Xintiandi covers just two blocks, but they’re home to some of Shanghai’s best bars. The expensive real estate is reflected in the price of drinks, but the mixology is of stellar quality and – with Xintiandi so compact – this is one bar crawl you can whip round in no time.
This Nordic eatery and bar concept occupies the sixth and seventh floor of the shiny new Xintiandi mall, coming with a superb view of the city. Rye & Co mixes up some of the most unique drinks you’ll find in Shanghai. Their Tom Yum Goong-Colada, made with Thai-spiced gin and flavours of pandan, coconut and curry, tastes like a Southeast Asian holiday. Their RasPutin cocktail, made with butter-infused tequila (produced in-house) and chocolate bitters, is gleefully served in a glass with a chocolate rim. You get a bit of chocolate in every sip! They also serve the classics if requested, alongside a short but sweet list of beers and wines.
This ’80s-inspired cocktail bar was opened by Shanghai’s best-known cocktail man, Shingo Gokan and global mixologist, Steve Schneider. Their drinks menu is a reflection of each of their styles – Steve’s bold, rapid-fire drinks on the right, Shingo’s meticulous cocktails on the left. The menu is organised into paired taste-profiles, making for a very unique experience.
Since opening in 2016, Highline has rapidly risen through the ranks to become one of the hottest places for a drink in Shanghai. The space is beautiful and chic, and the drinks are just as stylish, offering a variety of classic and speciality cocktails, wines and beers. They also feature a very impressive sake selection, with some bottles so exclusive that they can’t be found anywhere else on the mainland. Sipping a drink on their roomy terrace, which overlooks the city, is the way to do it.
Cobra Lily is the brainchild of Shanghai restaurant and bar entrepreneur Kellie Lee, the same woman behind Liquid Laundry and Boxing Cat Brewery. The vibe is cool and mysterious, and the drinks are inventive and strong. Aside from some great beers on tap, their cocktail menu offers a range of speciality concoctions that incorporate uniquely Asian elements. There’s even a cocktail that tastes like Thai curry!
With its punch-packing drinks and fun decor (check out those luchador masks leering out from the bright red walls), El Luchador can turn any night into a fiesta. Your head’s going to spin just browsing their list of margaritas, Coronaritas (an upside-down Corona in a margarita) and tequilas, and they also have a large outdoor patio where you can drink all day and night.
Xixi Bistro has two bars: an upscale Tiki bar and a smoky Mad Men-era lounge, both serving traditional cocktails and East-meets-West concoctions. The Tiki Bar are more playful, while the potions in the lounge are bold and strong enough to put some hair on your chest. Culture Trip recommends the Shanghai Spritz: a twist on the Aperol spritz with maraschino and a Chinese spirit called huangjiu.
This Japanese-style cocktail bar masterfully whips up all the classics, but they truly shine with their whisky offerings. They have more than 500 single malts on the shelves for you to choose from – heaven for whisky aficionados. If you’re looking for a mellow bar to unwind in while listening to quality jazz, Constellation Bar is the spot for you.
This military camp-themed cocktail bar and lounge is tucked up on the second floor of Green & Safe The Barn. They have some signature cocktails on the menu, as well as seasonal offerings. They make their cocktails with fresh ingredients from the Green & Safe farm, and also offer some small snacks courtesy of their downstairs neighbours.