5 new bars to check out this month in Shanghai

'Dry January' be damned

It may be a new year, but Shanghai is still Shanghai and the onslaught of cocktail bars continues.

Barman par excellence Shingo Gokan of Speak Low is opening a massive-in-concept, intimate-in-space new venture called Sober Company. On the corner of Yandang Lu and Nanchang Lu, the space will include three main parts: a café with breakfast until 4pm, soft-serve and small plates; a restaurant doing modern takes on Chinese dishes; and a bar focused on digestif cocktails and brown spirits. For the brave few that hit all three concepts in one go, there’s a hidden-away, invite-only Ginza-style bar, within the building, called Tipsy. Six seats, one small table and no menu. Starting this weekend on Sunday 15, the space will open in stages, starting first with the café.

Above the Globe

Over on Beijing Xi Lu within the 'hotel' where immersive theatre production Sleep No More is taking place, Eddy Yang of Tailor Bar near Jingan Temple has brought us Above the Globe – inspired in name and menu concept by Shakespeare’s London theatre The Globe. They're in soft opening right now, but expect a menu after Chinese New Year that Yang says will boast around 100 cocktails falling under the liquid genres of Tragedy, Comedy and History.

The team at Tour on Changle Lu in the Untied Valley complex has opened a second concept inside their venue called The Magnolia Room. The bar programme is be similarly playful to Tour – drinks paired with snacks – but with a dark, moody atmosphere reverberating with blues on the speakers and scratch-off menus where you might be up for a chance to win everything from a grilled cheese to a shot of Jameson or a bottle of Chivas. It’s a small and intimate affair: seats for 15 with eight drinks on the menu.

On Tianping Lu near Huaihai Zhong Lu in the Former French Concession, there're some cosy new digs in the form of a bar called Healer, run by owner and bartender Phoebe. On the menu are cocktails with Chinese flavour inspiration, and a few with elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine blended in. Not the most elite of bars, but Healer seems like a nice neighbourhood spot to hit with friends.


On Taian Lu, near Xingguo Lu, there’s a small new cocktail joint called Trio. Run by bartender Kimi, formerly of Heyday and El Ocho, it’s the team’s first venture themselves and seems like a winner. They’ve named the spot after the idea that a great cocktail must be balanced, but only requires three elements first and foremost: the spirit, sweet and sour. Curated music is a big part of the concept here as well; expect deep house on the speakers.

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