Our regular Interiors features take a look through the keyhole into the homes and businesses of some of Shanghai's well known faces.
“The Cannery is really fun for me. At The Nest, I have to run my ideas through Bacardi – I can’t do things that aren’t related to Grey Goose. Here, I can do anything I want. I feel very free,” says Mark Klingspon of his new F&B endeavor on Yuyuan Lu. Also backed by Muse Group, their sophomore project together is focused on West Coast seafood, gourmet canned food and a range of craft cocktails, beers, Canadian whiskies and more. For the Vancouver native, The Cannery is much more personal.
“I wanted to bring a slice of Vancouver to Shanghai, not just in the design, but more importantly in the style and attitude – the seafood steamer at the bar, the canning, beers on tap, light music, serving wine in ‘country-style’ glasses – that’s the kind of relaxed attitude we want to bring.”
When he first approached designer Andy Hall (who also worked on The Nest), Klingspon toyed with a few different concepts, one of which was a West Coast seafood restaurant. A pro forma menu dictating the “flavor and philosophy” of the place was drafted; one of the sections, “canned food,” gradually grew into becoming the overarching theme and name of the place.
“When I was growing up in Vancouver, my dad and I would be in the kitchen late at night, and he’d open a can of seafood, make some toast, and we’d have a chat together,” he says, recalling that scene from his childhood that became the most crucial component of The Cannery. Over the past year, Klingspon traveled back to Canada several times, bringing back with him vintage canning machines, a seafood steamer and boxes of empty tin cans among other antique knick-knacks from flea markets to fill up this space.
Since Bacardi isn’t involved in The Cannery, Klingspon wanted to set it apart from The Nest. “I don’t mind them feeling like brothers, but I don’t want one to feel like a knock-off of the other,” he tells us. But one thing we know for sure is that this new venue will undoubtedly become a hit like its older brother.
Here’s a look inside.
The central bar, an element that works extremely well at The Nest, was adopted at The Cannery. Besides all the shaking and mixing of cocktails or pouring of beers, you’ll also find chefs preparing dishes using the seafood steamer that Klingspon brought back from Canada. The idea of doing another light fixture on top of the bar (one of The Nest’s iconic design features) was scrapped, but you’ll find that same amber lighting in the room, thanks to its ceiling, which is made of mock copper tiles. “That amber color is important for us, we always use this lighting because it makes people look the best,” Klingspon says.
Charcoal and Fire
During the conceptualization process, one of Klingspon’s initial ideas was to do a Tex-Mex steakhouse (similar to Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill), and designer Andy Hall proposed using “fire and charcoal” as the overall theme of the place. Although the concept has changed, these elements still remain in The Cannery, most notably on its charred timber walls – a finishing material that’s fireproof and offers an interesting aesthetic.
The lounge seating also came straight from The Nest’s playbook. At The Cannery, however, the main dining area benefits from plenty of natural light, courtesy of its floor-to-ceiling windows looking out to a sizable lawn.
After locking down on the ‘cannery’ and ‘West Coast seafood’ concept, Klingspon and Hall added a layer of steampunk element to the original proposal of using charcoal. This art piece hanging on the back wall of the dining room is a replica of an image Klingspon saw when he was Googling the term ‘steampunk fish.’
Whisky, and Lots of It
Klingspon aspires to have the largest collection of bourbon, rye and Canadian whiskies in China, and the bar already carries around 70 labels. A private label Canadian whisky named after Klingspon’s dog, Cannery Pete, is also available starting July.
The Canning Room
Since there is no open kitchen at The Cannery, the canning area in the back offers a show element for guests. Once fully functional, chefs wearing lab coats will be there canning food, resembling a scene from Breaking Bad. This vintage canning machine was the main inspiration behind the whole design concept, according to Klingspon. Canned duck liver mousse is currently on the menu, while smoked salmon, mussels and oysters will be available in the near future.
See a listing for The Cannery.
Photos by Mario Grey
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