Since 2023 is Shanghai’s first year of being fully open ever since you-know-what, restaurants, bars and clubs that were waiting for the right time for their respective big reveals finally found their moment. Time sure flies when you’re having fun, and the year is already coming to a close — yet new openings seem to keep coming with no sign of stopping.
To help you decide what’s worth checking out, we’ve compiled a carefully curated list of the cream of the crop:
Diner-style booth at Roodoodoo. Photo courtesy of the VOL Group
The most recent concept by serial Shanghai chef Paul Pairet and the VOL group, Roodoodoo is a new multiconcept F&B space located in Pudong’s IFC Mall. The casual yet sleek space with pops of colour can be credited to seasoned Shanghai-based interior design firm hcreates.
Roodoodoo also happens to be the first eatery by Pairet with a bread and pastry counter, so expect an aromatic welcome. A host of freshly-baked goods, including the Ultra-Lune moon cakes from sister restaurant Ultraviolet, can be found behind the glass display at the front of the restaurant.
Alexis's Real Quiche Lorraine and roasted BB Capsicums with Pinenuts. Photo by Time Out Shanghai
Must-try dine-in options include Alexis's Real Quiche Lorraine, the Avocado "Cantine" served with mustard sorbet (the combo works!); and the Philly Cheesesteak, which sees brioche-style buns stuffed with thinly-sliced ribeye, caramelised onions, chopped peppers, and a cheesy sauce. Don’t be surprised if you spot familiar dishes and desserts from the chef’s other restaurants.
All in all, Roodoodoo is idea for a casual and tasty lunch or an early evening dinner before perusing the mall’s shops or taking a stroll by the Oriental Pearl Tower just a stone’s throw away.
📍 Roodoodoo, IFC Mall, LG1-40, IFC Mall Century Avenue, Pudong.
2) La Brise 523
72-hour Smoked Baby Chicken. Photo courtesy of La Brise 523
This cosy new opening nestled in the scenic Sinan Mansions serves up what can only be defined as comfort food — but in a league of its own.
Spearheaded by Conrad Van Den Heever, whom you might know from the Muse Group (Nest, Cannery, Rye&Co, etc), La Brise 523 is the chef’s first independent restaurant, a passion project where he makes his own rules.
The varied menu is split up into three sections: Gatherer (greens), Fisherman’s Haven (seafood) and Hunters Selection (meat).
Soft-Shell Crab Tacos. Photo courtesy of La Brise 523
We can vouch for the smoked baby chicken (fun fact: the bird is dry-aged for 72 whole hours!) and soft-shell crab tacos containing battered crab meat and a homemade kimchi mayo, but if red meat is more your speed, try the sweet and sour pork ribs that gets flavour and texture from toasted onions, garlic and sesame seeds. As no meal is complete without some veg, tack on the aptly named ‘Get Your Greens’ dish, a colorful combination of homemade hummus, ricotta cheese, pickled beetroots, celeriac, fresh greens and mustard vinaigrette.
If Chef Conrad can give you any guarantee, it’s that you won’t be leaving his restaurant hungry.
📍 La Brise 523, 523 Fuxing Zhong Lu.
Lupulo's quirky interior. Photo via Lupulo's official Dianping
A quaint new Spanish craft beer bar on Changle Lu, Lupulo offers a couple of beers on tap and a much wider selection of beers by the bottle. Here’s the USP: All of the beers, and we mean every single one, are imported from Spain.
Arguably the most interesting beer on tap, the El Boquerón is a flavorful sea salt pale ale and is supposedly the second beer in the world to include the aforementioned ingredient. As for beers in the cooler, the Cyro IPA, passionfruit lager, Boquerón beer and vanilla stout come highly recommended. We also spotted some rare and unique bottles like something called a Spicy Sichuan — that's also imported from Spain, believe it or not — and another brew flavoured with rosemary and honey.
TORO beer at Lupulo. Photo via Lupulo's official Dianping
Beers on tap go for 40 RMB a glass (30 RMB during happy hour), while beers from the cooler start at 45 RMB each. If you’re looking for something other than beer, wine and cocktails, including one with Horchata liqueur, are also available.
Food offerings include a few tapas-style snacks, like cod cakes, Spanish sausages, patatas bravas, and Iberico ham.
Lupulo offers a relaxed environment for customers to hang out over drinks. Guests have been known to strum their own guitars or sing or dance together. It’s a great place to start or end your night.
📍 Lupulo, 718 Changle Lu.
4) Sober Company
She's back, boys... Photo via Sober Company
One of Shanghai's first Covid casualties, Sober Company has found new life in the INS building at Fuxing Park. A place that used to sit proudly in the World’s 50 Best Bars (number 39) as well as Asia's 50 Best Bars lists (number 11), the bar has long harboured hopes of returning to its former glory.
Temaki hand rolls named after international cities. Photo courtesy of Sober Company
So much more than 'just a bar,' the multifaceted space houses Sober Kissa, which has a casual feel on the first floor. Here, you'll find a generous selection of low-ABV cocktails and light Japanese bites with western twists.
There is also a fifteen-seat sushi bar by the name of Sober Izakaya towards the back. Order the Temaki-style hand rolls, each named after and taking inspiration from a different international city. Time Out's favourites include the creamy and rich Casablanca with mackerel, pistachios and bessara (a Moroccan dip made from fava beans), as well as the Mexico City, served with yellowtail fish, salsa and tortilla chips.
The Osaka cocktail. Photo courtesy of Sober Company
But that's not even the half of it.
Upstairs, you'll discover an additional concept: Sober Sakaba, which offers another lineup of food and drinks.
Seasoned drinkers might prefer Sober Sakaba's boozier classic cocktails, which are named after and take a page from various Japanese cities. For example, there's the Kobe, a well-crafted Old Fashioned topped with mouthwatering Wagyu beef, and the Osaka, a Bloody Mary garnished with octopus, bonito flakes, and seaweed — reminiscent of takoyaki.
Inquisitive guests may also want to seek out Sober Company's speakeasy Tipsy on the premises. We won't say more, except happy hunting!
TIME OUT TIP: Be sure to book ahead as seats fill up fast.
📍 Sober Company, INS, first floor, 109 Yandang Lu.
If you visited Bar Rouge in the past, you'll find the view at KEV just as breathtaking as before. Photo courtesy of KEV
KEV has decided to make its home in the space previously inhabited by former Shanghai institution Bar Rouge. While it may have big shoes to fill, the new club-lounge looks like it's up to the task.
The club's name is an acronym short for 'kilo-electron volt,' which, for the benefit of you non-nuclear physicists, is the unit of energy generated by electrons accelerated by strong voltage. While that bit of a word salad goes over our heads, we gather it represents the space's electric vibe.
KEV is an acronym for 'kilo-electron volt.' Photo courtesy of KEV
Expect lots of neon, which matches well with the primarily pop and EDM mashups on KEV's playlist. Of course, as the club picks up steam, it’s likely that many a DJ will try to make their mark in one of Shanghai’s most iconic nightlife spaces.
As far as beverages go, you'll find a page of specialty cocktails on the menu, as well as drink packages aplenty. Meanwhile, house spirits begin at manageable prices but can go all the way up to bottles in the thousands and even tens of thousands (for all you high rollers out there). Whisky is undoubtedly the star of the show here, with about 40 to 50 different kinds available — a selection bound to make any collector envious.
📍 KEV, Bund 18, seventh floor, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu.
SUNSEEK has taken over M!NT. Photo via SUNSEEKER's official Dianping
Another new club with aspirations of reviving a previously inhabited venue, SUNSEEK has taken over M1NT's former space, and offers the same window views, but without the original rooftop, unfortunately.
While the M1NT rooftop may be missing, so is much of the pretension associated with the former space, thankfully. Not a single shark tank (old-school Shanghai-ers, you know what I’m talkin’ about) was spotted during our visit.
The eye-catching bar. Photo via SUNSEEK's official Dianping
A sprawling bar serves as the centrepiece of the space and serves drinks at reasonable prices (for club standards). Meanwhile, the playlist leans more towards house music, and the vibe is more relaxed than at many over-the-top Shanghai clubs of old.
Overall, it’s too early to tell how this place will turn out, but if you don’t mind cocktails running a little upwards of 100 RMB in exchange for great views, we think it's worth the gander.
📍 SUNSEEK, 24/F, 318 Fuzhou Lu.