It’s been one hell of a year to say the least, particularly for those of us based in China. We’ve seen ‘The Tweeter in Chief’ launch (and then halt) a trade war between the world’s two leading economic powers, Fan Bingbing disappear and then reappear (with a major fine to pay) and another record-breaking Singles’ Day haul for Alibaba. To wrap up 2018, our editorial team has put together a list of the year’s most unforgettable viral stories, recounting major occurrences that defined the worlds of sports, tech, arts, fashion and food. Here’s to another year of eclectic, weird and wonderful life in China, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Below, in no particular order, we share our favorite bars to debut in Shenzhen in 2018:
1. ZAZOO Live
Image via ZAZOO Live
If you’ve ever spent a night trolling the packed bar streets at Coco Park (and be honest – you have), you know that the music selection has historically been limited to EDM, top 40 hits and EDM remixes of top 40 hits. However, the opening of brand-new funk and soul club Zazoo Live on one of the main strips marks the addition of some much-needed variety to the party scene.
Who’s going: classy clubgoers, lovers of luxury, live music enthusiasts
Good for: groovy tunes, date nights, lounging
Nearest metro: Shopping Park (Exit B), 5 minutes’ walk
Image via Half Ton Brewery
Chegongmiao has long been a haven for delicious local restaurants and shopping, but was never a prime destination for partaking in Shenzhen’s booming craft beer scene – until now. With the opening of its new Chegongmiao location in August, Half Ton Brewery is offering a sizeable selection of both locally brewed and imported beers, as well as a diverse menu focusing on burgers and other pub eats.
Who’s going: Chegongmiao hipsters and professionals
Good for: unique local brews, solid burgers
Nearest metro: Chegongmiao (Exit C), 10 minutes
3. Life on Mars
Image by Jonathon Zhong/That's
Like David Bowie, you may sometimes wonder: is there life on Mars? We don’t know for sure, but we do know that there is a Life on Mars cocktail bar in Shenzhen. With a wide range of bevvies, coupled with a warm and artistic atmosphere (along with seasonal surprises), Life on Mars is a great new space for Shenzhen cocktail connoisseurs to ponder the day’s events over a boozy elixir.
Price: RMB90 on average
Who’s going: cocktail lovers, art lovers, adventurers, social enthusiasts
Good for: unique and customized cocktails, cozy chats, great photos
Nearest metro: Qiaochengbei (Exit C), 10 minutes
Image via Adam Robbins/That's
Just blocks from Shenzhen North Station, in an urban village in the mold of Baishizhou, Zhenker features robust, mature Chinese beer and customers who have developed a real taste for it. The brews taste fresh and matured from years of home-brewing practice.
Price: RMB30-40 per 500ml beer
Who’s going: dice-rolling locals, expats of the north
Good for: mellow beers, practicing your conversational Chinese
Nearest metro: Minzhi (Exit B), 8 minutes
5. V Bar
Image by Bailey Hu
A new, densely-clustered housing project for ‘young talent’ has opened in Futian District’s ever-lively Shuiwei Village, and with it has arrived a slew of tiny cafes, shops, restaurants and bars. V Bar may be one of the most prominent, if only because its white neon sign is visible from the street. Inside, according to the head bartender, what sets V apart is its reasonable pricing.
Price: RMB25-68 a drink
Who’s going: Shuiwei locals, young talent
Good for: chilling out cheaply, people-watching
Nearest metro: Fumin (Exit D), 10 minutes
Image by Jonathan Zhong/That's
Technology has completely transformed the way we listen to music. As music formats continue to evolve, we tend to become nostalgic for old ways of enjoying our favorite tunes. And that’s exactly why we need bars like Vinylhouse in this day and age, with their eclectic stock of vinyl records and their-vinyl only DJs. In terms of drinks, the menu covers everything from basics such as whiskey, wine, beer, vodka and cocktails, to bartender’s specials.
Who’s going: house music heads, trendy tech workers
Good for: picking up new vinyl records, chill vibes
Nearest metro: Houhai (Exit F), 20 minutes
7. Bar Ink
Image via Bar Ink
Tucked in a corner building overlooking a small grassy field, Bar Ink is one of the latest F&B additions to Shenzhen’s hipster enclave, OCT Loft. The tattoo themed bar and restaurant was dreamed up by the owners of Lotus Ink, one of the city’s most acclaimed tattoo studios. Bar Ink’s menu boasts an array of Western dishes, which chef Eli Gregory tells us are a fusion between Spanish and French cuisines. Ordering a drink proves to be a unique experience. Reflecting the arty theme, Bar Ink’s cocktail menu is arranged not by liquor but by color, with a selection of both classic and creative drinks.
Who’s going: tattoo lovers, hipsters and fine food fans
Good for: elevated food and drinks in an artsy but homey space
Nearest metro: Qiaocheng North Station (Exit B), 10 minutes’ walk
8. Wann Lounge
Image by Adam Robbins
Whisky aficionados will find plenty to savor here, in bottles that range from RMB1,080-10,880. But if anything it’s a gin bar, with 27 varieties on hand (RMB880-3,580/bottle) and a half dozen delicious Negronis to quench our juniper jitters.
Who’s going: lawyers, managers, fu'erdai
Good for: craft cocktails, fine dining, seeing and being seen
Nearest metro: Dengliang Station (Exit A), 12 minutes
For more 2018 Year in Review coverage, click here.
[Cover Image via Half Ton Brewery]