Barman Guide, your guide to bars and nightlife destinations!

Category - Shanghai bars

 
Western journalists have been calling Shanghai “the most exciting city on Earth,” and it’s true that Shanghai is certainly never boring.
 
The city is constantly changing, always reinventing itself. The relentless pace of the place is addictive, as it’s it’s nightlife…
 
The look of surprise on my face, stepping off the plane at Shanghai Pudong International airport as I noticed the noise inside the airport terminal was louder than the runway, is one that only became more horrific the closer I got to the centre of the city.
 
Deejaying in a town like this definitely takes on a new form as a majority of the audience has become desensitised to background sounds and has been trained from an early age to passively block out any sound that’s not at the forefront of their concentration.
 
Deejaying in the U.S. and Japan before spinning in Shanghai really made the audience’s passivity to the music much more obvious. I feel that the overall decibel-level of one’s environment may play a huge part in the development of a musical ear.
 
It seems like a lot of the music that’s well-received in Shanghai is characterised by loud, full-bodied music, without many subtleties or intricate parts. For example, most of the chinese rock band I’ve heard tend to be hard rock, metal, or punk: really abrasive, in-your-face shit.
 
The club music tends to be the same: heavy clubby hiphop, intense drum ‘n’ bass, or over-the-top pumpin’ house music.
 
Whereas in Japan, a relatively quiet society, the music shows a lot of subtle nuances and ambient music is much more appreciated. Deeper loungier music, and intelligent hiphop, and minimal techno was much more popular there than in Shanghai. the U.S. probably falls somewhere between the two.
 
Although there’s a large diversity in the music that’s big in different places, it wasn’t difficult to make friends that had really cool tastes in music. Whether it was the really well-produced indie rock-electronic shit, complex idm, or quieter jazz, a lot of my friends have quite sophisticated tastes in music.
 
I think the noise level in each place plays an important part on how people’s acuteness for sounds develops. I’m not saying that people who grow up in Shanghai can’t develop this sense, just that it may not come as naturally as it does to people in Japan.
 
I know if a Japanese person were to be trapped in my office for a day with my office mate’s phone blaring it’s fiendishly loud and offensive ringtone, chances are you’d find them dangling from their belt by the end of the day.
 
And if you threw a Shanghaiese person into a minimal techno club in Japan, they’d be trying to sing along and clap their hands completely off rhythm!
 
 

December 10, 2008

Pegasus

{xtypo_dropcap}P{/xtypo_dropcap}egasus on a Thursday has etched a name for itself in the nightlife canon as the biggest, sweatiest hip hop party in town.

 

Known to attract a younger crowd of locals, Pegasus is as unpretentious as they come complete with a pool table and a menu of cheap drinks, and has attracted a strong line up of hip hop and drum n bass legends that include the venerable Mr Ice T and LTJ Bukem. Just don’t mess with the door staff.

 

– Daily, 7pm-2am, 2/F Golden Bell Plaza, 98 Huaihai Zhong Lu, Shanghai, China + 86 21 5385 8187

December 10, 2008

VIP Room

{xtypo_dropcap}A{/xtypo_dropcap}s its name would suggest, VIP Room strives to host the beautiful people – you’ll find yourself rubbing shoulders with the chivas guzzling elite who like to flash their cash.

 

Highly stylized in its decor, an oval shaped neon-lit bar dominates the palatial space with plush seating and an encircling balcony for the very vips.

 

While it has the makings of a smart, swanky venue, it struggles to fill up save on the occasions when it snaps select big name djs that have included the likes of Adam Freeland and British breakbeat duo Plump DJs.

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December 10, 2008

Park 97

{xtypo_dropcap}O{/xtypo_dropcap}ne of the oldest and smartest around, Park 97 boasts three separate venues – Upstairs, Lux and California Club – all attracting a well-groomed clientele.

 

It has a solid crew of regular followers, due to a continuous influx of well known djs – most recently James Zabiela and Stanton Warriors, and a suaveness that other clubs can’t cut.

 

The drinks are on the pricey side, but you’ll probably still find yourself with an empty glass of champagne in hand come the end of night.

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club mint shanghai

December 10, 2008

Mint

club mint shanghai{xtypo_dropcap}M{/xtypo_dropcap}int’s cozy space boasts a friendly, laid back vibe that’s always buzzing on the weekend.

 

Funky house music is its formula, but with regular visits, you’ll soon start to recognize the repetitive play list.

 

Their weekly ‘No Man’s Land’ is something of an institution with the ladies of Shanghai – which may have something to do with the free flow of cocktails – the mojitos are some of the best in the city.

For the serious clubbers among you, this place may be a little on the cheesy side, but you can’t deny the carefree party atmosphere.

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December 10, 2008

Fabrique

{xtypo_dropcap}F{/xtypo_dropcap}abrique has finally found itself a dedicated fanbase – those who appreciate the push of fresh talent and obscure beats.

 

Business can be touch and go, but on good nights, you’ll enjoy being part of the crowd. With a slick, minimalist interior, this modish club, formerly known as La Fabrique, is modeled on its sister of the same name in Paris and designed by Francois Marcireau.

 

It’s also a French restaurant, but only when the tables get pushed to the side does the real action begin.

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December 10, 2008

Dragon Club

{xtypo_dropcap}A{/xtypo_dropcap}h, Dragon…we’ve all got a Dragon tale to tell whether it’s a story of love or hate. This is Shanghai’s prime after hours haunt, where all the bleary eyed, pilled up party-goers continue their boozy shenanigans on cramped dancefloors.

 

Tucked away in a two story French colonial house – you will marvel at the sound-proofed walls of this dingy joint. Once inside, the churned out classic house anthems quickly become tiresome.

 

Thankfully people aren’t there for the music – rather the liquor. Entry is steep, but worth it… at least once. Don’t forget your sunglasses – it’ll save you squinting in the glaring morning sunshine.

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Club dkd shanghai

December 10, 2008

Club DKD

Club dkd shanghai

‘Decadence Kills Depression’ or so the story goes at dkd – home to the glammed up coke-snorting party people.

 

A smoky, underground venue with an industrial feel that’s seen everyone from Miss Kittin to Carl Cox, as well as showcasing some excellent local talent.

 

Take a breather from the over crowded dance floor and settle with a drink in the trendy Tempo Space next door – an ambient lounging area complete with illuminated amoeba shapes cut out of the ceiling.

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December 10, 2008

Bon Bon

{xtypo_dropcap}C{/xtypo_dropcap}urrently one of the hottest night spots in town, club bon bon means business. It has drawn in a long line of big name house, trance and breaks djs and an even longer line of eager clubbers.

 

Sister to Britain’s superclub Godskitchen and boasting an electrifying sound system, it’s a vast, dynamic space with a distinctly European flavor in its highly stylized decor. Don’t be alarmed if you find yourself dancing alongside costumed midgets and scantily clad performers on stilts.

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December 10, 2008

Blue Ice Club

{xtypo_dropcap}N{/xtypo_dropcap}ew to the scene, this underground club is not for the faint of heart. Brace yourself as you descend the steep staircase subject to the dizzying sight of flashing sirens, strobes and a winding tunnel.

 

This cavernous venue – verging on the claustrophobic – is coolly outfitted. A long, frosty bar dominates the blue lit room with ample seating and a narrow dancefloor.

 

A visit to the bathroom and you’ll even find gold fish swimming in the basin. Thumping electronic music aside, this place is worth a look in if only for the visual dimensions.

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December 10, 2008

Babyface

{xtypo_dropcap}T{/xtypo_dropcap}eeming with a trendy Chinese crowd every night of the week, Babyface is something of an institution in China, and the sprawling Shanghai branch is arguably the pick of the bunch.

 

The futuristic, psychedelic design is truly giddying and supported by a booming sound system that has seen a notable flow of international djs, including Deep Dish and Judge Jules. Expect a sea of glowsticks and neon lights, that is, if you make it past the surly door staff.

 

– Daily 9pm-4am, Babyface, Unit 101, Shanghai Square, 133 Huaihai Zhong Lu, Shanghai, China, 6375 6667