What It Is: Glory is a 3-floor café and lounge bar by Cross Yu. He had started his career working the bar at Laris (now Mercato) at Three on the Bund, did a big stint at M1NT and a few other notable positions, as well as winning several world-class mixology competitions. And all this before even opening his first solo project, E.P.I.C., which has become part of the bedrock of the Shanghai cocktail scene. He’s been mixing drinks here a long time, and certainly earnt his stripes.
This latest project is ambitious and includes three concepts: a ground-level café and event space, a second-floor cocktail lounge where Cross and his team do what they do best, mixing up playful twists on classic cocktails and innovative drinks, and the third floor ‘Attic’, a VIP space set to open around May with plush booth seating and tableside service. Word is the drinks here will have an infused gin focus and customers are encouraged to play around with their own creations.
Area: Glory is a 5-10 min walk from Changping Lu metro station in Tonglefang, the courtyard that is home to Zeitgeist, Chair Club and Tacolicious. In the unlikely case you don’t know Tonglefang from those three restaurants, you’ll probably know it from the annual Jing’an Christmas market. This end of Jing’an is also packed with places to eat and drink, making Glory primely positioned for a few drinks on either side of dinner.
Atmosphere: The lounge is slick. A neon-skirted island bar swoops a U through the center of the room, and where there’s not exposed concrete, there’s chrome. The furniture is stylish, with a warm pastel color that schemes strike a nice balance with all the metallic sheen. Cross says the style is ‘retro-future’. Glory is a 70’s vision of a contemporary cocktail bar.
During the week things are calm. The sound: unintrusive soul and disco music interspersed with the odd feel-good number. When the weekend swings around things pick up. You won’t be able to grab seats at the bar without a reservation, people begin drifting towards the dance floor and a DJ plays a more upbeat score, sometimes with Cross jumping behind the decks himself.
You can get a decent cup of coffee at ground level, but the café is more cool than comfortable. The room doubles as a space for art and fashion workshops and is thus kitted out with stuff for people to sit around looking good on. I’ll buy you a drink upstairs if there are not some super-hip wanghong types taking pictures of themselves in there when you visit.
Drinks To Try: Everything is 98rmb and you’ll get a small glass of something tasty and vodka-based as a welcome drink on arrival.
Northern Comfort – A rather pretty looking whisky-based drink that pairs hawthorn-infused Maker’s Mark with a ruby port. Lemon juice and simple syrup add a sharp-sweet note and the egg white a little foam. The result is a well-balanced drink with deep flavors that’s glorious to the last sip.
Holy PAO – Beefeater Pink Gin, homemade cherry tomato syrup, lemon juice, simple syrup and PAO grapefruit pomelo come together to in the Holy Pao, a damn refreshing drink.
Black TAI – Pistachio fat washed Black Tears rum is mixed with Cointreau, lime juice, simple syrup and egg white for a tiki number that looks like it was dropped off by a loud-shirted individual who needs two free hands to join the conga line.
The Food: Cauliflower Tempura Korean Style (78rmb) a moorish dish of crispy battered cauliflower in spicy sauce KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) style. There is a surprise nugget of chicken in there somewhere so vegetarians should approach with caution.
Fried Steak Sandwich (108rmb) is a breaded ribeye sando served on two skewers that makes it ideal for sharing. The BBQ katsu dressing and sour cabbage slaw mean it can turn messy.
Mushrooms Sake Udon (78rmb) Another one that the vegetarians need to watch out for. This creamy bowl of mushroom udon is a good stomach-liner, but those bonito flakes - katsuobushi in Japanese – on top are made from fermented fish.
Glory Octopus and Chilli Bean (98rmb) doesn’t quite hit the mark. The octopus was a bit dry and the beans lacked the spice and flavors of ginger and smoked paprika that the menu listed.
As an aside, the chicken liver mousse with umeshu was sold out when I went back but I’ve eaten it before and it’s too small for 78rmb. Skip it and stick to items 3-6 on the menu to get more kick for your kuai.
In All: Glory is a good spot for drinks and vibes. Cross and his team know what they are doing in the cocktail department and Glory is arguably one of the better bars in the area. They also do a decent coffee, if you can stomach the Instagram-generation.
Looking for somewhere to have an after-work drink? Then check out SmartShanghai's Cocktail Bar Directory to see what's near you.