The Venue: An All-in-One Dining, Drinking & Dancing Destination

By Sophie Steiner, October 24, 2023

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The Place 

From Los Angeles to Nanjing Xi Lu, The Venue has made its debut in the heart of Shanghai. Founded by Thomas Bao, the 2,200 square meter space is spread across a restaurant, lounge, club and seven private KTV rooms of varying sizes, split over two levels. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

“The Venue – at its core – is about creating new social and entertainment experiences for guests through a curated artistic atmosphere that focuses on sharing – between guests, diners, dancers, bartenders, chefs, and all those who enter this unique venue,” explains CEO Danielo Hoti, a man with an impressive 20-year industry career spanning London’s Quaglinos to M1NT in London, Cannes, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

The space is designed by world-renowned artist and designer Davis Krumins, while famed lighting architect Stephen Lieberman of SJ Lighting curated an eclectic light show – one that pulses and shines in varying colors to the beat of the DJ’s music blaring across the state-of-the-art Funktion-One sound system. Expect an integrated audio and visual sensorial experience for party-goers and diners alike. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

The Venue plays host to anything from cocktail parties to sit-down dinners, from fashion shows and art exhibitions to weddings and corporate functions.

For all those swanky nightlife lovers who enter – from dinner to post-dinner drinks to clubbing the night away – there’s no need to leave The Venue.

Hence the name; an all-in-one space. 

The Food

The restaurant offers seating for up to 48 guests, with space for an additional 10 in the lounge area. While the restaurant and lounge are situated in the same room, the design and concept are distinct, a nightly live DJ bridging the two.

To fit the vibe in both, music and lighting shifts more towards 'evening' as the night goes on, encouraging a gradual shift from dining to sipping and dancing.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Chef Mario Sun is the man behind the menu, with 15 years of experience across luxury hotels and fine dining establishments, such as Shanghai’s own Maison Lameloise, a century old three Michelin-star French restaurant that opened a second location in the Shanghai Tower in 2018.

Chef Mario’s menu design sees the amalgamation of French fine dining coupled with Asian ingredients and flavor profiles for an East-meets-West contemporary dining experience.

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Inspired by Jiangsu and Zhejiang’s drunken shrimp and crab dishes, the Drunken Arctic Amaebi (RMB129) presents diners with velvety sweet water prawns swimming in an 18-year Shaoxing yellow wine, daubs of sweet basil oil floating on the surface. Beads of vinegar 'caviar' pop for an added layer of sour complexity. 

A seemingly separate dish, a side of edamame hummus studded with endive, cherry radish and a dusting of matcha, is meant for dipping. 

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A carb-free alternative to pasta, the thicker end of cuttlefish is flattened and sliced into springy noodles of sorts, plated with bamboo shoots, crispy pancetta slivers, freshly shaved parmesan cheese, and a sous vide egg yolk as the Cuttlefish to “Noodle” (RMB159)

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A buttery broth elevates the dishes’ richness, one that that plays on a Jiagnan soup known as yanduxian (腌笃鲜), customarily made with a duo of cured and fresh pork alongside bamboo shoots. 

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French Bordelaise sauce – a beef demi-glace with red wine – receives a Shanghainese twist as the focal point of the Smoked Sweet & Sour Wagyu Beef Short Ribs (RMB399).

The plate combines the flavors of Shanghainese sweet and sour pork ribs with high-grade steak, the unctuousness cut by pickled porcinis.

A playful pairing of Beijing duck-style spring pancake wrappers makes the dish even more interactive in its plating. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Merging elements of Shanghainese scallion oil noodles (葱油拌面) and Suzhou’s three shrimp noodles (三虾面) with Italian pasta, the Sea Urchin Angel Hair Pasta (RMB199) showcases thin noodles slick with a smarmy sauce of sea urchin, scallion oil and bottarga roe. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Crunchy kelp and sweet, hand-peeled local river shrimp juxtapose the shatteringly crisp scallions and stretchy strands. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

A traditional Cantonese dessert, the silky Almond Tofu Pudding (RMB69) is adorned with a generous serving of Earl Grey tea-infused peach gum, a delicately sweet and guilt-free meal conclusion.

The rest of the menu offers similarly fusion-forward bites of seafood, meats, pastas, and rice. 

The Drinks 

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Similar to the dinner menu, the Lounge’s 10-cocktail lineup plays with local ingredients to create distinctive offerings you won’t find elsewhere. 

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A refreshingly cilantro-forward play on a sour, the Shanghai Connection (RMB110) sees a blend of vodka, coriander, coconut, lemon and sour apple, all finished with a creamy egg white foam topper, branded with The Venue’s logo.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

The Thai Cooler (RMB110) serves up Laksa leaf-infused dark rum shaken with apricot brandy, coconut, lemon, and pineapple juice for a pina colada-like sipper, garnished with a dried-pineapple slice and coconut mochi.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Dry gin and osmanthus rice wine come together with lychee, lemon and grapefruit juice as the Drunkened Concubine (RMB110), a floral dram presented with a cloud-like osmanthus foam top.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Like the blockbuster film, Lost in Translation (RMB120) transports drinkers to Japan with Japanese sansho leaf-sous vide shochu, stirred with plum wine and kumquat cordial for a pleasantly tart gulp.

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And the Steampunk Revive (RMB120) is equally sour, with a base of sloe gin augmented by apricot brandy, crème de cassis, hibiscus, lemon and cranberry, adorned with a lip-pucker-inducing sliced finger lime.

An alternative to the whimsical Lounge libations, the club has a more traditional cocktail menu served along the custom-built 10-meter bar, with drinks centering around speed and efficiency, many of which involve twists on beloved classics. In addition to cocktails, there’s also a 450-bottle wine cellar.

The Vibe 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Aiming to be Shanghai’s new it club, it’s no shocker that The Venue has posh written all over it. From the plush restaurant seating to the custom-painted graffiti wall art, from the marble tabletops to the top-of-the-line light and sound design, the whole vibe feels like you’d be doing yourself a disservice to not have a glass of champagne in hand at all times. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

For the ballers, the private KTV rooms are each outfitted with their own design elements – think Pop, Bauhaus, surrealism, and futurism – including two larger private rooms that overlook the club from above. 

There’s also 18 reservable booths, including two VIP booths front and center for the DJ show. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

And for the ballers on a budget, there’s ample standing (read: dancing) room to get your groove on, as the space fits 300-400 guests. 

Price: RMB400-700 (restaurant)
Who’s Going: Shanghai’s movers and shakers, the ritzy club-going contingency, sound/light/interior design connoisseurs 
Good For: Dinner into drinks into dancing dates, high-roller private KTV, Asian fusion dining and sipping


Restaurant: Tue-Sun, 5.30-10pm
Lounge: Tue-Sun, 10pm-2am
Club: Fri-Sat, 9.30pm-late
KTV: Tue-Sun, 8pm-late

The Venue, 278 Shanxi Bei Lu, by Nanjing Xi Lu, 陕西北路278号,近南京西路.

Celebrate Halloween at The Venue 

This Saturday night, The Venue is celebrating Halloween with a party that could raise the dead. Expect live performances, dancers, guests DJs, bar themed specials and snacks, plus free makeup design for all guests.

Tickets are going for just RMB100 early bird or RMB150 at the door. Scan the QR code on the poster below to reserve yours now.


Read more Shanghai Restaurant Reviews.

Read more Shanghai Bar Reviews.
[Cover image by Sophie Steiner/That's]

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