5 Shanghai Bars (and 1 Event) to Visit This Weekend

By That's Shanghai, February 21, 2020

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Shanghai, while quiet, is slowly showing signs of life just in time for the weekend. If you are ready to get out and socialize, check out these open venues below. Rest assured, all venues have stepped up hygiene (some might even require masks). Just make sure to call ahead and reserve, since things can change at the drop of a hat these days. 

Dead Poet

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

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.

See listing for Dead Poet


Image courtesy of 521/SH

Located in Putuo district, 521/SH is tucked between nondescript buildings and a residential area (if you can see the beautiful riverwalk, you have gone too far!) Once you do find it, the bar’s unassuming exterior might underwhelm – there are no gimmicks to get you in the door.

Inside, though modest in its decor, the bar’s overall presentation is simple and chic. Lit up cinder blocks line the walls of the establishment, while a cascade of lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling creates a warm and inviting atmosphere. Not a large venue (reservations in advance may be necessary to seat a larger party), 521/SH is a cozy spot to settle down for a drink or two.

See listing for 521/SH

The Odd Couple

Image courtesy of The Odd Couple

Something totally tubular is going on at Xintiandi. A collaboration between Shingo Gokan (his Speak Low and Sober Company are also open btw) and Steve Schneider (made famous at NYC’s Employees Only) nestled in a second-floor hideaway off the main Xintiandi drag. It’s small in stature, but big on personality with silver compact discs (remember those?) lining the walls and the video game, Pac-Man projected on a big screen. The menu (and actual bar) is divided with a side devoted to each of them. Choose from two unique interpretations of shared flavor profiles. 

See listing for The Odd Couple


Image by Cristina Ng/That's

This is a bar and roller-skating rink concept occupying the old Inferno space where nostalgia finally visits another era. Where the stage once stood are a skate rental counter and lockers, while most of the remaining space has been converted into a small skating area with neon lighting. The bar is at the back with additional seating along the sides, and your favorite childhood activity has been aged up with some fantastic “nibbles and slurps.” 

After signing a waiver, you choose between blah black skates for RMB45 and paying RMB5 more for gorgeous white ones with light-up wheels. A full selection of padding is available because you might have killed it at the neighborhood rink back in the day, but this small venue makes for fast and dicey turns. Plus, due to the special period, you will be asked to wear a mask. 

See listing for RIINK. 

Rye & Co

Flyer courtesy of Rye & Co.

Get ready to enjoy a 'low-key, no-fuss, down-to-earth wine pop-up courtesy of SOiF, Bird and Perch at Rye & Co. While currently closed due this special time, Rye & Co is opening on Saturday just for this event. So, give yourself a treat and go sip a fantastic selection of wines on the Rye & Co terrace. 

Feb 22, 1-5pm; RMB50 per glass. See event listing. See listing for Rye & Co. 

Stone Brewing Tap Room

Image courtesy of Stone Brewing

Launched in Southern California 22 years ago, Stone Brewing is a long-time favorite of craft beer diehards. The brand has come a long way since 1996, and the 2018 opening of the Shanghai tap room ended our practice of tucking bottles of their signature aggressively-flavored Arrogant Bastard ale carefully in our suitcases. Stone takes its beer very seriously, and the flux capacitor tap system at their Shanghai outpost allows control of the carbon dioxide and nitrogen ratio for every single beer on tap for optimal flavor. Also, the tasty food menu is designed to be paired with beer. In addition to typical brewpub staples like burgers and wings, they offer more composed dishes such as misoyaki butterfish and beef cheek tagliatelle.

See listing for Stone Brewing Tap Room

For more open venues see our big list here

Cover image via Pixabay

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