Most popular nightclubs in Shanghai! Oooooooo. Controversial. But, wait, there's a catch: this is not "SmartShanghai's Top 10 Best Nightclubs Ever in Shanghai" or our favorite nightclubs. It's your favorite nightclubs. How did we determine this? Data. Numbers. Analytics. This is based on which nightclubs consistently get a lot of views on our site. If your favorite isn't on here, type it into the search bar more. So without further ado!
Browse our full directory of nightclubs in Shanghai here.
It's back! The new Elevator (doesn't have an elevator) is a mid-sized dance club with a community vibe. Music is mostly house and/or techno, though disco or hip-hop slips in depending on the night. Regular nights include Medusa, VOID, Space Out, Love Bang, and more. It's also the first club in Shanghai to ban camera phones (they put a sticker over your camera). 1 strike = verbal warning, 2 strikes = you're out on the street. The crowd is everything from scene veterans to new kids, and it usually goes until 5am on Fridays and Saturdays. Cover is ~80rmb on weekends.
An exclusive hip-hop lounge above Tongren Lu, marked by the team of dark suits manning the barrier. Hard to get in unless you’re on the guest list, or you know someone, so it’s developed a crowd of regulars. They’ve recently redecorated, paring down to a single bar, freeing up space for more tables, and added a beer pong table. Leans towards the Champagne-popping ABC demographic, with a smattering of foreign college students. No cover!
The original Found 158 club and a transplant from its storied Yongjia Lu location, Arkham is STD's garden. It's a cross between a concert venue and a club with a real industrial aesthetic. The music heaves towards what's hot with the kids: dubstep, trap... stuff you can snap your neck to. Recent-ish bookings have included Thundercat, Lil' Yachty, and Chromeo. Crowd sizes vary dramatically based on who's performing, but if there isn't a show on, expect it to be empty. Cover is 60-80rmb.
One of the biggest nightclubs in Shanghai, certainly the biggest in Found 158. It's 3,000sqm of industrial party space, owned by a Shanghainese actor, catering to wealthier young Chinese who like to hang out (or hope to hang out) with local celebs. 12-meter long bar, lots of LED and hologram projectors — it's a mainstream Chinese club writ large. No fixed music program, but expect occasional Top 100 DJs and EDM the rest of the time. The bouncers are tough and getting in can be hard for some foreigners. Cover is ~100rmb any day of the week.
The other, other nightclub in Found 158, more underground than TAXX and less trap-heavy than Arkham. The owner is a fashion photographer from Beijing, and he's divided the place into two rooms: a front area with the bar, ping-pong tables and a slightly impractical lounge area, then a back-room with a very excellent VOID soundsystem that'll set your whole nervous system humming. Music program is often underground and local, and attracts a similar crowd. Boiler Room used it as their background in May, and recent bookings have included Basic Channel artist Fluxion, Berlin's Radio Slave, and Ostgut Ton's Tobias. Cover is 120rmb during special bookings.
Mixing a fast-paced cocktail bar with a hyper-photogenic dancefloor, UP is the distilled wisdom of a bunch of F&B people from Revolucion to Captain and Unico. It has the determined party-vibes of a Latin lounge minus the soundtrack, a kitchen that stays open til 2am and Sunday brunch on the terrace. Hard to pin down. The music program's upbeat and open format. Some hip-hop, but on weekends it's a free-for-all. They host break-dance battles, and it's lit like a music video. The crowd skews mid-20s and up. Cover is 100rmb on weekends for guys, includes a drink.
A classic dive bar/dance floor that is a bastion for local DJs who play all stripes of underground dance music from Wednesday to Saturday. Caters to a younger Chinese and expat crowd in a comfortable, pretense-free environment. Drinks are cheap, there's ample lounge seating, and music varies from night to night depending on who's playing. Popular nights here include Popasuda (global bass and whatnot from Skinny Brown), Hologram Dreams (Heatwolves and friends play cybernetic city music), Fun 12 Inches (Tobias Patrick and friends go from underground disco to 90s rave) and Come Correct (DJ Caution and a large crew doing hip-hop every Wednesday). It's managed by a Shanghai-based independent promoter, so expect the DJ/music crowd lounging therein. Friday and Saturday are always busy by midnight, whereas Thursdays are totally hit or miss. They're celebrating their 10-year anniversary soon and have a sister club up in Beijing that's a hit as well. Cover only for special events.
A big, flashy local nightclub in Xintiandi, it's run by Sino Group, who have several other venues in town, including MYST (R.I.P.). If you went to clubs like Myst or S2 in the past, it's similar but with a more futuristic vibe. Tables, bottles, EDM music and trance on the music program, and a decent sized dancefloor. Sometimes they do international bookings, and local DJMag darling DJL has been known to do sets here. Cover is ~100rmb any day of the week.