Last year’s import of hip-hop club Playhouse brought hope for a little more diversity to Gongti’s oversaturated nightlife strip. Set next to all the seemingly identical hyped-up and ridiculously priced establishments, the newest landing is Arkham, an underground club from Shanghai.
The lit geometric and pink design of the exterior stands in stark contrast next to its grey neighbors like One Third and Sir Teen. Once inside, it’s smooth sailing down the classic club checklist – a sizeable dance floor, lasers and flashing lights, tables with bottle service, an elevated stage, enthusiastic patrons dancing on unstable surfaces – you get it.
Arkham’s main focus is to draw in more underground electronic artists and hip-hop acts than your typical club venue. The night we visit there’s no one performing, but since its opening, the venue has reeled in up-andcoming hip-hop names like MadeinTYO and bigger fish like Jaden Smith, while its Shanghai counterpart has been graced with DJ sets by artists like Thundercat and Chromeo. We’re hopeful.
The music is pulsing in every corner and the crowd seems to be full of young trendsetters and expats with money to throw around – the ideal scenario for peoplewatching. Prop yourself up at one of the sleek black tables with booth seating, which are scattered throughout the outer edge of the space, get comfy and watch your table fill with Jagermeister shots and fruit platters – a cosmopolitan pairing. Not to your fancy? Drink offerings feature liquor, champagne and cocktails of all kinds, from infused mojitos to classic sours (both RMB88).
There’s also a labyrinth of VIP rooms in the back, though who are we kidding? We’re not likely to be booking those anytime soon. All in all, Arkham boasts a trendier edge – sure, it’s not much of a departure from your generic club experience, but you can expect to hear more variety in the music selection and less of the tired Top 100 hits.
[Images via Arkham]