Club life: Four 2016 club openings you may have missed

Tired of the same ol’? Head to one of the past year's best new clubs

M64

M64

Given the proliferation of speakeasies in Shanghai recently, it should perhaps come as little surprise that a hidden club has popped up on Shaanxi Nan Lu. Echo seems like an innocuous if well-presented café and furniture shop, but once you pass through the ‘secret’ door at the rear of the shop (which staff can guide you towards if you stand around long enough), you’re met with a giant cult-like glowing triangle – the sign that you’ve made it to M64.

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The name is short for Mobius 64 – and the club says, ‘Mobius stands for Mobius strip featuring endless ribbon mystery, and 64 for the 64 hexagrams of the ancient Chinese I Ching’. And the space is just as trippy as it sounds, separated into a large lounge and bar, a smaller club space featuring a massive
LED screen (below), and private rooms with themes ranging from ‘Cosmos’ to ‘Versailles’.

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The cocktails are around the 100RMB mark, but good enough to warrant splashing out. They plan to host DJs or live music every Friday and Saturday. It all adds up to a slightly bizarre experience, but one that may satisfy the tastes of a Chinese clientele.

M64 is at 141 Shaanxi Nan Lu, near Huaihai Zhong Lu, Xuhui district.

ASL

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ASL (internet speak for age, sex, location) hosted their grand opening party just last month, but have been soft open since the summer when none other than A$AP Ferg popped in to spit some bars. Not bad for a new club that could be considered a little out on a limb on Tongren Lu.

ASL is the project of Enrique Roy, the man behind Monkey Champagne, assisted by musical director and DJ SMTH. Together they’re looking to mix the hip hop of Monkey with the exclusive ‘cool’ of Le Baron, and at the moment are operating a guestlist-only-but-entry-is-free policy.

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Can they pull it off? On a Saturday night visit they certainly were, the medium-sized space packed out with bottle-popping revelers. It’s clear tables are the priority – an Instagrammable ‘#youcantsitwithus’ sign hangs above the table reserved for shareholders. But there are still good times flowing on the dance floor.

So how can you get in? We’re told the reservation number (185 1214 5995) is not only for tables but also an ‘unofficial’ way to get on the guestlist. If you like your clubbing high-end then ASL might just be the hottest club in Shanghai right now.

ASL is at 88 Tongren Lu, near Yanan Lu, Jingan district.

Reel to Reel

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The folks behind mini Jingan vinyl-themed club URVC now have a larger club in the basement of SOHO Fuxing plaza. Reel to Reel (the name is a nod to their cassette tape decor theme) has two main rooms, while there is also a small outdoor area and another ‘hidden’ open-air space dubbed ‘the Water Room’.

Whilst URVC’s soundsystem was a turn-off, Dave K and the team have improved matters at RtR with a silky Turbosound system. If you’re going down on a regular night then you can expect to get in free, but they do charge for big bookings.

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There are a couple of oddities – an out-of-place bottle service, and an ayi wandering across the dance floor to toggle the smoke machine. But it’s a decent party atmosphere, and a spot worth heading to if a big name is behind the decks.

Reel to Reel is at B1-01, Fuxing SOHO, 388 Madang Lu, near Fuxing Zhong Lu, Huangpu district.

Mirror

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Shanghai’s after-hours clubbers may have felt a little lost following the closure of Amber at the start
of the year, but these days there is more reason to stay out ‘til breakfast time. First we had Celia’s opening, and now we have Mirror, a fun, unpretentious spot on Fenyang Lu. It’s not a big space, but how do you make a small space seem bigger? That’s right, mirrors. And there are plenty of them, all cut into sharp and abstract shapes.

Things don’t pick up in Mirror until around 2am, but at weekend peak time there’s little room to be had
on the dance floor. If Celia offers hardcore house and techno for those opting to go hard rather than go home, then Mirror is serving up a more feel-good soundtrack – old and new school R’n’B, hip hop and the like. If 4am comes around and you can’t face going home, you should be able to find the party in full swing here.

Mirror is at 77 Fenyang Lu, near Fuxing Xi Lu, Xuhui district.
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