Nothing about Haploid is as it seems. First, there’s the entrance, concealed inside a tiny convenience store at the heart of Shenzhen’s famous (or infamous) bar street, Shopping Park.
The cashier, wearing smoky eye makeup and black clothes, confirms we’ve found the right place, but it isn’t until we announce our purpose that she shows us the entrance.
After a descent, we emerge in the cozy bar, with chairs clustered around black tables. ‘Where love lives’ is spelled out in neon lights against a wall, and on another is a Star Wars-themed poster of Dave Lam, the bar’s ‘professional director.’
Lam hails from Hong Kong, where he won a ‘Chivas Master’ competition last year. He’s the creator of Haploid’s 16 signature cocktails, like the refreshingly tangy ‘I am Groot’ (RMB80). It comes in the guise of a potted plant, with a sprig of mint balanced atop an Oreo-crumb ‘dirt’ topping.
The Beef Eater (RMB80) is made with its namesake gin, and is milky white yet carries a sour, fruity kick.
The Yuan Yang drink (RMB98) is a little more traditional, adding whisky to the Hong Kong blend of milk tea and coffee. It comes served with a special treat, however: two triangles of toast, paired with a tube of Chivas-infused condensed milk.
Haploid has classic cocktails, but with a price range of RMB80-88, customers might as well order the signature drinks. For the purists, the menu boasts five pages of whisky.
Lam tips us off to Haploid’s second floor; up a winding staircase and past another secret door, we find ourselves in a set of rooms with eclectic decor: chandeliers, bead curtains and star-spangled throws abound.
Haploid feels like a clubhouse for the in-the-know, and therein lies its appeal. We’d tell you how to get in, but that would only spoil the fun.
Who’s going: trendy bar hoppers, cocktail sippers
Good for: creative concoctions, feeling fancy