Yep. Shanghai's 12,000sqm megaclub Space Plus is opening its main club room (it has three) with an actual live DJ. That's unexpected! Caught most everyone by surprise, including other club owners. Our first hint was when we saw a table promoter announcing they were taking reservations. Woohoo. Even if you're not a club person, big clubs reopening are a good sign for those who wake up every morning asking "are things back to normal yet." No word on if your twelve-pack of Moet comes with complimentary hand sanitizer.
There are several factors that could tip us off that things are slowly getting back to normal. One would be schools reopening. The other would be nightlife. And, hey, look at this. Bar Rouge is open tonight from 6pm with no entry fee, and C's is opening on Friday! All places obviously have limitations, they're all pledging to be extra careful with the disinfecting and the wearing of the masks and so on and so forth, and they'll probably be closing a little earlier than normal. (psst. Celia still goes till "late") But hey, nightlife!
California beer brand Stone Brewing has announced that it is closing up its office and retail business in China. That means the taproom on Yuyuan Lu is, which closed last week until March 8, will remain closed for good, and their plans for expansions in Beijing and elsewhere are scuppered. The announcement has come as a surprise, to say the least. Since opening back in August 2018 (when we checked it out), Stone has consistently been rammed with patrons. For a brand that delights in making dramatically hoppy, bitter and bold beers—flavors that are still catching on in a market dominated by mild and/or fruity stuff—that's an achievement. Check the full statement from Stone HQ, which name-checks the trade war and coronavirus as deciding factors, after the jump.
The speakeasy old guard is down one member. Founder Sam Kuan has posted a WeChat article (in Chinese) announcing that Barules will be closing at the start of next month. He cites factors such as declining business, an uncertain future, the natural lifecycle of cocktail bars, and yes, the coronavirus, as contributing to the decision to close. The tin-roofed speakeasy, "hidden" behind a phone booth on the corner of Fenyang and Fuxing Lu, has been a regular entry on Shanghai's speakeasy lists and articles since it opened in 2014, at the height of the speakeasy wave. Six years is a pretty good run. Their last day is March 3, and they're open until then.
New nightclub and restaurant Ce La Vi has wrapped up operations on the Bund for the foreseeable future, if not for good, according to company statements. The luxury nightlife chain has locations in Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo and, as of November 2019, Bund 27 on the eighth floor of The House of Roosevelt. On 7 February, they announced in email that "it will be suspending operations... until further notice in light of the current trading environment in the city." In a followup email on 17 February, they confirmed they have "offered voluntary separation terms to all our staff", which have been accepted, and that their "future strategy for Shanghai is under review". Don't call it over, in other words, but we're not playing this game for a while. They promise to issue an update "in due course".
Oh man. Shock closing just shy of CNY. Austin Hu just announced on his WeChat Moments that Birds of Paradise, the neo-tiki bar he opened with bartender Yao Lu, will have its last day of operation on January 21. Yikes. Ouch. Oof. The bright, tropical, neon-drenched island for exuberant froufrou drinks and Polynesian-inspired comfort cuisine was the first of its kind in Shanghai, and it's a real shitter they're having to close barely six months into their run. No reason given, though one can speculate. We liked it a lot, but apparently Shanghai wasn't in the mood for Scorpion Bowls. They're cooking off the rest of the stock, pouring out the bottles and moving on to the next thing. Last chance to get a decent Zombie this Tuesday. Austin's WeChat post after the jump.
Dada is closing its Shanghai club this Saturday for good and no one could be happier about that than Michael Ohlsson. The owner, perpetually beset by nightlife randomness and slaughtered by hangovers, needs some rest. Kidding! Just kidding Michael! We’re sad! So ahead of the closing party, Ohlsson pulled out ten MORE behind-the-scenes stories about all the crazy shit that happens when you run a club for 11 years in Shanghai. (He’s done this for us before. These are new stories.) Hit the jump for those!
Guinness quietly opened a flagship across from Wheelock Square and forgot to tell anyone. We stumbled across it on the way home from the boozer. It's called the Guinness Gatehouse, and it has, by our count, about thirty taps pouring pints of Irish champagne for the lowest price in Shanghai. Plus, they'll print your face on it for free. Here's a joke for you: a brewery worker fell into a vat of Guinness and died. When his wife heard the news, she burst into tears and demanded to know if it had been a quick death. "Did my poor husband suffer?" she asked. "No," replied the foreman. "He got out three times to piss before he went under the last time."
It happened! He promised to be back and he has kept his promise! Probably! Unless something goes horribly wrong again. All right. Let's run it back one more time: "Grammy-nominated British R&B, garage and pop royalty Craig David! Bo' Selecta Craig David (by the way he hates that), that Craig David, is bringing his TS5 tour to Shanghai." It's happening on February 17 at Bandai Namco Hall, which is definitely an upgrade from Jing'an New Sports Center they booked last time. Shame I blew through all the obvious lyric references last year, too. Ahem, uh, I guess "all of this time, that you been waiting / seems like now you got what you want." Kinda Girl For Me. Trust me. Tickets to Craig David TS5 in Shanghai available on SmartTicket.
After hibernating for the winter holidays, Shanghai's underground nightlife is back with a vengeance this weekend. All of the venues have live acts or big parties, from dark electronics superstar Andy Stott at 44kw (he crushed ALL last year) to absolutely gonzo Japanese act WaqWaq Kingdom playing live at Dada to three-man Italian DJ team Agents of Time at Celia and Euro darling rRoxymore playing at ALL. Then you've got the big local nights, including Popasuda, Hologram Dreams and Genome. And if all that's too angular for you, there's a few other options.
We're six days into 2020 and it's already looking like it might be curtains for humanity. So, here are a couple of spots around town pumping out free booze in the now, near, and semi-near future. To dull the pain.
Co. Cheese 2 is celebrating today's unseasonable climate change demonstration, by cracking a free keg of Asahi at 6pm and going until it runs out, and then every Monday for the rest of the month. The Blind Pig is doing free select drinks on Fridays from 8-9pm. Ladies drink for free on Thursdays at the same place from 9pm-midnight. Going a little further into the future, The Rooster does a similar deal on the first Friday every month: free flow prosecco and a rotating cast of beers from 6-7pm. That means the next one is on Friday, February 7. If we make it that far.
Senior citizen activity center DADA is closing in January. Man, that's sad. It's been 11 years since the lovably grimy nightlife shop opened at the back of a Xingfu Lu alley, behind the snake shop, and in a corner of the city where no one minded when they turned the volume up. So many parties, so many dj's, so many stories from founder-man Michael Ohlsson, so many lost nights and ringing eardrums. Why? Eh, it was kind of inevitable. Clubs don't live to a dozen years in Shanghai. They had a good run. The official cause of death is "Building being knocked down". They say they'll be looking for another location. Meanwhile, they've got a slew of parties planned before the final January 18 blow-out (details forthcoming). This Friday, Ohlsson himself will be doing his all-night extravaganza, DJ Ozone's Trashy 80s Party. Go get him shots and give your condolences and maybe whisper a tip about some grimy old empty building you know about that he can move Dada 2.0 into. Tears...
KOR Shanghai, the extension of the Taipei venue is finally juuuust about neeeearly ready to open in Wheelock Square. If you haven't heard, it's a very big name lounge from Taipei's theLOOP and Shanghai's own MUSE group that's been teased since earlier this year. We finally got a presser on it. Stand-out phrases: "a refined hip-hop alternative to ubiquitous EDM-fueled nightclubs," "best described as a Super Lounge," "chrome-plated custom-design VOID Acoustics sound system."
Chrome-plated, y'all. Sounds amazing. Shoe-in for hottest lounge of 2020. Hip-hop's taking the crown back! The actual opening date is set for *mumble mumble* but there's a special invite-only sneak preview happening this weekend. "Invite only" sneak previews are the softest of soft openings. The meringue of soft openings. But in case you know someone who might be able to get you in, now's the time to get back to them on WeChat. The rest of us will have to wait a little longer.
The 18th annual Iron Mic is happening tonight. What’s the Iron Mic? Only China’s longest running Chinese rap battle, going on nearly two decades, back to when it was called Battle Grounds/Blazin' MCs. We wrote a long piece about it a few years ago. Back then, the founder said “Hip hop is very much a socialist movement.” In the intervening years, the TV show The Rap of China happened and completely changed the field for hip-hop in China, adding mainstream credibility (and money) to a very underground past time. Many stand-out contestants on the TV show were, in fact, Iron Mic veterans. If you are at all interested in hip-hop in China, you want to be there. Ticket info here.
Oh Liquid Laundry. Getting the holidays all drunk and stuff. To wit: Liquid Laundry is giving away the 198rmb two-hour free flow to anyone who shows up for brunch on December 21-25 dressed as Sanny Klaws, aka The Man in Red, aka Papa Noel. Santa. Santa! Dress up as Santa and drink for FREE. There's only one catch, you've got to actually buy something to eat; you can't just walk in there and drink. Which is probably just good advice anyway. Hail Santa!
Next Monday is the annual Drink Magazine Bar Awards (DMBA) aka the High-Functioning Alcoholics Olympics, and as a result, the city's flooded with even more world famous bartenders than usual. Like, way more. A lot of them are doing guest shifts this week and next. Details after the jump!
Shanghai's nightclub scene acts like it's reinventing itself after a messy divorce and custody battle. The storied fourth floor space in Hong Kong Plaza that the second MYST (relocated from MYST (Yan'an Xi Lu)) once occupied (and which M2 occupied before that (until it moved to Huaihai Zhong Lu) before rebranding to WANN all in the last two years––are you following? I feel like I may have lost you) has been renamed to BEEHIVE. No one tell Beyonce. Skrillex has been announced as its first big, big name performing on December 18. Brave, considering his well-documented phobia of bees.
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