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[The Collection:] Classic Japanese Cocktail Bars

Aug 10, 2019 | 17:29 Sat



Avenue Joffre

Room 1, Bldg 5, 570 Yongjia Lu, near Yueyang Lu View Listing Taxi Printout
Avenue Joffre

This is a high-quality cocktail bar in the space that used to be Fount's bar in Surpass Court. The head man is Mune-san, a Japanese cocktail guy who used to be the main shaker at el Coctel. He keeps things classic, and is a bit of an institution. Room for about 60 people to sit.

Ars & Delecto

222 Jinxian Lu, near Shaanxi Nan Lu View Listing Taxi Printout
Ars & Delecto

It means "art and delight" in Latin. It's a cafe-by-day and izakaya-bites-and-proper-cocktails place by night. Modernist Euro-damaged cafe on the first floor and a bar/lounge on the second, with understated white marble, and Toulouse-Lautrec-style fin de siècle prints on the walls. The drinks, broken into Signature and Classics, are themed around modernist expatriate globe-trotting, with exotic ingredients and allusions to far-flung places. And pricy. But subtle, refined and interesting nonetheless.

Suzu Bar

301 Huashan Lu, near Changshu Lu View Listing Taxi Printout
Suzu Bar

Shanghai project by a couple of the people behind Bar Alcocase, it's named after their head bartender, Suzu, a protege of legendary Tokyo cocktail king Takao Mori. Opened in late-late 2018, on the surface it's a demure, subdued Japanese cocktail lounge with a half-moon bar and lounge. Just underneath that, it's a little cheeky: the bar staff have a good sense of humor, and the atmosphere is welcoming and cozy but not sleep-inducing. Drinks are pricy but exquisitely, almost painstakingly crafted, and they'll even serve you up a little cup of hot soup when it's cold out.

Bar Constellation (Xinle Lu)

86 Xinle Lu, near Xiangyang Bei Lu View Listing Taxi Printout
Bar Constellation (Xinle Lu)

Constellation was once a hidden gem, a pioneer on China's cocktail bar scene, prized among expats for its exhaustive selection of well-made cocktails and its down-tempo, wood-paneled, very Japanese style bartending. That was long ago. Since then, the city's cocktail scene has exploded, but Constellation remains a reliable choice for anyone needing a well-made classic drink in a quiet atmosphere with an endless bowl of barsnacks. This space on Xinle Lu was the original, and it's still going strong. Still classy, soothing, and reasonably priced.

Bar.Permanently

6/F, 427 Fuyou Lu, near Henan Nan Lu View Listing Taxi Printout
Bar.Permanently

Tucked behind an unmarked door in a commodities building in Yu Garden, Bar.Permanently is a one-man operation behind a mahogany bar-top with maybe eight barstools and not much else. The bartender is an XYZ alumnus who explicitly wanted a bar you'd never find unless you went looking. Something about only having people in your bar who actively want to be there. There's no menu and the prices are in the 80rmb range. If you want an actual speakeasy, this is your spot. Reservations by WeChat highly recommended.

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