The best Latin music nights in Shanghai

From club-ready reggaeton, Latin hip-hop and merengue to arresting blends of cumbia, salsa and bachata

Photograph: Frank Romero via Unsplash
For those who assumed there wasn’t room or demand for Latin music in Shanghai, piénsalo de nuevo (think again). From club-ready reggaeton, Latin hip-hop and merengue to arresting blends of cumbia, salsa and bachata, there is no area of the genre without real estate here in Shanghai. Whether you’re in the 'Despacito'-appreciation club or a longtime salsero, opportunities are rife to channel the heat all the way from the burning global south.

La Social

Modelled after a Colombian cantina, La Social has the feel of a pawnshop with an eccentric mix of knickknacks from both Latin America and China: fishnetted mannequins, vintage car parts, Chinese propaganda portraiture and other whacky shit. The place, however, is firmly Latino, serving up traditional South-American street food like arepas and revamped Latin cocktails like margaritas, pisco sours and mojitos. La Social gets packed on Wednesdays for their weekly Sinner’s Paradise night, featuring a staple Colombian soundtrack of reggaeton, salsa choque and costal champeta, along with 30RMB guaro shots all night.

Read more
1101 Wuding Lu

Revolucion, Yanping Lu

As the glowing red sign above the DJ booth warns: 'Hell is empty and all the devils are here.' Revolución’s weekly Mi Casa Es Su Casa night draws a diverse crowd and kicks off with a free salsa lesson from Alicia Valdivia of Shanghai Salsa Studio (10-11pm) paired with buy-one-get-one mojitos (try the passion fruit). 

From 11pm-onward a DJ takes over, accompanied by Thomas Dyani and his live percussion ensemble of steel drums and bongos. At various points in the night, the showy barmen relieve the DJ and set the bar aflame – literally. It’s a zoo in there by midnight, so be sure to arrive early. 

Read more
98 Yanping Lu

Pistolera, Hengshan Lu

Back in 2014, executive chef Leonardo ‘Tabasco’ Guerrero opened up Pistolera Mexican Cantina with the intent of sharing his Mexican heritage and cuisine. Now, every Thursday from 10pm at the Hengshan location, the joint’s Latin dance night features a live band alongside Latin DJs Nas and K_libre 5, courtesy of Shanghai Latin Dance Club. Salsa at Pistolera caters more to couples, with intimidatingly good dancers spinning in double helixes and making us all look bad. But who better to learn from than the pros, right? 

Read more
838-2 Hengshan LuOnline booking

JZ Latino

JZ Latino is a Latino jazz-focused lounge bar located deep in Shanghai’s Old Town near Yuyuan, known for its massive rooftop terrace and generous sampling of Latin musical traditions. Every Friday, JZ Latino hosts a salsa night with a free lesson from the Azúcar and Hot Salsa dance studios between 9.30-10pm, with more salsa, bachata, tango, swing and kizomba later in the programming. Saturdays keep it consistent with another night of Latin dance music and an hour wild card lesson from 8-9pm, brought to you by the Alimah Dance and Yoga Studio. Both nights are a great chance for amateurs to widen their Latin dance repertoire and get loco. Cover is 50RMB and includes one free drink voucher. 

Read more
159 Henan Lu


All gradient of pastels, hanging greenery, wooden swings and white gravel lining the floor, Barraco is a vibrant Brazilian-run bar wedged into the front of a lanehouse on Fuxing Zhong Lu. Barraco – ‘shack’ in Portuguese – was designed using upcycled materials from demolition sites around the city to give it a cobbled-together, beachy feel. The spot’s menu offers small Brazilian plates and cocktails like pão de queijo and caipirinhas, and although it doesn’t have a weekly Latin night, there is always a soundtrack of bossa nova and reggaeton leaking through the speakers. It holds live samba events roughly twice a month – search ‘barraco-sh’ on WeChat for more details – as well as Brazilian lunch specials. 

Read more
559 Fuxing Zhong Lu

Read more