Shanghai's hottest new nightlife openings for your dance radar

Make new memories, lose new memories

Photograph: courtesy MASTER
Over the past few months, Shanghai has blessed us with plenty of top-shelf food and drink offerings but how about when it gets dark, really dark, and all you want to do is dance? Well fortunately there's been a lot happening in the nightlife scene too. From hip-hop to techno, deep waves of house and more, here are the hottest spots for you and your clubbing crew to cut loose.

And yes, we know… the hangover. You can tend to that the next day with one of the city’s best burgers.

MASTER

For a visual shock to your senses

For anyone who's been to one of Japanese digital art collective teamLab’s installations and wondered how they would work in a nightlife environment, MASTER is it. Perched up on the fifth floor of the ultra wanghong TX Mall, this club or '24 hour light and show art interactive space' sees teamLab flex their visual muscles with 3,000 flashing lights and 80 lasers working in tandem to create an electronic orchestra led by a DJ blaring anything from trance to techno or big-room EDM – all in front of an impressive 150-metre rotating LED screen.

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532 Huaihai Zhong Lu

Club 151

For partying without a care in a secretive setting

If you haven’t heard of Club 151 yet, it’s probably because the owners don’t want you to. It’s an underground club hidden away in a basement under a cocktail bar on Julu Lu, and when entering you’ll have to cover your camera and promise to keep all your activities inside strictly hush-hush. In keeping with Berlin vibes, what happens when you’re boxed within its concrete walls is anything but quiet – it’s a heavy mix of techno, house and disco, as well as appearances from mainstay Shanghai nights like Void, Movement and Plastic.

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151 Julu Lu

RED ROOM

For high-energy performances from guest MCs around town

As the name suggests there’s a lot of red swirling around this lively dark club inside Julu 758, but RED ROOM is more than just eye-catching decor. It’s a hip-hop driven venue that hosts a diverse lineup of emerging and veteran acts from the genre, both local and international, live on a weekly basis. Only 150 people can squeeze in here so the dancefloor action is snug and at close-quarters. The crowd tends to lean towards the classier side, sipping on champagne in the earlier hours before downing shots when things start to heat up.

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758 Julu Lu

Lóng

For decent club drinks that won’t burn a hole through your wallet

Among the sea of new nightclub openings last year, Found 158 gained another in Lóng. Located behind a door manned by the grim reaper in a white hoodie, it specialises in hip-hop with a dash of grime and some pop thrown in. The main talking point though is the city-inspired interior design, impersonating a Shanghai street with neon powerlines running along the walls and a lightbox resembling the sky hanging from the ceiling. The absence of booths and VIP seating keeps the atmosphere inclusive and the sizable bar in the middle sticks with that model, serving up cocktails from 30-60RMB. 

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158 Julu Lu

C702

For all-night raves into the early morning

Techno ace of Celia fame, Emil Chang's new go-to for after-hour antics takes place in an industrial space that resembles a warehouse rave. The looks might be different to his former venue, but the sounds are still the same – non-commercial electronica with deep cuts of techno and different types of house from melodic to transgressive. It’s also open for business way late on any given night of the week making it one of the most reliable spots in the city for dancing your way into the break of dawn.

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702 Nanjing Xi Lu

QUANTUM

For getting down to a playlist of hip-hop legends

QUANTUM is another newcomer to try and breathe life into Shanghai’s hip-hop scene. Set in a slick lit-up space on the third floor of the North Yard building in Wheelock Square, you’ll hear anything from old-school to trap and West Coast here. While mandatory tables and VIP seating areas are ever-present, the capacity reaches up to 350 people so there’s more than enough room to manoeuvre on the dancefloor.

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1717 Nanjing Xi Lu

Forté

For lounging in swanky surroundings

Part bar, lounge and club, Forté brings an air of French-inspired glamour to the nightlife experience around Nanjing Xi Lu. Spread over three floors in the chic Cachet Boutique Shanghai hotel, the first is centred around an oyster and champagne bar, the third for private events and KTV, while the second is where sophisticated club-goers can move and mingle among tables, bottles and a relatively intimate dancing space. The music programme is headed by resident and guest DJs who lay down a mix of hip-hop, R&B and house.

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931 Nanjing Xi Lu

X Bar

For groovin' good times from a group of expert party planners

The Alter. Crew have taken their signature house and techno sounds into a multi-purpose bar down the alleyway in the old Parrot space. The vibe on weekdays is all about taking it easy as nifty cocktails (try the Yu’s Gimlet) and natural wines hug the spotlight. Also expect open decks and occasional guest bartender shifts from the likes of Peddlers gin. Things heat up on the weekends when proceedings get partier through a range of themed nights and a commitment to forward-thinking bookings that showcase upcoming and established local DJs.

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7 Donghu Lu

And if you'd rather be outside than in

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