 58 floors above the ground, you’ll a stylish clientele enjoying amazing views, delicious Asian tapas and a stunning décor created by a Japanese celebrity designer. Flair is generally considered to be the highest rooftop bar in the city, with the distinctive Pearl Tower tantalizingly within reach.

100 Century Avenue Lounge

This is one of the highest sky top bars in the world, but the surrounding views are not the only stunning aspect of Century Avenue. The bar is split into two different sides, each with its own stylish décor.

Long Bar

A stunning tribute to the Waldorf-Astoria of a century ago, the Long Bar has been painstakingly designed with leather and wood to look exactly as it might have back in the 1920s when it functioned as a British men’s club. Even today, patrons are encouraged to try out premium Cuban cigars, as British gentlemen might have done nearly 100 years ago.

El Coctel

As craft cocktails and the art of mixology become more popular within Shanghai, El Coctel has earned a reputation as one of the key places to go if you want a professionally made cocktail or bespoke mixed drink, all of which are made with the finest, top-shelf liquor. For a classy night out on the town, or if you simply appreciate a well-made cocktail, El Coctel is worth a visit.

Judy’s Too

This lounge featuring soft background music has transformed into much more than just a watering hole for those looking to chill out – it has also become a place to spot celebrities, musicians, artists and scene makers, not to mention a fair share of international tourists.

Cloud 9

Located on top of the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Cloud 9 offers sweeping views of the city, combined with a stylish décor of mirrors and steel. Sparkling wine is a speciality of the house, and it’s not uncommon to see fashionable influencers drinking champagne and sparkling wine, while also enjoying a delicious array of Northeast Asian snacks.

Kartel

The French Concession in Shanghai is home to this casual French wine bar. Kartel has earned a reputation as a great place to enjoy a summertime happy hour, all while enjoying a trip back in time to Shanghai’s colonial past.

Captain’s Bar

If there is one bar beloved by backpackers in Shanghai, it is the Captain’s Bar, located on the rooftop of the Captain Hotel. It’s cheap, but also filled with a lot of character. It’s located on the Bund, surrounded by wonderful British colonial-style buildings.

Cotton Club

Yes, there’s an American-style jazz lounge in Shanghai, and this one comes with an American owner and an all-American house band. It’s a favorite hangout for celebrities and music lovers, and everyone will love the music-themed décor (such as the John Coltrane posters). Cotton Club has the best jazz music in Shanghai.

JZ Latino

This is another jazz bar that also comes with a rooftop. It’s located on the top floor of the Renaissance Shanghai Yu Garden Hotel. From the roof, it’s possible to enjoy a well-made cocktail as well as impressive views of old Shanghai lane houses.

Speak Low

Owned by renowned Japanese bartender Shingo Gokan, this multi-storey bar routinely makes the list of not just the top bars in Shanghai, but also the world. In 2017, Speak Low ranked as one of The World’s 50 Best Bars. Speak Low is a Japanese-style speakeasy with plenty of quirks, such as a hidden entrance within a nondescript bar tools shop. Many people pass by, not even realizing what is hidden within.

El Ocho

This is an intimate craft cocktail bar. While the bartenders are more than happy to pour Western premium spirits, the house speciality is actually homemade Eastern spice cocktails that pack plenty of flavours.

Flask

This is another popular speakeasy with a hard-to-find entrance: try finding the vintage Coca-Cola machine in the corner of a sandwich storefront.

Senator Saloon

This is an American-style Prohibition Era speakeasy, famous for its bourbon cocktails.

Starling

Stylishly designed as a Colonial Era Southeast Asian cocktail bar, it is most similar to Singapore’s famous Raffles Long Bar.

The Nest

This is an example of what happens when a stylish cocktail bar meets an equally stylish gastro lounge. The Nest is remarkably unpretentious, though, with plenty of mood music and attention-getting light fixtures.

The Tailor Bar

At this fashionable Shanghai speakeasy, one of the main attractions is celebrity bartender Eddie Yang. It’s located on the fourth floor of a building above a pharmacy, so make sure you know the address before you go.

Wishbone 2

If you want to hang out with Shanghai hipsters, try this modest, hole-in-the-wall bar, where plenty of young millennials are enjoying craft cocktails with, yes, rotisserie chicken.

At any of these 20 stylish bar destinations, you’ll see first-hand Shanghai’s vibrant bar culture in action, and will certainly walk away with a much greater appreciation of how some of the city’s top nightspots effortlessly merge the history and culture of both East and West into a very compelling nightlife experience.

 

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