Shanghai must be the hungriest and thirstiest city in the whole damn world because the new bars and restaurants just keep coming.
If nothing else this heady climate of hope and optimism is intoxicating!
Mmmmmm, take it all in! We're all gonna get rich! Everyone's gonna be a huge success!
Here's a roundup of Food and Bullshit going on around town that we've come across since the last time we did one of these.
Popular round-the-way Polish food eat-and-drinkery Perogie Ladies has rebranded to Jar Bar. They're still offering all those good-time perogies but are also embracing a new emphasis on pickling things and putting them in jars. Also booze. Sounds crafty and lovely. We can dig it.
Old (no, ancient) standby French bistro restaurant Le Bouchon has reopened after closing for renovations and they've revealed they're going hard in a different direction. Their new menu reflects their new emphasis on wine — they've pretty much dialed back the nuance and personality on their entire home-style French bistro menu and have changed it to being straight ahead, standard, you'll-see-these-everywhere wine-complimentary dishes. And they've built a huge wine cellar to match.
Another long-running restaurant has likewise shucked off the old and embraced the new. Balini & Bali Bistro, which predates Jing'an Temple, has switched owner / management hands and is called 75WHD, and is offering Indonesian satay and global dishes.
The Apartment came back and went back. (Lease was up?) And then it was re-launched as Red Box, with more emphasis on stage shows and performances. They've re-branded yet again to Figo. And so it goes…
Interesting things are happening at MESS, out near the Modern Art Museum. Their new seasonal menu is bringing Middle Eastern flavors, along with a fusion of south east Asian influences. Will make a special trip down.
Just one RIP this week: pizza-pasta-cafe Acote on Yanping Lu has bowed out of the game.
Bring on that new-new. Food and drink:
Hold on to your top hats and monocles, The Harrods Tea Room is open on Weihai Lu and it looks proper and brilliant and British AF. They're offering an "elegant choice serving afternoon tea with finger sandwiches, pastries & scones, plus champagne." Seeing as we just bought a Scottish lordship off of Facebook, we're INTO IT.
Officially opened two days ago, fine dining steakhouse Shaughnessy restaurant & bar is now taking guests, with that big brass balls expensive-steakhouse-with-a-Bund-view kind of energy. USDA prime beef is on the menu plus an optional add-on, after your meal, to hunt the deadliest game — MAN — in a deathmatch arena located under the venue. (Not really but those are the vibes.)
SUR Eatery and Bar has opened at Tianzifang, specializing in waffles — avocado waffle dishes, salmon waffle dishes, and more, as well as coffees, and laid-back, no pressure atmosphere. A bit of a twist on a lunch and brunch kind of thing. Would check it out.
Newly opened "wine and dine" concept Mojokaya is now in the Blackstone Apartments off Fuxing Lu. It's got kind of a music theme with guitars and records on the walls, and they're hosting in musical entertainment to compliment the “wine and dine”. The "wine" is there but the "dine" is coming in December when they sort their planned fusion menu out. Maybe one to keep an eye on.
That space that used to be Flaming for literally five minutes is now Eldivino Thai, coming from a French / Thai owner. It’s got a prime location right around the corner from the Funkadeli / Cantina Agave nexus of the universe, and they're looking to draw people in with traditional Thai dishes (Tom Yum soup et al.) with a bit of singular fusion-ness thrown in there. Atmosphere swings more… umm… "contemporary".
This week's swanky AF cocktail bar is Insomnia on Huaihai Zhiong Lu. The sister bar to Hypnotic, they're serving up eye-wateringly expensive pop culture-themed cocktails (around 120rmb) in a dark, sleek, arty, serious, and industrial environment. Looks pretty evil actually. But in a '90s nu metal kind of way. Like Blade is going to bust through the doors at any moment looking for the head vampire, just dusting mofos with his sword left and right.
Another new bar on the already crowded Xiangyang Bei Lu. Include whiskey and wine bar is now open, offering a slightly quieter and laidback drinking experience on this usually rowdy strip of real estate.
Ibarrel opened with a hot damn, cracker of a wine deal on Ziangning Lu in Jing'an. 99rmb gets you three hours free-flow wine, "dozens of wines to choose from" any time of the day. Shit, that's pretty good. Food to wash it down is standard Western — burgers and such.
Multi-functional dining space Cometa is soft open along Suzhou Creek. Apart from serving food and drinks, they also sell homeware / fashion products, and host private events. A very cosy and stylish spot. One to check out if you live in the area.
More newness out there in clubbing land:
998 Bar is a new hip hop bar at Julu 758. Their promotional video does that thing where it speeds up really fast and then goes into slow-mo when it focuses on people doing a cool lil' dance move. Cut to really young kids dancing around tables that have bottles in ice buckets on them. Cut to hand moving a fader on a mixer. Cut to a DJ looking serious, nodding his head like yeahhhhh and putting on his headphones. Cut to someone uncorking a bottle and champagne going ***splooosh***! Cut to people “getting on the mic”. Am I done? Do we need any more info on this?
The new enormous and baffling club of the week is 17 Club opened on Huaihai Zhong Lu. Their promotional videos feature more rapid zooming camera techniques of pretty girls dancing, which means more tech-house. It's got lots of lights and lasers. And… yeah.
Onlineness club at MIX320 is now open. It looks like TRON. Their videos have some dudes in braids rapping into KTV mics in front of DJ booths and people politely pogo’ing in front of them, kinda like House of Pain Jump Around style. Maybe get someone else to talk about these clubs, eh, SmartShanghai. All these kids can stay THE EFF off my lawn.
On the Horizon…
We came across two scaffoldings of note recently. True Legend has their brand up in front of the location that used to be Lucky Diner next to Funkadeli. And Shanghai Love has theirs in front of the venue that used to be White Castle.
Ahh, White Castle…
We'll end off with an unconfirmed-but-yeah-it’s-happening rumor: burlesque / drag club of yore Candor is coming back.
It’s all in the tease…