• Bars
  • Cocktail bars
Photographs: Yang Xiaozhe
Photographs: Yang Xiaozhe
Photographs: Yang Xiaozhe
Photographs: Yang Xiaozhe
Photographs: Yang Xiaozhe
Photographs: Yang Xiaozhe
Photographs: Yang Xiaozhe
Photographs: Yang Xiaozhe
158 Julu Lu
Deus. One of several Latin words for god or deity, it stems from the same root word as the Greek ‘Zeus’, king of the gods. Does that mean DEUS is the Zeus of cocktail bars? Are these tipples divine? Some, perhaps, like the DEUS Rex, a divine mix of rum and spiced, herbal Cinzana Rosso and Fernet Branca aperitifs presented in bell jar hazy with the smoke of house-made cinnamon tincture, which collects around the rim of the glass and slowly edges down toward the sweet, spiced elixir. Others follow close behind, with bits of ancient classics acting as namesakes to signature drinks.

The Found 158 cocktail bar seemed to get off to a bit of a slow start, but that’s been remedied by bringing in bartender Aaron Feder to consult on the menu and run the show for a time (which he’s done for other notable spots like Heyday, Candor and el Ocho). His personal concoctions and revamps of DEUS’s signatures are complex and memorable, and also loyal to the flavours they claim to hold – if you want bitter and sour, like the Bin & Gitters, you’ll get it, if you want sweet, tart and fresh, like the Jack Rose, you’ll get it. It may seem like a given, but fewer bars accomplish this than you'd think.

Served in an orb-like glass, Port of Valhalla is the colour that water turns after soaking a brush used to paint a still life of berries and cream; a milky hue that results from sweet and surprising blend of port wine, Chivas 12 year, Drambuie, coconut cream, pineapple, lime and the aforementioned cinnamon tincture that together taste like wine-soaked ambrosia salad. The Snow Nymph is basically a rich and delicious banana-Baileys milkshake served atop a globe of crushed ice – it’s a perfect stand-in for dessert.

After the mythologically-named signature drinks, the menu moves on to another branch of the classics – Feder’s array of fizzes, sours, smashes, Negronis, Manhattans and the like. The Oscan Old Fashioned is particularly great, blending mescal and tequila with drops of robust mole bitters and aromatic Mexican fernet for smooth, spiced sips with a gentle bite.

Amidst a saturation of venues, DEUS is where to find high-calibre cocktails at Found 158. The only thing the bar is lacking, a bit, is atmosphere, as the dark interior feels a bit cut off from the surrounding venues with their open fronts and floor-to-ceiling windows that look out on the lively complex. We say drink in the comfy cushioned seating area outside if you’re looking for a peppier vibe.
Venue name: DEUS
Opening hours: Sun-Thu, 5pm-12.30am; Fri-Sat, 5pm-2am
WeChat: DeusShanghai
Metro: Huaihai Zhong Lu
English address: Found 158, 158 Julu Lu, near Ruijin Yi Lu, Huangpu district
Chinese address: 黄浦区巨鹿路158号,近瑞金一路