Cabaret Lounge Candor is Back... and Sexier Than Ever!

By Sophie Steiner, June 20, 2023

1 0

The Place 

After a three-year historic preservation hiatus (further drawn out by COVID complications – you know the drill) vaudeville theater and cabaret lounge Candor is back, baby! 

Image courtesy of Candor

Image courtesy of Candor

Situated in the heritage building Lyceum Theater on Maoming Lu – Shanghai’s oldest performance theater – enthusiasts of burlesque / cabaret / drag / classical dance / contemporary dance / multi-media theater / multi-genre theater performance (and more!) now have a new home. 

Image courtesy of Candor

Image courtesy of Candor

Originally opening in 2015, the venue closed in 2020 for the aforementioned renovations. Now, founder Melody Chen has collaborated with SMG Live (the group behind Sleep No More) to once again breathe new life into the space, upgrading the layout and décor.

They have also added a snack and dinner menu – courtesy of Andrew Moo (Yaya’s, Le Daily) – plus a face-lifted cocktail and punch bowl selection – curated by Alex Mill

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Whereas previously the space was concentrated on just one floor, it now covers both the second floor...


Image courtesy of Candor

... a piano bar and cocktail lounge with open-to-the-public live piano performances on Friday and Saturday nights...


Image courtesy of Candor

... and the third floor – where the magic happens: a dinner theater show space replete with a central back-lit stage, seating for 80 across two-seaters tables and VIP booths, and a side bar with all manner of poles to hang on, swings to leap from, and counters to dance on.

And the show involves just that... covered in sequins.

The Drinks

Part of the recent renovation involved adding a seductive roster of bougie bites and scintillating sippers that pair with an equally erotic show, and a side of suggestive performances, for a whole dinner theater vibe.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

As Candor is a bar, first and foremost, our review begins here, with a pre-dinner libation. The menu is divided into Candor classics – favorites from the old menu – and new showings.

There are also pre-batched punches by the bottle (RMB480/500ml, RMB880/1,000ml) like the Candor House Punch – bourbon, red wine, cinnamon, rooibos, lemon and clarified milk; or The Flower Girl – a tropical blend of gin, basil, passion fruit, lime and clarified coconut. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

If cocktails aren’t your thing, there’s an extensive wine and Champagne list, plus beers, soft drinks and mocktails. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

If Willy Wonka were the proprietor of a bar, The Candyman Can (RMB128) would be his signature drink – a sugar rush in a glass consisting of Skittles-infused vodka poured through a funnel of gumdrop-topped cotton candy, all slurped down through a strawberry licorice straw.

A guaranteed sugar high to last you throughout the show. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Booze-forward and tiki leaning, the Backstage Rendezvous (RMB128) mixes Plantation pineapple rum, Cocchi Americano and Aperol for a banana bread-like aroma that isn’t cloyingly sweet. 

DSC06412.jpgA Touch of Red (RMB98), Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Our favorite funky highball in the city – yes, we said it – Candor’s Highball (RMB108) smells like autumn: notes of vanilla cream and apple pie from pandan-infused bourbon, tempered by toasted walnut bitters and tonka bean soda for a clean, crisp finish.

For a highball, it’s full-on flavor, but without the sweetness overload that triggers those Sunday scaries about sugar-induced hangovers. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

A cilantro addict’s dream (and cilantro critic’s adversary) the Thai Taco (RMB98) is an ode to said herb, shaken with chili-infused vodka and finished with savory flecks of cracked black pepper. 

The Food 

When designing the menu, consulting Chef Andrew Moo honed in on what one would expect to find at an opulent smoking parlor of the Roaring Twenties; sultry food that aligns with burlesque.

Think undulating oysters, popping pearls of glistening caviar, and rosy steak dribbled in buttery sauce – but made modern with his signature Southeast and East Asian twist.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Nothing screams sexy show more than a mouthful of plump Moana New Zealand Oysters (RMB198/six) – a should-be prerequisite for attending.

Served with a classic mignonette sauce of shallots and red wine vinegar, the oysters are upgraded with a hit of grapefruit and horseradish.  

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Freshly made pasta ribbons are interspersed with crispy chickpeas, toasted peanuts, and a trio of chilis as the Pappardelle Xiao Mian (RMB88), a contemporary approach to Chongqing’s signature street noodle. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

The base sauce is a mala pork ragu, fried in an aromatics infusion of chili oil with pork lard, Shaoxing wine and soy sauce.

And there’s a cured egg yolk topper that oozes its way into every nook and cranny, slickly coating each noodle strand with an unctuous umami burst. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Seared beef tenderloin is crusted with red, black and Sichuan peppercorns before being sliced into borderline see-through sheets as the Beef Carpaccio (RMB128).

Dotted with parsley aioli, pickled Buddha’s hand shreds, crispy leeks, and a gasp of citrus, it is a moreish bite when slathered, once again, in said soy sauce cured yolk. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

A riff on seafood on toast, the Arctic Shrimp (RMB88/three) are tossed in mayo, sour cream and dragon fruit, dolloped atop a gummy, grilled yakimochi rice cake. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Marinated in lemongrass, fish sauce, shallots, garlic, and sugar, the Iberico Pork Neck (RMB88) is finished on the grill, and best eaten wrapped like a taco in a sheet of nori seaweed, shiso leaf, and crisp butter lettuce.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Six-hour sous vide Octopus (RMB98) is arranged in pleats atop velvety homemade labneh, sprinkled with a dukkah spice, chopped pistachios and Chinese bacon larou crumble.

DSC06454.jpgFried Chicken Lollipops (RMB88) Honey, Vietnamese Nuoc Cham Sauce, Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

A play on the classic Steak Diane, the Steak Candor (RMB398) sees 350-grams of Australian Prime Angus ribeye finished with a viscous gravy made from the leftover steak juice emulsified with Shanghainese scallion oil.

An homage to congyou banmian, or Shanghainese scallion oil noodles, crispy fried scallions adorn the top for a Shanghai-ified Old World cabaret feel. 

The Vibe 

From top to bottom, every aspect of the experience ties into the vintage 1920s burlesque glamour theme. 

Think red velour with black and white accents, Art Deco lines, glittering chandeliers, gold-barred cages for dancing, sparkly masks, incandescent bulb lighting, an abundance of feathers and throaty jazz.

It’s a whole Moulin Rouge musical set meets the Paris of the East vibe. 

Image courtesy of Candor

At RMB200 entrance, the well-crafted drinks, scrumptious food and immersive show – as well as the staff being as attentive as the performers are talented – make for a legitimately good deal for the value you receive.

Our own mini Broadway, right here in Shanghai.

The Details

Current showtimes:

  • Wednesday & Thursday, 8.30pm

  • Friday & Saturday (two showtimes), 7-9pm & 10pm-12am

  • Sunday, 7-9pm

Entrance to the show costs RMB200 per person, which secures your spot.

Note: You'll want to reserve ahead of time to guarantee a spot by booking through Candor’s Official WeChat account CandorShanghai or calling 021 5418 8806.

VIP booths for 8-15 people can be reserved in advance on Fridays and Saturdays – contact Candor for more details.

Image courtesy of Candor

Candor, 2/F, Lyceum Theatre, 57 Maoming Nan Lu, by Changle Lu, 茂名南路57号,近长乐路.

Read more Shanghai Restaurant Reviews.

Read more Shanghai Bar Reviews.

[Cover Image by Sophie Steiner/That’s]

more news

12 China Bars Make Asia's 50 Best Bars 2023

Asia's 50 Best has just revealed the 1-50 list or bars, after revealing 51-100 last week. Check out the results!

51 Restaurants Receive Stars in the 2024 Michelin Guide Shanghai

See which restaurants fared the best and earned stars in the 2024 Shanghai Michelin Guide.

7 New(ish) Wine Bars You May Have Missed

Don't miss out on the wine bars we've visited recently

New Shanghai Bars and Restaurants: February 2020

Here are all the new restaurant and bar openings we featured in our February 2020 magazine issue.

New Shanghai Bars and Restaurants: January 2020

Here are all the new restaurant and bar openings we featured in our January 2020 magazine issue.

New Shanghai Bars and Restaurants: April 2019

Here are all the new restaurant and bar openings we featured in our April 2019 magazine issue.

New Shanghai Bars and Restaurants: December 2019

Here are all the new restaurant and bar openings we featured in our December 2019 magazine issue.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at Thats_Shanghai for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in Shanghai With

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday

Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's Shanghai!

Visit the archives