Shanghai Bar Review: Dead Poet

By Cristina Ng, November 29, 2019

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If you’ve been to Bar No. 3, you might experience a sense of deja vu at this hip addition to the Oha empire. The design firm turned food and beverage group has installed a bar at Dead Poet that resembles its predecessor Bar No. 3 with the notable exception of a very fancy looking sound system on the well-stocked shelves.

Walk towards the back, and you’ll find some nice private tables, as well as a charming outdoor seating area. They’ve done an excellent job of creating a sense of intimacy while allowing plenty of elbow room – even on a busy Saturday.

Named for a deceased poet that resided upstairs, the bar’s menu is presented on an intentionally beat-up booklet of tissue paper, with descriptions broken up by verse. Our favorite line of poetry… “Vibration is a form of trembling without fear.” After pondering that for a while, we needed a stiff drink.

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

That came in the form of Burning in Water, Dancing in Flame (RMB106) a jazzed-up take on a manhattan made of single malt scotch, dry vermouth, Maraschino liquor and lime bitters. There’s a nice hint of cherry without too much sweetness.

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

Like the other Oha bars, flavors can get a bit experimental. One notable example is Fisherman’s Golden Net (RMB92), a citrus gin-based tipple with homemade caramel lemon syrup, lemon jam and a red wine float. That’s a lot of citrus in one glass, but it plays well with the gin

The cocktails rely on house-made infusions, syrups and jams. Dead Poet Sublime (RMB98), for example, is a long beverage full of fresh grapefruit flavor mixed with two types of gin (London Dry and Nordes) plus Montenegro. If you like bitter drinks, you’ll like this combination of fruit, amaro and gin.

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

If bitter or sour notes aren’t for you, White Mountain (RMB96) features funky mango-infused rum rounded off by dry vermouth and coconut water. While subtle, there’s plenty of alcohol in this number.

We’ve long been fans of the creative libations turned out by Oha’s other venues, and Dead Poet is no exception. They also excel at non-obtrusive hospitality. The moment you think about waving down a server, the bartender (who is making two drinks at the same time) gives a slight nod to his colleague across the room. Just like that, someone appears at your side, ready to take your next order. We like that kind of service, and we like Dead Poet.

[Cover image by Cristina Ng/That's]

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