With Shanghai bars dropping like flies at the moment, a new cocktail den from Daniel An, the man behind Wukang Lu’s excellent Taste Buds Cocktail Palace
, couldn’t be more timely. Shrine is tucked away above The Factory, another soon-to-open bar also from An that’s hidden out the back of the new United Valley development on Changle Lu. It’s not the easiest spot to find therefore; head to the left of Xin Cafe on the ground floor and try your luck with the ‘secret’ door.
Set in a similarly intimate space to Taste Buds (you may need to book ahead on weekends), Shrine features two semi-private lounges in addition to the bar area, and a menu focused on infusion-based drinks.
While you’ll find a list of ‘vintage, classic and forgotten’ cocktails, the main interest comes in the original Shrine offerings, which range from the tequila, Islay whisky, elderflower and amaro mix of No. 1 (88RMB), through to the cinnamon-infused whisky, fresh pineapple and lemon of No. 13 (also 88RMB). Along the way are vodka and gin offerings, with a particular stand out being the punchy but well-rounded No. 3 which blends rosemary-infused gin with absinthe, blueberry marmalade and lemon juice topped off with an egg white foam.
As you’d expect from someone with An’s pedigree, the drinks (though expensive and small portioned) are largely faultless on the flavour front, while the low-key atmosphere makes for a good drinking environment for those who can afford it.
By Jake Newby