From big nights out and after-work happy hours to just meeting a couple of friends for a cocktail, there’s no denying that going out to grab a drink (or maybe a few) is a way of life in Shanghai. Of course, we all know there’s no shortage of bars in this city, but sometimes outside of our regular spots, narrowing down the list of new places to try can be a bit intimidating. Not to worry, we’ve got you covered with six new and exotic cocktail menus and bars.
Photograph: courtesy La Barra
La Barra has been serving up chill vibes and creative cocktails since its opening last summer. Now they’re stepping up their game with a brand-new cocktail menu that takes inspiration from Southeast Asian flavours and ingredients. You can lounge on their terrace and sip on a Tom-Yam Gong Sour, a combination of Sampan rum, tomato, lemongrass, ginger and lime leaf or enjoy their Ais Tingkap, a concoction that sees Botanist gin accompanied by herbal tea, rose syrup, plum and lime juice. Soak up the booze with their new food menu of oysters, grilled skewers and other light and tasty bites.
La Barra, Second Floor, Bldg 5, AUNN, No 60, Lane 273, Jiaozhou Lu, near Yanping Lu.
Photograph: courtesy La Mezcaleria
La Mezcaleria is a cool and classy lounge specialising in… you guessed it: mezcal. Their new cocktail menu is not only highly drinkable, but it also tells a story, literally. All of their seven new signature cocktails are inspired by the Aztec myths of old. Sip on drinks like the Flower Feather that mixes barley tea sous-vide San Cosme Espadin, apple juice and agave syrup with Assam extract, a homage to the Aztec goddess of beauty (and we must say this drink is a looker). Or, try the Morning Star, which mixes Demócrata Espadín, Midori, coconut liqueur, cream, lemon juice and simple syrup, a drink that will have your tastebuds swimming in a creamy and coconut-y paradise.
La Mezcaleria, Second Floor, Bldg 5, AUNN, No 60, Lane 273, Jiaozhou Lu, near Yanping Lu.
Photograph: courtesy Inksight
Next in the lineup is the whisky bar, Black Rock. Originating from London, they’ve brought their whisky to the Middle Kingdom in the hope of making whisky more accessible to all. The venue is outfitted with a massive ‘whisky river’, a 1.5-ton wooden table with two streams on tap – one for the house whisky blend and the other, the house cocktail called Boulevadier. There’re more than 180 whiskies on offer, and all of them are organised by six flavour profiles: balance, fruit, fragrance, sweet, spice and smoke. The new menu offers an array of highballs, sours and other classic cocktails, all with the whisky taking centre stage. Looking for an introduction to whisky cocktails? Bartender and operator of Black Rock Colin Tait, whom you may know from Shake and Heyday, recommends the refreshing Peaches and Cream (their version of an amaretto sour) to start.
Black Rock, 41 Fumin Lu, near Yanan Xi Lu.
Photograph: courtesy The Showroom
As you walk up the stairs of a designer furniture store and into the dimly lit and colourful rooms of The Showroom, you instantly feel transported to an entirely new era. Taking inspiration from the speakeasies frequented by the Italian mafia and high-rollers, you’ll wander through rooms with creative names like ‘Love Poison’ and ‘’Luxury Shit’, each having their own unique style and design. Each room also has its own inspired signature cocktail. Get lost in the many different rooms while sipping on classy and creative cocktails like the spicy Love Poison (Rum, Abuelo 7 Y.O, maple syrup, infused cajun spice, creole and vanilla bitter, and coppa ham chips). Or, pull up a seat on one of their designer sofas while enjoying the refreshing and highly drinkable Basil Smash (Broken’s gin, lime, sugar, and basil cordial).
The Showroom, Second Floor, 556 Jiaozhou Lu, near Changping Lu.
Photograph: courtesy COA
With its original location in Hong Kong ranking as the number one bar in all of Asia and one of the top 50 in the world, COA’s new Shanghai location is an absolute must-visit for its agave-based cocktails. Looking to spice up your evening? Choose from one of the four Mexican chilli-inspired cocktails like the Pepper Smash (jalapeño, shiso, bell pepper juice, pineapple, sweet basil, agave nectar, Cointreau, tequila blanco and mezcal joven). Or, go for something salty with their Three Salt Margarita which combines three different types of salt with Cointreau and tequila blanco. The creativity and flavour combinations here may leave your head spinning, but your taste buds are sure to be satisfied.
COA, 313 Jiaozhou Lu, near Xinzha Lu.
Photograph: courtesy Ginger
Ginger has always been known for their high-quality, clean and healthy meals. However, many may not know that the space is also home to a substantial bar that slings unique and tasty cocktails to accompany its dishes. They’ve just dropped their new Southeast Asian-inspired cocktail menu. For a bit of a kick, try their chilli cocktail, which sees rum mixed with chilli, lime and honey. Looking for something on the sweeter side? Go for the Pandan, a cocktail that combines rum, pandan and genmai.
Ginger, 91 Xingguo Lu, near Hunan Lu.