Welcome to Shanghai
Pearl of the Orient and Whore of the East, Shanghai has been dragged through an incredibly chequered past of invasions and occupations. This created a wild city of opium dens, underground gambling joints, brothels, gangsters and decadence, all brought to an abrupt end by the suffocating grip of Communist rule in the late 1940s. But, Shanghai is staggering from the shadows once more. The honorary capital of China has that old glint in her eye again. To get a flavour of the city take a Huangpu river trip for great views of the Bund, which was Shanghai's thriving Wall Street in the 30's, or visit the lively Frenchtown area for great food, shopping and nightlife. The stunning Shanghai Museum and incredible, gravity-defying Huzhou Pagoda, which beats the tower of Pisa in the leaning stakes, are also well worth a visit.
Bars and Restaurants
2/F, 47 Yongfu Lu, Shanghai.
Telephone:El Coctel is a bar of considerable pedigree, a union between Munenori Harada, one of Japan’s top bartenders, and local bar star Tree Mao, formerly of Laris; the drinks here are truly top level. Recreating recipes from the golden age of the cocktail, the bar serves classic drinks with no detail overlooked (try the el Coctel Cosmo, made from a recipe dating back to the 1930s). The whole process is an exercise in elegance and a pleasure to watch. The bar itself is a comfortable and sophisticated space with attractively mismatched furniture and food care of sister restaurant el Willy. The atmosphere is not nearly as reverential as some Tokyo temples to the cocktail and the place has a gratifyingly warm buzz about it.
Jade on 36
3 Fu Cheng Road, Shanghai.
Telephone: (86-21) 6882-8888On the 36th floor of the Shangri-La hotel in Lujiazui, the best assets of Jade on 36 are its stunning panoramic views of the Bund, which are especially glorious at night. The drinks come a close second though; a cocktail here won't be cheap but such a glamorous setting is worth shelling out for. The Adam Tihany-designed space is also pretty striking, dramatic, modern and dotted with unusual Chinese artefacts, though the adjacent dining room does rather bump you back down to earth with its generic international hotel feel. Food, by renowned chef Paul Pairet, is globally-inspired, innovative stuff, if sometimes a bit too out there (coca-cola pasta anyone?) and the crowd tends towards the mature and moneyed.
Three On The Bund, 3 Zhong Shan Dong Yi Rd, Shanghai, 200002.
Telephone: 86-21-6323-3355Laris is part of the ridiculously swish Three on the Bund complex. The building is also home to several exclusive boutiques as well as Jean Georges Vongerichten's Shanghai outpost. The white marble bedecked Laris boasts a superb restaurant, a chocolate room - and the Vault bar, a swanky cocktail lounge. The bartenders are disciples of Molecular Mixology and their drinks are cutting edge creations - unlikely marriages of unexpected flavours that come together in perfect alchemy - drinks you won't easily forget. How about a Cracked Pepper and Grilled Pineapple Jellied Martini? Or a Grapefruit Lemonade with Elderflower and Dom Perignon Foam? For the less adventurous all the classics are present and correct
1/F, 913 Julu Lu, Shanghai.
Telephone: 5403 2976
If it’s the excitement and decadence of Shanghai you want to experience then the city’s Velvet Lounge is the place to be. The former Casanova Restaurant has transformed itself into an elegant and atmospheric lounge bar which attracts a curious and diverse mix of locals; important businessmen, local hipsters and underground musicians are likely to mingle here among the warm red and black décor with a generous helping of Western tourists (mostly Europeans). The prices here are relatively moderate and the weekend music programme is mostly made up of house music courtesy of the guest DJs.
88 Century Boulevard Jin Mao Tower - 88 Century Boulevard, Shanghai, 200121.
Telephone: +86 21 5049 1234The world's tallest hotel, the ultra-modern Grand Hyatt, also happens to house Shanghai's chicest bars. There's the sleek and intimate Piano Bar on the 53rd floor, and the spectacular Patio Bar on the 56th floor, but nothing compares to the appropriately named Cloud 9, up amongst the cumulonimbus of the 87th floor - the highest bar in the world. See the city below in its 360 degree splendour, a popular vantage point it seems for romancing Chinese couples who have the cash. Westerners tend to take their tall drinks up to the Sky Lounge one floor up where you can sit on the deck and gaze out on the curve of the earth. One anomaly: Cloud 9 is not easy to find - some obscure interior design law of the hotel means that they don't mark out how to get to it. Use the lift and let the discreet waiters at the top show you the rest of the way.
32/F West Tower, 199 Huangpu Road, Shanghai.
One of my favorite +1Spread across the 32nd and 33rd floors of the Shanghai Hyatt’s West Tower, Vue Bar boasts (predictably, given the name) stunning view of the Bund and a pretty relaxed vibe. The best seats are by the Jacuzzi on the terrace, but the day beds are pretty cool too, ideal for kicking back and surveying the urban sprawl like a minor deity. Cocktails are quality creations, though their prices are very much in line with the location. In warmer weather you can even don a bikini and take a dip in said Jacuzzi, which we’re sure you’ll agree is pretty damn cool.
The Glamour Bar
7 20 Guangdong Lu Corner of the Bund, Shanghai, 200002.
Telephone: 00 86 21 6350 9988
18 Zhong Shan Dong Yi Road, Shanghai.
Telephone: 21 6339 1199In the cocktail of life, Bar Rouge is an essential ingredient. Located in the hip Bund district of Shanghai, its striking decor - a winning combination of supercool 21st Century design and traditional Chinese decor - makes it a must for any dedicated follower of fashion. Thanks to its perfectly mixed cocktails (the peppered vodkas deserve honorable mention) Bar Rouge is the place to see and to be seen. And because of its terrace, you can look out in style on Shanghai's space-age skyline, which, like some enormous graph, seems to represent the extraordinary speed with which China is growing.
318 Fuzhou Road, 24th Floor
M1NT Club and Cocktail Lounge is Shanghais premium entertainment venue located on the 24th floor it has 360 degree views of the Pudong skyline as well as the Bund and People Square. M1NT consists of a fusion grill restaurant, a cocktail lounge, a night club and a roof top terrace. Having received all of the major industry awards including, Best Restaurant, Best Cocktails, Best Club and Best Design in 2010 M1NT has set the benchmark in the world’s most populated and fastest growing city. Regularly hosting international DJ’s and major international luxury brand events including Ferrari, Jimmy Choo, Lamborghini, Diesel, Porsche and Shanghai Film Festival, there is always something going on, weekends and Wednesdays Models Night and Thursdays ICON!