Check out our favorite go-to bars in Shanghai if you haven't

Some places never get old for a reason.

Photograph: courtesy BrewDog
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By Amber Zhang

A lot has been said about the boozing scene here in Shanghai. While new bars and clubs are popping up all over town almost every other week, there are some places that just never get old. Whether you’re a newcomer looking to mingle with the Shanghai expat community over a couple of casual drinks, or simply getting off work only to find yourself yearning for a happy hour and some good grub, here are some of our favorite go-to bars you should check out if you haven’t already.


Photograph: courtesy Funkadeli

If you haven’t been to, walked by, or even heard of this place, you’ve never lived in Shanghai. Located at the intersection of Fumin Lu and Changle Lu, the very downtown of the old French Concession, Funkadeli is often packed with regulars indulging an after-work drink. The happy hour here runs from 4 to 8pm on weekdays and 4 to 6pm on the weekends, offering a fun Aperitivo experience with a 30-yuan glass of Prosecco, along with other classic selections of wines, cocktails and IPAs. To top up the Italian experience, you have to try their menu that presents traditional Italian with a modern touch. Don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of options available, but you can easily turn your chill-out evening into an end-of-day dining feast, choosing from an array of selections such as cold cuts, cheese platters, lasagna, tapas, wraps, and so on to fill your belly. Remember to bring your doggo when you meet up with friends to enjoy this relaxed ambience in the terrace, before the next time they set up another police perimeter in front of the place (as this tends to happen quite frequently in the area).

Funkadeli, 291 Fumin Lu, Wujin Century Building, near Changle Lu


Photograph: courtesy BrewDog

Scottish craft beer company BrewDog’s first (and hopefully not the last) store in China, BrewDog Shanghai opened in 2020 and, despite the whole pandemic predicament, still managed to make a dazzling first impression on craft beer fanatics. They have 28 taps running, most of which are made by their own while the other ones are guest beers that they change from time to time. For first-timers, give their signature Punk IPA and Elvis Juice a shot and you won’t be disappointed. Servings come in 170ml (23-28 yuan) tasters and 300ml (38-45 yuan) stange. Or, you could also go for a generous 500ml pour at just 55-60 yuan if you’re really feelin’ it.

Photograph: courtesy BrewDog

Besides all the drinking, make sure to pair up with your friends and have a go at the Shufl board, a gentle yet seriously competitive game on which you could spend too much time competing for rounds before you realize it. The food is solid, with your regular bar grub such burgers, fries, buffalo wings and desserts to complement the beer. Otherwise, if you don’t wish to go down the path of guilty pleasures and are looking for some healthy alternatives, try their Avocado & Feta Bowl Salad that has a pinch of chopped scallion in it, a dish exclusively created for Asia.

BrewDog, Unit 107/108, Level 1, China Merchants Plaza, 333 Chengdu Bei Road

The Rooster

Photograph: courtesy The Rooster via Dianping

The Rooster is the perfect spot to be if you don’t feel so fancy for the night and just want to get a drink, hang out with friends and feel some good vibes. This place is simple, cozy and very affordable, serving a variety of cocktails, craft beers on tap, and of course, some pretty tasty bar-appropriate dishes. The industrial-style interiors embrace decorative elements such as brick walls, wooden tables, and metal art, which altogether give off a Western vibe. It is the kind of place you would rather go with a group of people than alone because the loud, crowded atmosphere can sometimes get quite overwhelming, especially during happy hours. Oh, and don’t forget their weekend brunch deal at the price of 180 yuan that includes a meal and free-flow of Mimosas, Bloody Mary’s, Sangrias, wines and beers. It’s a must-stop. Insiders revealed that the Shaanxi Be Lu branch is soon to be merged with the new branch on Jiangning Lu. Be sure to pay the old branch a last visit while you still have the chance.

The Rooster, 455 Shaanxi Bei Lu, near Beijing Xi Lu


Photograph: courtesy Barbarossa

Compared to the other ones, this one is more on the stylish, extravagant end when it comes to casual drinking and dining. Residing right at the heart of People’s Park surrounded by a lovely little pond, Barbarossa has been with the city since 2005 offering stylized cocktails and dishes, not to mention its exquisite interior designs infused with rich Moroccan and Middle Eastern aesthetics. The best time to visit is sunset hours, where you can sit on the 2nd-floor terrace to appreciate the beautiful view of the park as well as the buildings shimmering and glowing from afar in the golden hour of the day. I know, perfect date spot. You do have to pay a little extra at this venue but one would say that the prices are fair given the enchanting experience and the decent service.

Photograph: courtesy Barbarossa

Barbarossa, Inside People’s Park, 2/F, 231 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Huangpi Nan Lu

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