Bar or den of iniquity? We mean this in the best possible way. Nine times out of ten, you won’t remember your evening at Specters, or it’ll be 5am before you know it.
You don’t go here for a ‘nice drink’ – but in a town overflowing with those, who wants that anyways? The booze menu is short and sweet: bottled Asahi is a dangerous 10RMB, while draft Tiger is less affordable at 25RMB and shots run 20-30RMB. Murphy on tap climbs to 40RMB.
The place fills out and hums with a raucous energy on weekends. On one visit, ‘Teenage Kicks’ was blaring from the speakers while young revellers leaned into towards each other, twisting and turning on the small dancefloor. The next visit... well, we can barely remember that one. The strict punk rock, ’60s soul music programming comes courtesy of one of the owners, Morgan Short of Smart Shanghai fame, visually complimented by Surrealist mash-ups of ’70s and ’80s icons (Devo’s heads on a Motown girl group’s bodies is one such gem) by artist Mayura Jain pasted onto the wall.
Cheap drinks, great music and totally genuine, Specters is unlike anything else in Shanghai. Its fast-and-loose, grungy vibe isn’t for everyone – but if you aren’t ‘everyone’, then you’ll find this five-and-a-half out of five stars.