You are not likely to head to Shanghai’s business district of Lujiazui purely for a night out. And you’re certainly not heading there for a couple of cheap drinks. What you can find there, however, are some classy bars if you want to impress that special someone, some genuinely stunning views to show overseas visitors, or some generous happy hours in which to drown your sorrows after a hard day at the corporate grindstone.Here are 10 of the best.
Flair Rooftop Restaurant & Bar
Bar, Restaurant, Japanese, Vegetarian, Asian
Flairsits atop the Ritz-Carlton in one of the IFC towers, and has an amazing outside terrace. Although perhaps not as high as the Cloud 9 or the Music Room bars, when sitting outside it almost feels like you can reach out and touch the Pearl Tower, which stands directly across from the bar. With good sushi and an intimate atmosphere, Flair is great to give out-of-towners that ‘city of the future’ impression everyone has of Shanghai. Make sure to book ahead during peak hours.
The original of the numerous top-floor skyscraper bars, Cloud 9 has amazing views that are often hidden behind darkened windows, in what is often a dimly-lit venue. They have a couples’ night on Wednesdays and 50% off for ladies on Thursdays. Except for these two nights, and unless you are ready to spend a lot, we recommend one of the other names on this list.
The Park Hyatt’s bars and restaurants are located at the top of the Shanghai World Financial Center (SWFC), which makes them some of the highest places to get a drink on Earth. If you are thinking of going to the SWFC viewing gallery, save yourself the fee and instead go and buy a drink at the hotel on the 91st floor. Afterwards, make sure to go up one more floor to The Music Room, which has a live band and a lively Ladies’ Night on Wednesdays.
The Blue Frog chain of bars has been a Shanghai staple for many years. The first Lujiazui branch was opened in Super Brand Mall and enjoyed such success that another outlet was soon opened in the basement of SWFC. This branch remains packed both at lunch and after work, so get there early to ensure seats. We recommend being there for the two-for-one Happy Hour and supplementing your drinks with some sliders and/or any of their Tex-Mex dishes.
This German micro-brewery has a few venues in Shanghai, but this particular location on Binjiang Avenue in Lujiazui is easily the most atmospheric, offering fabulous views of the Huangpu River and The Bund. Sitting outside for lunch at a table, drinking German beer, ends up with many people not returning to their offices in the afternoon.
Brotzeit is another German bar with its own particular beer, this time inside the SWFC. Unfortunately, it tends to lose out to the more well-known and easier-to-find Blue Frog in the basement, which is a shame considering how good Brotzeit’s beers are, not to mention their hearty German food. They also accommodate large groups, which makes it a good place for parties.
The Mandarin adds a very sophisticated touch to Shanghai’s bar scene, with its Qi Bar featuring an on-site mixologist for particularly hard-to-make cocktails, as well as a DJ set Wednesdays through Saturdays. One of the more interesting cocktails on their menu is the Porn Star Martini, which comes with a free shot of champagne. The décor is nice and the bar has excellent service (they were very accommodating when we asked for no additives in their snacks).
The Grand Kempinski Hotel has recently taken over the riverside spot previously occupied by the Grand Melia. Red Passion aims for the glam-rooftop-bar-with-a-view feel, but doesn’t quite pull it off as well as some of the others on this list. Indeed, this bar tends to be less crowded than others nearby. Nevertheless, the location is good and if you’re in the area, we recommend stopping by.
Recently opened in the basement of the Shangri-La, The Exchange is a great place to stop by if you’re interested in craft beers. The bar is themed around the stock exchange, with prices of beer changing depending on how much has been drunk that week. This means that you could theoretically change the price yourself, but the amount that you’d need to drink to do so would probably end in a black out. Decorated with leather sofas and armchairs, the bar also has a good pool table and numerous TV screens playing sports.
Morton’s is an international chain with a location in the IFC mall in Lujiazui. Offering sizeable steaks and a phenomenal view, it also offers one of the best-known happy hours in the city. From 17.00 – 19.00 Monday to Friday, the bar sells martinis (‘Mortinis’), along with free flow steak sandwiches. Make sure to keep your head in the game as most clients grab them the second they leave the kitchen. The bar also offers an impressive wine selection.