This bar feels like it should break the bank, but it won’t. Shen has an ideal mix of Bund-side glam and unpretentiousness that makes it a pleasantly affordable and attractive place to take your date. The only real problem is that you may set the bar too high for the next date.
Level 2, 368 Wukang Lu, near Hunan Lu
This recently opened cocktail bar tucked upstairs on Wukang Lu has great drinks and plenty of nooks to separate you and your date from the masses. Head here earlier rather than later for an even more secluded tête-à-tête.
Zhong Plaza, 99 Taixnig Lu, near Wujiang Lu
At Starling you’ll be transported to South East Asia, with large wooden fans, batik fabric covered chairs, bird cages and a savoury drinks list that reads more like a Thai food menu. Classy but relaxed and with some of the best cocktails in town, Starling will impress. Promise.
98 Wuyuan Lu, near Wulumuqi Zhong Lu
Saloon’s dark and sexy interior is perfect for dates who want to hide away in a booth and drink quality cocktails. Word of warning, the drinks here can be strong. Order some bar snacks if you’re staying for more than two drinks and would prefer to avoid slurring your words.
Sixth Floor, 130 Beijing Dong Lu, near Huqiu Lu
Is there a reason The Nest rhymes with ‘the best’? Probably not. But we really dig this bar regardless. Serving great drinks in a laid-back setting, it’s a solid option for a date. There’s also an impressive and share-friendly food menu if you want your date to progress to dinner.
Seventh Floor, Associate Mission Building,169 Yuanmingyuan Lu, near Huqiu Lu
For the distraction of lit-up boats on the Huangpu and the Lujiazui skyline to fill those moments where you’re trying to think of something witty to say to your date, head to the recently reopened 8 ½ Terrace Bar for cocktails and oysters (from 438RMB/dozen).