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First Look: The Shelter 2.0
Back into the basement...
By Sep 18, 2015 Nightlife


Some Background

You know the place -- it's The Shelter. The rawest spot in Shanghai, and the first club on Yongfu Lu. Underground Resistance played there on opening night in 2007. Artists like Madlib, Pete Rock, Juan Atkins, The Bug, Kode 9, J. Rocc, DJ Spinn, DJ Paypal, Ceephax Acid Crew, DJ Bone, and hundreds more have all played there. They very rarely do brand parties, and it's probably the one place you can't DJ at just because you know somebody, or because you can "bring people". They don't work with promotion crews, or pay white people to sit at tables. For better or for worse, they'd rather have an empty floor than play cheesy tunes. They are not the friendliest people, but they keep it real.

In a world of free tables, free alcohol, "international DJs", and wack EDM, The Shelter is just that -- a shelter. An antidote. A refuge. An alternative.

And also a really grim, grimey, and foul-smelling place, with an aesthetic that many found repulsive. In recent years, even the hardcore heads were asking, "mate, couldn't you at least fix up the toilets a bit?" Well, Shelter finally renewed their lease (which was in doubt for much of the last year), so they shut down for about six weeks to do a bunch of small renovations that add up to a better clubbing experience. It's still a basement, but a nicer basement.

Note: We can't reveal the new layout in this article. The friendly management insisted that your correspondents leave that as a surprise for those who come to the opening party tonight. We'll update the article next week.

What's New?

In General…

- The place is even darker. They've painted everything black, including the walls and pillars
- Floor is brand new, and should be much easier to clean when water leaks down there
- The ticket booth is now at the end of the tunnel, so if people really need to check if their friend is inside, or see what's going on, they can have a peek
- A much more powerful fan, which should clear out that damp funk a bit better
- More security cameras, to look after their champagne collection
- Bathrooms are now separated between men's and women's. There is no longer a common sink area.
- *** NEW TOILETS ***
- More dancefloor space
- The club is now open Tuesday-Saturday, because the Sub-Cinema night is moving here from Dada in October
- For whatever reason, they redesigned their logo

The Sound

- Brand new, much bigger DJ booth, with proper drawers, and a little area to the side that could act as a "backstage" area for artists who need such things
- Speakers have all been repositioned so there's true stereo sound now (was mono before)
- All new wiring, mixing board, CDJs, and projectors
- Subs are now stacked all together, in front of the DJ booth. More bass.
- Those ghetto-ass table lamps on the DJ booth are gone. Instead, there are dimable lights above the booth.
- Because of the new speaker placement, there are less "dead spots" (places where the music sounds shit).

The Bar

- All new bar
- Prices are slightly higher -- about 5rmb steeper per drink on average
- Now they've got six kinds of bottled beer, including Chouffe Blonde, Leffe, Baird IPA (brewed with wasibi and green tea), plus the usual Asahi, Tsingtao, and Corona
- Each kind of spirit now has two options -- a low-end and higher-end. For example, Gin and Tonics can get made with either Gordon's or Hendrick's
- They've got some new Tequilas and a Mescal
- New ice cubes -- "Proper block ice" -- and new glasses.
- They're selling disposable E-Cigs by Shanghai Vape (~35rmb), as well as proper earplugs (~180rmb)

What's The Same?

- Most of the staff. It's still managed by Gaz and Gary, and the Bao'an and Ayis are the same. One new Ayi coming in though.
- The cover price will be roughly the same
- The music policy. No commercial shiz
- That area in the back. They did a few minor renovations but not much
- There's still two emergency exits -- one by the bathroom and another in the back

What's Coming Up?

- A lot…Here's the crews and DJs playing in the next few months:

Highlights include the opening party / SVBKVLT compilation release on September 18, Do Hits takeover on Sept 30, Ranking Joe on October 2, Psychemagik on October 4, Laurel Halo, The Field, and Sam Barker on October 18, and TASO (Teklife) on October 24. Also, they'll be open every day during the October holiday.




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  • 4 years ago theannoyingtick

    @Ian You seem to forget that it's not the first club on Yongfu lu. Before Shelter was Blue Ice...

  • 4 years ago Ian L

    @theannoyingtick: Guess we can call this Shelter 3.0 then, because it's the same owner as Blue Ice. Same space.

  • 4 years ago psinology

    Nice one Gaz et all, congrats on the upgrade, will swing by soon to have a peek!

  • 4 years ago nikubu

    " first club on Yongfu Lu"... It's not.
    " They don't work with promotion crews" They do.

    Getting so hard to read this guy's article...

    @Ian Can you at least pretend you care? Stop being so damn sour on everything. Your tone is unbearable for the good readers at home.

    @Smartshanghai WTF? Is Shanghai that dry of good writers that give a shit?

  • 4 years ago didah2k

    any1 knows exact dates? especially for kid koala? ;) also, u-brown? that 1980ies "please mr. doctor" u-brown?

  • 4 years ago jtf87

    In a nutshell, they moved the bar to the right side wall, repainted the walls black and refitted the bathrooms. The music is still tame, boring stuff that pleases anyone provided they are off their heads on drugs. And for the luxury of the paint job and new sinks you get to pay more for entry and for drinks at the bar. A gin and tonic now sets you back at least 40rmb, this place is quite the disappointment.

  • 4 years ago ryry

    @jtf87. You come off as a right dour-puss. Loving you stating your own opinion as fact...fact: ladies love it. Keep it up. They had a six week renovation period, so so what if they try to recoup their costs a little.
    PS - you're really having a whine and moan about a 40rmb (ish) spirit+mixer?

  • 4 years ago AGH

    Recently moved to China and living in Nanjing. I am poppin' over to Shanghai this week and VERY excited to check this place out. Some of the acts that have been here such as Kode9! I mean WOW. That is a BIG sound. Can't wait.

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