Southern Belle is on Changle Lu right around the corner from The Mansion, the complex that houses Cantina Agave
, La Dolce Vita
, and that absurd wood and concrete cyborg club, TOP VIP 88 VIP 88 TOP.
Southern Belle has taken over half the space that was home to the short-lived Effigy cafe.
What is it:
Managed by Sean Fitzgerald (he did a stretch with Bourbon Street
on Hengshan Lu and Big Bamboo
), Southern Belle is a bar paying homage to the culture of the Southern U.S. It’s a smaller place, drinks being their main focus (heavy handed pours), but they also have a small kitchen doing sandwiches (Lone Star Corned Beef, Rueben James, Pastrami Po' Boy) and southern pastries (Mississippi Mud Pie, Pecan Pie, Sweet Potato Pie, Lemon Pie, and more).
It's coming from sports bar terrain, but it’s classier with a fuller menu of cocktails, less crap all over the walls, and emphasis on group drinks rather than sporting events. On their two big screen TVs they're going to do movie nights and TV shows (i.e. "Dukes of Hazard").
The south will rise again. Southern Belle is done up in the iconography of the south, and it's all wood and Confederate gray on the walls. Even the logo is a reference to the official flag of the Confederacy ("the stars and bars").
They’ve got a Savannah-style parlor/fireplace, a "5-star Texas bar", and a bathroom that’s been done up to look like an outhouse -- half-moon swing doors and all. In the summer time their patio is going to be the big selling point, and it’s nice and spacious enough.
Music on the stereo is southern culture on the skids: southern rock, bluegrass, country, even some Cajun/zydeco. Come on feet, we was born to move.
A big part of the place is the manager Sean Fitzgerald himself, who comes across as a cigar-chomping J.R.-type character, sloshing bourbon into your glass and telling stories.
Significantly under its counterparts in the Shanghai sports bar market. The sandwiches are going for 35rmb to 60rmb, mixes starts at 35rmb but they're harder pours, 500ml Budweiser drafts for 30rmb, 330ml Vedett drafts for 40rmb. Bottles from 25rmb. And Xin Kiang Dark for 25rmb as well.
They've got a long happy hour with 2 for 1 on drinks from 2pm until 8pm, which means getting drunk in the afternoon on a patio for cheap.
Southern Belle is sliding into the sports bar/pub market and filling a gap for the frugal American drunkard. Good patio, nice happy hour deal, and cheap drinks in general. At the risk of sounding sexist, it's also more female-friendly than your average sports bar with the "Savannah Lounge". There’s also nothing like it in the actual area, so it would appeal as well, I think, to neighborhood Americans stuck behind enemy lines in the French Concession.