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Meet The Owners Of Shanghai's Most Cultural Bar
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Meet The Owners Of Shanghai's Most Cultural Bar

Picture of Carla Thomas
Updated: 9 February 2017
When expat dive bar I Love Shanghai was unexpectedly shut down earlier this year, longtime regulars Josh Antonio and Ian Otmana saw an opportunity. Building on what had previously worked, the two renamed, redecorated, and repurposed the dive bar motif but with a vision of fostering the relationships among Shanghai‘s creatives. The newly named My Place Ruin Bar emphasizes community through arts and culture in addition to good times over (many) drinks.
Open Mic night at My Place Ruin Bar | Courtesy of My Place Ruin Bar
Open Mic night at My Place Ruin Bar | Courtesy of My Place Ruin Bar

TCT: What inspired you to take over the space once I Love Shanghai (ILS) closed its doors?

JA: This place means a lot to us because this was our first home bar. We were part of the darts team five years ago, and this is where we met a lot of people who are now good friends. When we found out that the place was available, we knew that someone should continue to provide that ‘extension of your living room’ atmosphere that we were familiar with. But we also realized that we can offer much more because of the uniqueness of this space. We thought about different ideas to provide our bar as a canvas, a gallery, a stage, a studio — anything creative. We wanted a place where people could express themselves, have a good time, remember that they had so much fun but then actually forget what happened that night.

TCT: What’s the most unusual thing you’ve seen or heard behind the bar so far?

IO: Having more women on Men’s Night than Ladies Night. We’re not really sure how to explain this.

Men's Night at My Place — popular with men and women alike | Courtesy of My Place Ruin Bar
Men’s Night at My Place — popular with men and women alike | Courtesy of My Place Ruin Bar

TCT: What advice would you give to someone looking to get into the industry in Shanghai?

JA: Get good coffee and drink lots of water the next day. On a more serious note — research, know your target, learn to adapt and make the necessary changes regardless of your own personal preferences to make your business successful.

TCT: What is your dream project?

The bar signature Weng Weng cocktail | Courtesy of My Place Ruin Bar
The bar signature Weng Weng cocktail | Courtesy of My Place Ruin Bar

JA: To sell the ‘My Place Weng-Weng’ [My Place Ruin’s Bar’s signature mason jar cocktail] all over the world.

TCT: What’s the last movie you watched?

IA: Ringu by Hideo Nakata. We have movie nights every Monday, and right now we are showing Asian horror movies. We’ll also be showing The Rocky Horror Picture Show on Halloween this year, with the whole audience participation experience — it should be a pretty crazy event that we’re really excited about. We want everyone to Time Warp-Warp while drinking Weng-Weng!

TCT: How would you describe My Place Ruin Bar in 80 characters or less?

JA: My Place is an eclectic chill bar packed with surprises and crazy drink specials.

TCT: Okay, a few more quick questions — Apple or Android?

JA: Apple

TCT: Beatles or Rolling Stones?

IO: Beatles

TCT: Puxi or Pudong?

JA: Puxi

TCT: Asahi or Tsingdao?

IO: Is this a trick question?

TCT: Baozi or jiaozi?

IO: Jiaozi