- Beijing’s Best Sights
- Beijing’s Best Restaurants
- Beijing’s Best Nightlife
- Beijing’s Best Arts and Leisure
- Beijing’s Best Shops
- Beijing’s Best Hotels
- Best of the Great Wall
- Shanghai’s Best Sights
- Shanghai’s Best Restaurants
- Shanghai’s Best Nightlife
- Shanghai’s Best Arts and Leisure
- Shanghai’s Best Shops
- Shanghai’s Best Hotels
- Shanghai’s Best Excursions
Whether you’re happiest in a wine bar, love dancing until dawn, or enjoy listening to live jams over a cocktail, you’ll find something to suit your tastes in Shanghai’s varied nightlife scene. As Shanghai has grown over the past couple of decades, nightlife hubs have come and gone.
Maoming Road in the Old French Concession was once a thrumming bar street, but the action moved to Tongren Road to make way for development. Now Tongren Road has been cleared for a new retail complex and many of the bars have been relocated to a bizarre, underground Vegas-style compound called Datong Mill on Julu Road.
Often, visitors to Shanghai don’t venture beyond the swanky hotel bars that overlook the city (and charge big money for the privilege), but there are some excellent, convivial, and innovative bars that don’t cost a fortune.
It’s possible to drink for free if you’re female in Shanghai, thanks to the proliferation of Ladies’ Nights at many clubs and bars. It’s also possible for both genders to get tipsy for cheap at “open bar” events, where the cost of a ticket entitles you to unlimited drinks all night.
The drinking and clubbing habits of local Shanghainese people tend to be different from the resident Western community. While KTV (karaoke) and dice games form the backbone of Chinese entertainment, expats tend to prefer cocktail lounges, terraces, and sports bars. That isn’t to say that the twain never meet; weekends at the big clubs see a good mix of locals and foreigners and the scenes are gradually converging.
© Susie Gordon from Moon Beijing & Shanghai, 2nd Edition