This venue has closed.
The review below is for Tailor Bar's original location. Check back soon for the new review.
It’s hard to believe there was a time when Jingan was considered a cheap location to live in because there was so little to do. Yet, despite recent development, such as the rise of the Wuding Lu bar strip, the area still lacks a true standout cocktail venue.
Eddy Yang, owner of Tailor Bar, is one of China’s most renowned barmen and he’s looking to rectify this problem. He earned his chops working in London for nine years at the likes of the now-shuttered Detroit, once heralded as an ‘urban cocktail mecca’ by Time Out London.
Back in Shanghai, despite the name’s connotations of exemplary design, Tailor Bar doesn’t look like much. It’s hidden four floors above street level, replete with nondescript decor; only the wonderful view across Jingan Temple saves the setting from being entirely forgettable. The concept offers patrons bespoke drinks that suit their own specifications – order a Manhattan (80RMB) and expect to be asked whether it’s rye or wheat bourbon you prefer. The tailoring is a nice touch that aficionados will get a kick out of, but the lack of a menu can leave the casual drinker flailing and lost.
Results are mixed, too. Our tailored Negroni Twist (90RMB) with tequila, instead of the usual gin base, is bracing and contains the desired oomph. A subsequent Old Fashioned (90RMB) comes with visual flair but tastes weak and lacks any citrus zip. The variation in quality is down to the bar staff. Over a series of visits, we’ve found the results are excellent when Yang is mixing, but less impressive when it’s his trainees behind the counter.
Nonetheless, there’s great promise at Tailor Bar. Yang is a charming host and the venue affords you a control over your drink that few other bars in the city allow, with a good range of spirits and extras to choose from. However, Wang will need a stable, adept staff behind him before its potential is realised.