The number of quality bars in Shanghai
can be dizzying. They range from well-known dives featuring cocktails with interesting twists to roof-top lounges touting 360-degree panoramas of the city’s iconic skyline. This guide looks at most celebrated and timeless the metropolis has to offer.
Bar, Pub Grub, Chinese
Perched on the top of the Grand Hyatt hotel, Cloud 9 offers a sweeping view of the city’s downtown. The bar boasts a stylish interior dominated by steel bars and mirrors: an ideal place to chill with a glass of ever-popular champagne or sparkling wine (a particular speciality of Cloud 9). Delicate north-east Asian snacks like prawn spring rolls and grilled beef platters are served up too, together with a handful of regular events that sees the eclectic likes of fortune tellers and magicians hit the stage.
Opening hours: Mon to Thurs 5pm – 1am, Fri 5pm – 2am, Sat 2pm – 2am, Sun 2pm – 1am
Watch out for: Impressive skyline views, delicious cuisine and refined drinks
Address: Cloud 9, Jin Mao Tower, 88 Century Avenue, Pudong, Shanghai, China, +86 21 5049 1234
Frequented by celebrities and music lovers alike, Cotton Club is where travellers can find some of the best jazz in Shanghai. The interior design is stripped-down and adorned with the ubiquitous posters of renowned musicians; here Billy Holiday; there John Coltrane. The owner of the bar, Greg Smith, is also the man responsible for curating the in-house band in which the vocalist, bassist, and percussionist all hail in from the musical heartlands of America.
Opening hours: Tues to Thur 7pm – 1am, Fri & Sat 7pm – 2am
Watch out for: Classy jazz music
Address: The Cotton Club, No. 1416 HuaiHai Road(M), Shanghai, China, +86 21 6437 7110
Hidden in the basement of the Shangri-la Hotel, the buzzing atmosphere of B.A.T.S attracts numerous drinkers and post-working bees each night. Inspiration for the name and the decoration hail in from Jakarta, Indonesia, casting an exotic milieu over the entire bar. A barber lounge is placed in the corner to serve the signature cocktail, the Tequila Layback, while an electronic bucking bull roars and rages nearby – for patrons who dare to try their luck.
East meets West at the red door of Judy’s Too. A prominent watering hole for celebrities the planet over, this breezy bar serves a carefully-curated selection of spirits that surprises the taste buds with its curious mixology and unforgettable colors. A tranquil atmosphere that nurtures lingering and lounging is created by soft background music courtesy of the live, in-house band, Wala Wala, while travellers can rub shoulders with designers, artists and all sorts of famous people between the buzzing tables that cluster close to the bar.
Opening hours: Fri 11am – late, Sat 7 pm – late
Watch out for: Soft music, creative cocktail
Address: Judy’s Too, 142-146 TongRen Road, Shanghai, China, +86 21 6289 3715
Located on the top of the Ritz Carlton, Flair successfully stands out from the other sky bars of Shanghai by offering arguably the most impressive views going. Hailed as the highest rooftop bar in all of China, this one was created under the guiding hand of celebrated Japanese designers, Super Potato. Comfortable sofas provide an ideal spot for foodies to chill out at with authentic Asian cuisine like sushi platers, Singaporean spicy crabs’ claws, and Thai fried rice, all washed down with refined cocktails, white wines and over 40 kinds of vodka and rum tipples.
Opening hours: Mon to Fri 5.30pm – 1am, Sat & Sun 2 – 5pm
Watch out for: Stunning views, delicious drinking snacks
Address: Flair, 58th Floor, Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong, Shanghai ifc, 8 Century Avenue, Lujiazui, Pudong, Shanghai, China, +86 21 2020 1888
Spurred on by his mantra that ‘bars are the last refuge of the tortured soul’, Logan Brouse, former bar manager at M1NT and Muse started Logan’s Punch in earnest. The retro and rustic décor of the bar shows a rebellion against the ordinary. There are antique telephones for calling the bar tender, dusty light bulbs from the age of Thomas Edison, and wooden window frames, crooked and shabby-chic in the extreme. An enticing selection of cocktails with creative twists decorates the menu; perfect for those looking to unwind after a day in the throbbing heart of this sprawling city.
Opening hours: Tue to Thurs 6pm – 2am, Fri to Sat 7pm – late
Watch out for: Vintage style done brilliantly
Address: Logan’s Punch, Zhong Plaza, 2/F, 99 Taixing Lu, Shanghai, China, +86 21 6248 5928
Bar, Pub Grub
The name of this altitudinous bar provides just some clues as to why it’s quite so popular. Spread over the top two levels of the Hyatt on the Bund, Vue offers its guests a chance to appreciate both the scenic Huangpu River and the colorful skyline of the Lujazui area. The lower level is divided into various zones by wine-rack walls, while the upper level features Jacuzzis and whirlpools! The amiable atmosphere and breath-taking panoramas attract numerous patrons each night, so try to get in early!
Opening hours: Sun to Wed 5.30pm – 1.30am, Thurs to Sat 5.30pm – 2.30am
Watch out for: Impressive skyline panoramas
Address: Vue, Hyatt on the Bund, 199 Huangpu Road, Shanghai, China, +86 21 6393 1234
Century Avenue Lounge
Bar, Pub Grub
100 Century Avenue Lounge
Offering an oasis of refinement high above the city, 100 Century Avenue Lounge is one of the tallest bars in the world. Visitors can survey the vibrant and cosmopolitan city below while taking in the two divergent aspects of this curious spot. On one side hangs random white plastic household objects, portraying a sense of modernity, while the other side follows the classic hutong style of old Shanghai chinoiserie; draped in candle light and sumptuous red fabrics.
Opening hours: 10.30am – 2.30pm, 5pm – 10pm
Watch out for: Dining in one of the highest bars in the world
Address: 100 Century Avenue Lounge, Park Hyatt Shanghai 100 Century Avenue, Shanghai, China, +86 21 6888 1234
The Long Bar
The Long Bar
Inspired by the legendary Waldolf Astoria, The Long Bar is decorated with leather and wood, resurrecting trends dating back to the 1910s. Nowadays, the place has changed from the gathering point of scholars and thinkers it once was, to an amiable and welcoming bar where drinkers can find everything from fresh oysters to creatively-mixed cocktails and premium Cuban cigars.
Opening hours: Mon to Sat 4pm – 1am, Sun 2pm – 1am
Watch out for: Inferior design, extensive drink menu
Address: The Long Bar, Waldorf Astoria, 88 Sichuan Zhong Lu, Huangpu district, Shanghai, China, +86 21 6222 9988
Taking inspiration from David A Embury’s The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, classy high-ballers and quality cocktails are served in true traditional style at el Coctel; a bar where the emphasis is firmly on strong liquor rather than fancy decoration and presentation. Signature drinks like Spiced Rum Treacle and Dr M and Hendrick’s Gin Martni are prepared by mixing bespoke selections of alcohol with syrups and fresh juices, all to deliver a refreshing taste like no other joint in town.
Opening hours: 5:30pm – 2am
Watch out for: Some seriously strong liquor
Address: El Coctel, 2/F, 47 Yongfu Lu, Shanghai, China, + 86 216433 6511