It's time to take advantage of this excellent weather and take every opportunity to be outside. There's nothing better than socializing on terraces and rooftops during this brief window of glorious temperatures after winter and before the plum rains kick in. Here's a list of our top picks for Shanghai's best Al Fresco dining spots, because food and drinks taste even better in the open air.
Image courtesy of The Peninsula Shanghai
Managed by The Peninsula Shanghai, The Balfour is located in the Former British Consulate building. The food is an excellent representation of Southeast Asian cuisine with highlights being the beef rendang and Sambal Lady's Finger. This magnificent historical mansion is also a great location for al fresco afternoon tea with a view of Lujiazui's modern skyline offset by the period architecture on the Puxi side.
Open daily, 9am-10pm. See listing for The Balfour.
Image courtesy of Big Bamboo
Drawing big crowds for major events like the World Cup and Superbowl, both locations of this popular sports bar have ample patio seating, where you can enjoy happy hour specials and classics from the expanded food menu. Head indoors to catch the big game on the flat screen televisions or play a round of pool. Both branches also have outdoor play areas to keep the little ones busy.
Open daily, 10am-2am (Hongfeng Lu), 10am-2am (Sun-Thu, Hongmei Lu), 10am-3am (Fri-Sat, Hongmei Lu). See listings for Big Bamboo.
Image courtesy of Bird
We enjoy this personable wine bar and kitchen any time of year, but rooftop season is where it's at. Talk about an ideal location for chillaxing over spritz and wine. In fact, it's entirely possible to while away an afternoon beneath the brightly colored Aperol umbrellas.
Open every sunny Wed-Sun, noon-8.30pm. See listing for Bird.
Image courtesy of Blackbird
Over at Columbia Circle, Blackbird has two outdoor areas for double the fun. They've got a terrace right out front as well as a rooftop garden. Upstairs is where they host movie nights every Wednesday through Sunday as well as monthly parties featuring DJs and live music. Keep an eye out for special events and oyster deals all summer long.
Open daily, 11am-1am (Sun-Thu), 11am-2am (Fri-Sat). See listing for Blackbird.
Image courtesy of Bread Etc.
French bakery Bread Etc. opens the terrace at their Nanjing Xi Lu location every day at 4pm. The central location makes it a convenient stop for after work snacks and simple cocktails. Think sandwiches and toasts paired with white sangria, Aperol spritz or prosecco. They occasionally throw parties or book the space yourself and throw your own.
Terrace open daily, 4-10pm. See listing for Bread Etc.
Image courtesy of The Bull & Claw
The back garden at The Bull & Claw is as wonderful for weekend brunches as it is for evening surf and turf dinners and their Wednesday night Sundowners Grill. Enjoy the steak, lobster, craft beer or something off their robust list of cocktails while taking in the great wide open. Not to mention this year brings frozen Aperol spritz, how's that for taking a good thing and making it better? Available at sister restaurants D.O.C. and Hooked too.
Open daily, 11am-late. See listing for The Bull & Claw.
Image courtesy of The Langham Shanghai
At level one of The Langham Shanghai in Xintiandi is Cachet, where you may enjoy the warmth of the summer while watching the world go by. An ice cold glass of Brander Urstoff German beer with any of their savory choices a great way to spend a summer day.
Open daily, 6.30am-midnight. See listing for Cachet.
Image by Betty Richardson/That's
Calix is a contemporary Western restaurant and bar in Xintiandi, serving burgers, steak, salads, seafood and diner-inspired fare, alongside a cocktail menu and wine list. The expansive outdoor patio makes for a particularly nice vista in warmer weather, while inside plays host to live music in the evenings.
Open daily, 10.30am-2am. See listing for Calix.
Image courtesy of Jing An Shangri-La
The Calypso Terrace Lounge was made for al fresco dining. The modern, two-storey structure retracts its tall glass in the warmer months, and the manicured greenery gives out a fresh vibe in the heart of the city. It’s a Mediterranean fare here—authentic Neapolitan-style pizzas, Italian burrata and house-made pastas that can be paired with wine, 24 of which are open for tasting.
Terrace Lounge opening hours: Non-winter season (Mar-Nov), 2pm-1am (Mon-Thu), 2pm-2am (Fri), noon-2am (Sat), noon-1am (Sun). Winter season (Dec-Feb),2pm-11pm (Mon-Thu), 2pm-midnight (Fri), noon-midnight (Sat), noon-11pm (Sun).See listing for Calypso.
Image via @miasun/Instagram
Oozing a casual vibe and boasting an enviable garden-view, The Cannery is a definite if you’re looking for great food and amazing cocktails with the option to sit outside. Plus they have blankets if you want to relax on the lawn. You may enjoy any of their daily deals (Steamers & Suds, Taco Tuesdays, Whisk(e)y & Wing Wednesdays, Brunch and (monthly) BOGO Champagne Campaign) there plus full food service and wine bottles on special for RMB250. Did we mention dog-friendly?
Open daily, 5.30pm-1am (Mon-Fri), 11.30am-1am (Sat-Sun). See listing for The Cannery.
Image via @teresa_loves_food/Instagram
Casual Mexican eatery, Cantina Agave arguably put Donghu Lu on the map when it comes to boozy outdoor drinks on their sunny streetside terrace. Indulge in Tex-Mex favorites, which are good value and designed for sharing and pairing with margarita pitchers and Mexican beer.
Open daily, 11am-1am. See listing for Cantina Agave.
Image by Cristina Ng/That's
Shanghai is home to the sister restaurant of Hong Kong's iconic Café Gray Deluxe housed in the newly opened Middle House hotel. The restaurant and lounge bar has several outdoor areas including a spacious terrace that overlooks Nanjing Xi Lu. The best part is 50% off bottles of champagne from 5-8pm. That champagne deal extends to their monthly BBQ parties on the last Thursday of the month. Who doesn't love popping bottles of champers on a hip terrace?
Open daily, 6.30-10.30am (breakfast), 11.30am-2.30pm (weekday lunch), 11.30am-3pm (weekend brunch), 5.30pm-10.30pm (dinner). See listing for Café Gray Deluxe.
Image courtesy of The Captain
For years we flocked to the bar at Captain's hostel for cheap AF drinks with a killer bund view, but this hip loungey iteration made its way into our hearts a couple of years back. Expect craft cocktails and tasty eats to go with the breathtaking city scene.
Open daily, 5pm-1am. See listing for The Captain.
Image courtesy of the Fairmont Peace Hotel
The Cathay Room terrace of the Fairmont Peace Hotel is nothing short of luxurious with its own private butler and sommelier. All that, and a stunning view of the Bund to boot.Their indulgent brunch is a great way to experience this stunning location. Executive sou chef Mark Wang makes meals to remember with the very best seasonal produce, freshest seafood and treats such as foie gras, charcuterie and cheese.
Open daily, noon-10.30pm. See listing for The Cathay Room.
Image courtesy of Chez Jojo
Chez Jojo draws inspiration from rural drinking establishments called guinguette. These lively spots are known as great places to enjoy an unpretentious meal with plenty of affordable wine. If that wasn't enough, they have a pleasant upstairs terrace to boot.
Open daily, 3.30-11pm (Mon-Fri), 11am-11pm (Sat-Sun). See listing for Chez Jojo.
Image courtesy of Coconut Paradise
A Shanghai rennovated villa mainstay, the gorgeous tree-lined garden at Coconut Paradise feels truly tropical in the evening and compliments a menu of classic Thai dishes. We say order a spicy Thai Zeed cocktail and pretend you are on a Southeast Asian getaway.
Open daily, 11.30am-2pm, 5.30-10.30pm. See listing for Coconut Paradise.
Image courtesy of Commune Social
Consistency is our favorite word when it comes to restaurants, and this casual Jing’an restaurant delivers every time with contemporary, delicious food that won’t destroy your budget. Open for drinks, lunch, dinner and brunch.
Open daily, noon-2.30pm (Tue-Sat lunch), noon-3pm (weekend brunch), 6-10.30pm (Tue-Sat dinner). See listing for Commune Social.
Image courtesy of Cotton's
Cotton Ding has a knack for creating lovely chilled-out spaces in old Shanghai villas, and her two eponymous bars have been favored by al fresco loving tipplers for over a decade (the Anting Lu location opened in 2005, Xinhua Lu in 2008). Both Cotton's have plenty of outdoor patio seating ideal for post-work happy hours or casual brunching. Oh and Mondays are Mojito Monday when two minty fresh and delicious rum cocktails are sold for the bargain price of RMB68.
Open daily, 4pm-2am (Mon-Fri), 11.30am-2am (Sat-Sun). See listings for Cotton's.
Image courtesy of The Cut Rooftop
This outdoor bar and lounge is located on the seventh floor of iapm Mall overlooking the city center. While a great place to hang out any time, we highly recommend either the popular happy hour from 5-8pm for a range of seasonal fruit based G&Ts or their Tuesday oyster nights when Fine de Claires go for RMB98 a dozen or RMB58 per half dozen.
Open daily, 3pm-1am (Mon-Fri), noon-2am (Sat-Sun). See listing for The Cut Rooftop.
Image courtesy of D.O.C. Gastronomia Italiana
Aperitivo and al fresco go together like peanut butter and jelly, or should we say Aperol and arancini? Lucky for us D.O.C. (which moved to Dagu Lu this year) not only has a sweet open-air space but also ridiculous drink deals. Schedule a 'meeting' and hit up D.O.C. for RMB25 Aperol spritz from 4-5pm after which they increase in price by RMB5 each hour until 8pm. The deal also includes Campari (if you like your spritz with a bite), Peroni bottles or house wine plus arancini balls.
Open daily, 11am-late. See listing for D.O.C. Gastronomia Italiana.
Image courtesy of The Fellas Terrace
This Bund-side rooftop terrace is tied with Goodfellas, a popular Italian restaurant on the ground floor. As such The Fellas promises the same chilled out vibe, stellar views of the Huangpu River, wine and cocktails. You can enjoy the spectacular view of the Huangpu skyline with pizzas, beer, cocktails and wine. Can't be mad at that!
Open daily 5.30pm-2am. See listing for The Fellas Terrace.
Image courtesy of el Bodegon
When we get a craving for punchy Peruvian flavors and affordable Argentinian grass-fed steaks, we hightail it to el Bodegon. In summer months, we suggest their Panyu Lu location for the killer terrace where you can enjoy a 150g steak plus glass of wine (RMB100) every Monday to Wednesday in the open air. Or if you have time for afternoon tea indulge in two dulce de leche-stuffed alfajores, one flan and a maté set to share (RMB58). Happy hour runs in conjunction for RMB35 per gin and tonic, mojito, margarita, Aperol spritz and michelada from 2-6pm.
Open daily, 11.30am-10.30pm (Mon-Fri), 11am-10.30pm (Sat), 11am-10pm (Sun). See listing for el Bodegon (Panyu Lu).
Image courtesy of The Camel Group
This subterranean lifestyle hub has fast become the expat pit - or expit, zing! - of choice. Formerly Datong Mill, Found 158 is home to a varied array of restaurants, bars and performance spaces, and retains its quaint open air charm and quirky positioning in the heart of a local park. Enjoy the afternoon and evenings in restaurants including Hooked, El Santo, Little Creatures, Cyclo, Pera and more.
See listing for Found 158.
Image courtesy of Funkadeli
Funkadeli has come far from its early days as a delicatessen with a knack for making spritz to two full on food and beverage destinations which resemble smart European bistros with long bars stacked to the rafters with Campari and Aperol. The real fun happens when the weather gets pleasant and you can sit outside with the other Donghu Lu (or Yanping Lu) party animals.
Open daily, 11am-1am. See listings for Funkadeli.
Image courtesy Gaga Cafe
Shenzhen chain, Gaga, has opened its first Shanghai location in the former Saint Mary's Girls Middle School historical building within the Raffles City Changning complex. The modern cafe covers two floors and with a lovely terrace. The food is classic cafe fare with an emphasis on seasonality and healthy eating with a wide range of ‘gaga fruit teas’ inspired by Spanish sangria and Eastern tea culture.
Open daily, 10am-10pm. See listing for Gaga Cafe.
Image courtesy of Ginger by the Park
A favorite of weekend brunch seekers, Ginger by the Park has a beautifully serene terrace overlooking a quaint park. An eclectic menu of Southeast Asian dishes and Western brunch classics awaits.
Open daily, 10am-11pm (Mon-Sat), 10am-10pm (Sun). See listing for Ginger by the Park.
Image courtesy of Highline
This restaurant and lounge bar within the Ascott Hotel has a spacious patio overlooking the Xintiandi neighborhood, and sexy interiors that lend themselves to nights out and formal occasions alike. Highline serves a menu of contemporary Western food designed to be shared, alongside a craft cocktail program.
Open daily, 11am-1am. See listing for Highline.
Image courtesy of Kartel
Go to the Kartel rooftop to take in the city's energy and the stunning Jing'an skyline, while taking advantage of a generous happy hour that runs from 6-8pm daily with select wine, beer and cocktails for RMB35. Add in some yummy food and wine combos starting from RMB108 for a perfect date night or friends night out.
Open daily, 6pm-2am. See listing for Kartel.
Image courtesy of Legend & Co.
Conveniently located a stone's throw away from the bustling Jing'an Temple area, Legend & Co. is the perfect spot to enjoy outdoor food and drinks after a long day at the office. The Blind Pig is on the first floor, with a branch of the True Legend Group’s popular Mexican Cantina, Pistolera upstairs. You can order food from either restaurant on the shared rooftop terrace.
Open daily, 10am-1am (Sun-Thu), 10am-2am (Fri-Sat). See listing for Legend & Co.
Image courtesy of Morton's Steakhouse
For a prime location that screams ‘I heart Shanghai,’ our compass points to Morton's Steakhouse at the ifc Mall for sheer al fresco panache. Its fourth-floor patio opens up to a majestic sight of Lujiazui. Really, you can’t ask for a better backdrop to go with an uptown steak lunch.
Open daily, 11.30am-10pm (Sun-Thu), 11.30am-11pm (Fri-Sat). See listing for Morton's Steakhouse (IFC branch).
Image courtesy of Mayita
Mayita’s sunny terrace is made for enjoying a refreshing margarita against a sweeping view of the city we call home. This restaurant has gone all out with all day every day brunch and free flow drink packages. Keep the sangria (RMB150) and the margaritas (RMB185) pouring for hours. Happy hour also runs from 5-7pm.
Open daily, 11am-3pm, 5pm-10.30pm (Mon-Fri), 11am-4pm, 5pm-10.30pm (Sat-Sun). See listing for Mayita.
Image courtesy of M on the Bund
No list of the city’s best terraces would be complete without a mention of the oldest Bund restaurant, M on the Bund. Classy but not overpriced, M on the Bund is the full package. Make sure you try the pavlova.
Open daily, 11.30am-2.30pm (weekday brunch), 11.30am-3pm (weekend brunch), 3.30-5.30pm (afternoon tea), 6.15-10.30pm (dinner). See listing for M on the Bund.
Image courtesy of Peking Inn
Peking Inn has quiet, the expansive wrap-around terrace with the feel of chilling out at a friend's house... if your friends serve signature Chinese cocktails created by award-winning mixologist Chris Xi paired with traditional family recipes from old Beijing. Filling thin pancakes (chunbing) with an array of yummy fillings like leek, bean sprouts, vermicelli, cabbage and omelet makes for a fun, interactive outdoor meal.
Open daily, 5pm-2am. See listing for Peking Inn.
Image courtesy of Pistolera
Sip margaritas and savor authentic Mexican cuisine outdoors at any one of Pistolera's locations across town. Whether you're looking for a quiet meal complete with tacos, enchiladas and fajitas, or are down to grab some Coronas with friends, each branch is equipped with a nice terrace that is sure to serve as a great backdrop no matter what the occasion. Dance enthusiasts will also be happy to know that it's salsa night every Thursday from 9.30pm onwards at the Hengshan Lu and Jing’an locations.
Open daily, 10am-11pm (Biyun Lu), 11am-11.30pm (Hengshan Lu), 10am-1am (Sun-Thu, Nanyang Lu), 10am-2am (Fri-Sat, Nanyang Lu). See listings for Pistolera Mexican Cantina.
Image courtesy of POP American Brasserie
This so-called ‘American brasserie’ is headed by David Chaveau, previously of The Peninsula. He damn well knows what’s up when it comes to the kitchen, and serves contemporary dishes alongside a spectacular Lujiazui skyline.
Open daily, 11am-2pm, 5-11pm. See listing for POP.
Image courtesy of Roof325 Restaurant and Bar
Located at the top of the Shanghai History Museum, Roof325 allows guests to experience the ambiance of its location while sampling fresh international flavors. Enjoy brunches or interactive tableside dinner service while taking in the gorgeous People's Square view from the terrace.
Open daily, 11.30am-10pm. See listing for Roof325 Restaurant & Bar.
Image via @real_summer120/Instagram
Having kept the city suitably inebriated on Donghu Lu for several years now, Shanghai Brewery's terrace is consistently full of beer aficionados on sunny days and warm nights. This is a great after-work or pre-gaming spot before you mosey around town.
Open daily, 11.30am-1am (Mon-Thu), 11.30pm-2pm (Fri), 11am-2am (Sat), 11am-1am (Sun. See listing for Shanghai Brewery (Donghu Lu)
Image courtesy of STYX
Envisaged as a sort of ‘international house of skewers,’ STYX is a charismatic little restaurant inside Yong Ping Li, a redeveloped complex on Hengshan Lu. The concept aims to unite various global traditions of skewers, as seen through the lens of owner Pascal Ballot’s travels and international upbringing.
Visit their patio Tuesday-Friday for a lunch set featuring your choice of an appetizer, a skewer and a side dish for RMB98 or show up between 4-7pm for 50% off selected alcoholic beverages.
Open Tue-Sun, 11.30-10pm. See listing for STYX.
Image courtesy of The Peninsula Shanghai
Shanghai’s resident ‘one percenter’ restaurant has a magnificent terrace with unparalleled views of the Bund and Pudong. Impress hot dates, out of town guests and clients with the fabulously old school cocktails at this rooftop hot spot.
Terrace open daily, 5pm-12am (Sun-Thu), 5pm-1am (Fri-Sat). See listing for Sir Elly's.
Image via tacolicious.sh/Instagram
Tacolicious is a red-bricked two-story haven of modern Mexican-American fusion. Take your double-decker tacos up on rooftop patio and enjoy the glow of tequila-shaped fairy lights with your choice of margarita or paloma.
Open Tue-Sun, noon-11pm. See listing for Tacolicious.
Image courtesy of Together
French-Asian sharing plates from the talented Bina Yu coupled with dessert magician Kim Melvin's post-meal treats are even better on the venue's terrace. This Neri&Hu-designed wonder fits comfortably on tree-lined Yuyuan Lu with clean, minimal brickwork that echoes the older buildings nearby.
Open daily, 10am-10pm (Mon-Fri), 11.30am-10pm (Sat), 11.30am-4.30pm (Sun). See listing for Together.
Image courtesy of Banyan Tree Shanghai on the Bund
Located on the rooftop of Banyan Tree Shanghai on the Bund, TOPS does Godiva afternoon tea, Sunday brunch and cocktails best enjoyed while overlooking a breath-taking panoramic view of the Bund and Pudong skyline. Modern lights and cozy decorum provide an elegant touch to getting, well, drunk outdoors.
Open daily, 11.30-12am. See a listing for TOPS.
Image courtesy of UP Shanghai
UP Shanghai is the result of a collision of talents led by co-founders and industry veterans Geo Valdivieso and Victor Doukov, with design courtesy of Max Trullas Moreno (MTMDESIGN), art via Siu Tang (The Orange Blowfish) and Asian-ish premium fast food from chef Carlos Sotomayor.
Take a spot on the colorful patio from 7-10pm for happy hour from Tuesday to Saturday or go crazy with brunch free-flow starting from RMB200 for two hours of boozing. There's also shisha pipes and keep an eye out for brand new cocktail menu... coming soon!
Open Tue-Fri, 5pm-2am, noon-2am (Sat-Sun). See listing for Up Shanghai.
Image courtesy of Hyatt on the Bund
Located on the top two floors of Hyatt on the Bund, the main draw here is the view of Puxi and Lujiazui skyline from its open-air terrace. This upscale bar offers premium beverages and a comprehensive selection of refined champagnes. Be sure to sample their stunning seasonal fruit-based cocktails, especially on the weekends when they offer two-for-one specials.
Open daily, 5.30pm-1.30am (Sun-Wed), 5.30pm-2.30am (Thu-Fri & public hollidays), 2.30pm-2.30am (Sat-Sun). See listing for Vue Bar.
Image courtesy of The Langham Xintiandi
For a delightful spread of delicacies spanning the globe to be enjoyed in the open air, look no further than XTD elevated terrace restaurant on level five of The Langham, Xintiandi. On Saturdays, a barbeque menu is available featuring imported beef, salads, breads and various grilled items. You are bound to appreciate the beach style cocktail list as well.
Open daily, 5pm-1am. See listing for XTD elevated.
[Cover photo courtesy of the Fairmont Peace Hotel]
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