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The latest technological advance in SmartShanghai's ongoing war to stay on top of new venues opening up around town, The Radar is a weapon of mass diversion, pinpointing the buzzed about bars, clubs, and restaurants in Shanghai, giving you strictly the facts. Zip zap.

Glam

Sep 2, 2015
by Ian L.


Area: A vintage piece from 1925 called Five On The Bund, a.k.a. The Nissin Building. In 1999, many considered long-time Asia restaurateur Michelle Garnaut insane for creating Shanghai's first fine-dining option on the Bund there after China opened up. Before her M On The Bund, dining options in the area included Shanghai's first KFC (in the Shanghai Club / Dongfeng Hotel / now-Waldorf Astoria). Now, ironically enough, Five On The Bund houses KFC's experiment in fine dining, Atto Primo, high-end yakitori joint Kanpai Classic, and of course, M On The Bund, which shares the 7th floor with Glam. The 6th floor, once home to Glam's deceased predecessor Glamour Bar, has become a ghost floor, inaccessible by elevator.

What it is: The third in 2015's series of much needed, sophisticated-but-unpretentious additions to a Bund scene that felt stagnant and lame for years, the first being The Nest, followed by Shen. Perhaps this is the year of reasons to drink on The Bund, a resurgence that could continue as its boundaries expand and all that construction on the North Bund and Cool Docks finally finishes.

Glam is the lounge sequel to Glamour Bar, a classic Shanghai venue that enjoyed a fine run of soirées and literary events from 1999-2014, when the landlord allegedly tried to triple the price. Michelle wasn't having any of that, so they said goodbye to the 6th floor and redesigned the space opposite to M on the 7th that used to hold private functions. The Wall Street Journal penned a nice eulogy when Glamour departed last year. Well, the new reincarnation is here, and Michelle's Shanghai International Literary Festival -- which held court at Glamour, to much acclaim -- is scheduled for November, albeit in scaled-down form.

More of a lounge than a restaurant, Glam does cocktails, wine, small plates, and a few main dishes. Executive Chef Hamish Pollitt mans the kitchen, turning out Asian-inspired dishes like a Peking duck pie and a king crab omelet, along with small plates like blood sausages and salmon. Heading the bar is the same dude who's been at Glamour Bar since the start, with a new menu of drinks with playful names like "MY MILKSHAKE BRINGS ALL THE BOYS TO THE YARD". They're doing their own bitters too. Two pieces of technology deserve mention. One is an Enomatic, which is like a vending machine for wine. The other is a soft-serve ice cream machine churning out flavors like salted vanilla. That should be fun when folks get turnt up. Then there are dim sum inspired dessert carts. Basically, it's a playground for adults, but not the tacky kind.

Atmosphere: A wealthy, eccentric world traveler's living room. Chairs with mismatched fabric that somehow go together perfectly; art -- all from Michelle's personal collection -- from at least ten different countries, including a large, custom-made piece by Christopher Doyle at the entry and a huge mural by Texan artist Brenda Houston (actually from Houston) in The Kissing Corner; century-old windows that look out over [mostly] the Puxi side of the Bund; LIFE SIZE PEACOCKS; video art and animations -- some featuring a large table of diners chopping the heads off something -- dripping from the walls; crystal bead curtains; tropical luxury vibes. Mom would dig, as would Architect Cocktail Date. From what I can see, they don't do the whole air-conditioner-sized-champagne-bottles-with-fireworks shtick. Pretty sure they don't pay white people to sit at tables, either.

Music Policy: Jazz and lounge tunes early in the night, streaming out of some modest Bose speakers at a reasonable volume. Later on, some funk and boogie. Heard a Bootsy Collins track on a first visit. Seems like the kind of place that realizes that sometimes a good playlist is all you need. Wouldn't expect any DJ bookings here.

Damage: This is the Bund, so you can spend rap video money here if you want, but you could also get away with having a couple drinks and a bite for around 200rmb a head. Cocktails start in the 60s but hover around 88rmb, and can reach 148rmb for G&Ts made with premium gin [and rare tonic waters] and those giant ice balls (they melt slower). For food, you're looking at several small plates (36-68rmb) and a few entrées in the low 100s. Lots of wine by the glass or bottle, too, starting at around 60rmb for the former.

Who's Going: Well, here's who isn't going -- kids under 18. Michelle has a strict adults only policy. Also, people looking for a raging, fist-pumping Bund sesh with glowsticks and EDM trax should steer clear. Like Glamour Bar, Glam will resonate with a slightly older, grown-and-sexy crowd that reads books and talks about real shit -- designers, authors, poets, artists, globe-trotters, and folks who have accumulated some good stories during their time on earth. And naturally, their hangers-on.
Opened: Sept 2, 2015 | Address: Five on the Bund, 7/F, 20 Guangdong Lu, near Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu | Full Listing Prices: House wine, 60rmb | Cocktails, ~80rmb | Ginger-Glazed Duck Dome Pie, 108 | Soft serve ice cream, 28rmb.

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