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5 New(ish) Cocktail Bars to Mix Things Up

Here are five new ("new") spots around town to get alcoholic drinks with two or more ingredients in them. Varying levels of gimmick included.
2022-07-07 17:00:00

Drinking in bars: it's a thing again! (For now, at least?) Before the lockdown, SmartShanghai went and visited a bunch of spiffy new cocktail bars. Then, someone pressed ‘pause' on our lives for a few months. Now, with life (sort of) back to normal, we're happy to report that these five new (ish) cocktail bars all managed to have weather the storm and are currently open for your fine drinking needs. Wanna check out a place you might not have been to yet?


1/F, Bldg. 1, Blackstone Apartment,... View ListingTaxi Printout

This one isn't new. But it wasn't open when we went to check out the Blackstone Apartments and we kinda sorta forgot to go back and check when it did. Whoops.

This glass-fronted, two-floor whiskey/cocktail lounge is in the back corner of the Blackstone Apartment effnbeeplex. Judging by the impressive standee at the door and the wall of premium bottles, Glenlivet might be involved.

The dark ambience and woody earth tones screams whiskey lounge (especially the cavernous, leatherbound VIP room) but the cocktail menu isn't a slouch. For looking like a whiskey lounge, the menu looks more like a tiki bar. Lots of tropically-inspired, fruity drinks. Very few were brown and served in old fashioned glasses!

Also, it has a very nice terrace overlooking the courtyard. Good to note as the weather turns.

Cocktail Prices: 108-128rmb


1/F, 291 Fumin Lu, near Changle Lu View ListingTaxi Printout

Atelier's been on SmartShanghai enough times to have its own inkwell. We worry about its home life.

The latest from Daniel An's down-to-earth, very competent cocktail bar is that it upped sticks from the troubled More Than Eat complex and moved into the (apparently better managed?) Fumin Triangle complex.

The new Atelier is quieter, brighter and spread over two stories. It finally evolved into the restaurant it wanted to be, looking more like a tile-and-steel bistro than its cement-and-wood predecessor, with a kitchen to match. The food coming out is being worked out – "super soft open!" – but looks to be a little bit of everything from the Tastebuds family.

Drinks are not an afterthought! They're still simple, unadorned, named after their dominant flavor, and – and in an article filled with 100rmb+ cocktails – sitting pretty at 88rmb. They are also good. You should go have them.

Cocktail Prices: Around 88rmb


2/F, Bldg. 1, 758 Julu Lu, near... View ListingTaxi Printout

This lock-and-key themed bar opened late last year. You reach it by going up a construction elevator and past a bare-concrete unit to a door on a mostly abandoned floor of Julu 758. It gets serious speakeasy vibes as a result, even if it is because the developers never managed to make the years-old building feel done.

Anyway, Lieben! It looks good. A fun, gimmicky cocktail without looking like they copy-pasted a design template off Barspace. There's some originality there. Maybe not a date spot, unless being walked through a construction site is their idea of fun.

The cocktails are all right. They only have one signature drink, which is smoked and topped with the unpleasant creamy goop you find crowning novelty butterbeer drinks. Their classics are much, much better. They'll also do that thing where you can match flavors to them from a list and they'll "invent" you a cocktail for 95rmb. Sure! Try it once.

Cocktail Prices: Signature 120rmb, Classics 85-95rmb.

Door's Store

553 Beijing Xi Lu, near Shimen Er Lu View ListingTaxi Printout

Speaking of gimmicks, here's a speakeasy behind a fake Hong Kong bodega front. Nostalgic throwback, or beating a horse that's been dead five years. There's a big old coca-cola fridge which, surprisingly, isn't the entrance, so maybe this is like a tongue-in-cheek homage?

It's been open since late last year. The interior is small and terribly cozy. Neat VIP room too. Dangerously close to Harry Potter cosplay café, especially the backroom, which is all forgivable except the cocktails cost 120rmb and were bad.

We had a couple imaginative, dramatic, interesting sounding cocktails presented by a personable, tastefully attired staffmember and at best they were serviceable. At worst, they were doing calf raises on the edge of undrinkable.

Hope they get that sorted out.

Cocktail Prices: 110-130rmb


50 Fengxian Lu, near Shimen Yi Lu View ListingTaxi Printout

Opened at the very end of 2021, Carter took over what used to be that elevated bakery on the corner of Shimen Yi Lu and Fengxian Lu and turned it into a – and this isn't meant flippantly – a platonic cocktail bar. It has the subdued lights. It has the high and low and bar seating. It has nice bottles behind the bartender. It has the polished bar top. It has erect people in vests and crisp white shirts making drinks. The short list of signatures all stick close to tried-and-true formulas.

It's just... nice. That's all I can say. It has nothing that makes it stand out and that's kind of refreshing. It does all the things a cocktail bar is supposed to do well: drinks, ambience, music volume. Even the very pedestrian view out the windows has a down-to-earth appeal to it. Shades of Hopper's Nighthawks, or something. Lost in Translation. Whatever. Pick your own flavor of suave, urban ennui.

The toilet's kind of a pain to find though, it's out the back door, right and down the stairs, you're welcome.

Cocktail Prices: 108-128rmb


SmartShanghai would like to sincerely thank our dear friend Alex P-however-you-spell-this-last-name for his years of service, drinking around the city for us! Tough job but someone had to do it and he did it better than anyone else. We doff our caps and bow in humble reverence. We wish him safe travels, all the money, fame, and riches in the world, and a big fat drinking expense account wherever he roams...