Candor (CLOSED)

57 Maoming Nan Lu

This venue has closed.

This venue has now moved to Maoming Lu.

This hotly anticipated new cocktail bar on Shaanxi Nan Lu has more than a hint of ‘wow’ factor about its appearance. Weaved iron letters display the bar’s name across a tinted red window, allowing a sultry, smoky glimpse inside. The rouge-dressed interior is dominated by a huge sweeping bar, a semi-circle that has something of the circus about it and a pole running through the middle (we’re yet to see it used). Neatly turned out staff whizz around the bar, which is lined with lightbulbs, amid striped black and white patterned coasters, candelabras, heavy curtains and tall red bar stalls.

The seating largely surrounds the bar, which Candor’s founders hope will facilitate ‘interactive involvement between guests’. A nice idea, although if it transpires that you end up interacting with somebody undesirable you can nab one of the few adjacent tables. Then again, this would mean you’d risk missing out on some of the spectacle behind the bar that Candor is all about. Bartenders will appear offering ice cream and jelly made from various heating and cooling processes – somewhere between mixology and a chemistry experiment – while each drink is artfully prepared.

With high prices – most drinks are around 100RMB, and some push up towards 200RMB – it’s innovation and quality that you’re paying for, two traits we’ve come to expect from owner Aaron Feder, formerly of El Ocho and Heyday. We love the You Don’t Trust Me (178RMB), a crisp take on a gin and tonic, although we can’t help but wish there had been more economies made to bring the price down.

For those who prefer something sweet and fruity on the palate, try The Millionaire’s Wife (88RMB), based on Appleton Estate Rum, sloe gin, raspberry lambic and apricot brandy. It is, to use a technical term, yummy. And to top off the night, try the whiskey-based Deez Nuts (88RMB), a creamy short drink with Amaretto, Town Branch Rye Whisky, egg white and honey syrup.

One other area where the bar nails it is the soundtrack. As the evening works through classic hits from the likes of Pulp, The Streets and Queen we find our toes tapping in approval.

For now, we suggest stopping by at the weekend – the song and dance is definitely tamer on weekdays, and it’s clear that the bar has been designed with theatricality in mind. It’s also clear how much work has gone into setting up Candor. The attention to detail is impressive, the staff members are extremely friendly and attentive, and the cocktail quality is excellent. Whether the eye-watering prices will prove prohibitive to regulars however, remains to be seen.

Venue name: Candor (CLOSED)
Metro: Huaihai Zhong Lu
English address: 3rd floor, Lyceum Theatre 57 Maoming Nan Lu, Changle Lu, Xuhui district
Chinese address: 茂名南路57号,3楼