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Famous Japanese Martini Lands on Huashan Lu: Suzu Bar

By Mar 1, 2019 Nightlife

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Tucked behind a staircase on Huashan Lu, there's a new Martini you might want to know about. Suzu Bar is a small, dark, semi-circular room with about a dozen bar chairs and a bit of lounge seating, named after the bartender. He's a protege of Ginza gin godfather Takao Mori: the Martini master, the gin God, the septugenarian himself, who trekked all the way to Shanghai for a guest shift back in January. People who don't go to bars might recognize this is as the building that used to house Sproutworks. Now it's a bar. Hedonism wins again! How is it?

It's Japanese! They bow when you come in. They carve the ice by hand. They treat cocktail-making like a ritual. Such hospitality! They serve you a little cup of hot vegetable soup and a warm towelette when you come in.

Not particularly solemn, though. The entrance has an animated LED floor, the soundtrack's more 50's and 60's rock and blues classics than navel-gazing avant-jazz, and the bar staff are a little... irreverent. Suzu filled a Martini to about a molecule's-breadth of the rim for me, inched it it across the bar top, and then giggled as I leaned forward to slurp the thing like a neanderthal. They have fun here at Suzu Bar.

Slurp, because every drop is precious. Average price is like 110rmb, even if most drinks have a cheap(er)/expensive option. For example, their excellent Gin Martini comes with either Gordon's for like 100rmb, or 128rmb using Roku, a Japanese craft gin. No Boodles on the menu, Mori-fans. Nice that they have options, but they've blown past the acceptable price threshold (mine is 85rmb), even for cocktails served by people in bowties.

Shanghai"

I've been back like four times now. It's something about the atmosphere. It's dark and it's cozy without being narcoleptic. The bar staff seem like they genuinely enjoy the company of their guests (for 110rmb a pop they'd better). It feels like a refuge, a great spot for a quiet date or a private conversation. And only a handful of people seem to know about it. Their Dianping page is barren, and I only found it by word-of-mouth. So! Don't mess it up for me. Don't go. But go. Order a Martini. Just keep it quiet.

Suzu Bar, 1/F, 301 Huashan Lu, near Changshu Lu.

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