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The Exchange: A Stock Market-Themed Bar That's Rigged

By Feb 22, 2016 Dining
The Pudong Shangri-La is one of the oldest five-star hotels in the city, and for a long time, their F&B spots Yi Café and Jade on 36 were some of the finest in town. Several noteworthy food & bev Shanghai-famous figures have emerged from the kitchen of the latter, including Paul Pairet, Adam Melonas, and Christopher St. Cavish. So when the hotel opens a 20th century finance-themed craft beer bar where the infamous B.A.T.S bar once stood, it should be decent, right?

As part of The Exchange's finance motif, they have a screen with beer prices that rise and fall like a stock exchange. From their website:

"The drinks prices are updated every half an hour. Price changes respond to demand, just like stocks. Thus, the more popular the drink, the higher its price."

Which sounds pretty cool. I suppose. Could be a fun gimmick. Unfortunately, staff at the bar explained that prices are predetermined. New beers get discounted to encourage people to try them. Once they've been on the menu for a while, they raise the price -- just like most bars in the universe. Now, better versions of this stock exchange bar concept exist in other parts of the world, where prices do change in real time, and "market crashes" result in extremely cheap beer for, say, 20 minutes. Again, not the case here.

The Exchange claims to be Lujiazui's first craft beer bar (Jackie's Beer Nest tried opening nearby in 2014 but closed just three months later). On draft they've got Punk IPA, Vagabond Pale Ale, Dead Guy Ale, and Libertine Black Ale, their own brand of German-style lager (brewed overseas) and a few others. Decent selections, and all that tasted pretty fresh. Beers start at 35rmb and cocktails start around 60rmb, plus that classic 15% service charge. Happy hour involves buy-one-get-one on the sweet-but-decent German lager and a few others. They also do burgers, steaks, and snacks like popcorn chicken and duck spring rolls.

One benefit is the privacy, if that's what you're looking for. The place is divided into several rooms, each playing different music (if you stand in the wrong spot, you'll hear jazz and elevator music clash). The overall experience isn't terrible, but if you're really into craft beer, you're probably a regular one at the other craft brew pubs around town that don't have a "smart casual" dress code. The main advantage is the lack of obvious craft beer alternatives in the area, so this might be a spot if you're staying in the hotel or work in Lujiazui, but anyone else grabbing a beer in Pudong will likely opt for a spot with a window and a view.



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