So many Shanghai venues have tried to do the old world glamour thing, with mixed results, but The Waldorf Astoria’s Long Bar has nailed it - and it might just be the most elegant venue in town. The Long Bar opened in 1911 in the Shanghai Club, an uber-exclusive gentleman’s club, when the 34-metre raw mahogany bar was said to be
the longest in the Far East.
Today, the spacious 80-seat bar has been painstakingly recreated from archive photographs, with the original dark wood floor, the studded leather seats, marble columns and old stained glass windows.
The leather-bound drinks menu is gorgeous. One page is devoted to classic cocktails served at the old Waldorf Astoria in New York, from the Waldorf (rye whiskey, absinthe, sweet vermouth and bitters) to the Zaza (gin, Dubonnet and angostura bitters), both of which give the classics at el Coctel a run for their money. Other pages feature different cocktail bases (vodka, gin, whiskey, brandy, rum, tequila and Champagne), with all cocktails except the 158RMB Champagne-based ones costing 88RMB.
The other key feature from the old Long Bar is the oyster bar, and here you can get baked Fitzpatrick and Rockefeller oysters (88RMB) or a range of more than five fresh-shucked oysters at market prices. They’ve also got great posh comfort food like the foie gras parfait with fig, brioche and sangria jelly (68RMB) and mini chicken tortillas with cumin peppers and guacamole (48RMB) , as well as a Waldorf Salad (88RMB) and Reuben on rye sandwich (118RMB) with Wagyu beef pastrami. You’re paying a lot here, but the tiniest details feel spot-on, from the immaculate service to the jazz on the stereo.
Shanghai has rarely seen old world elegance done this well. Note that all drinks (including the prices quoted above) are subject to a service charge. Nathan Hood