Futian’s Shuiwei neighborhood (technically a ‘village’) now boasts an Italian joint, a craft beer bar and an eye-catching fusion Mexican restaurant – add to that a British-style pub in the form of Trafalgar.
The ‘kind of’ franchisee pub is drawing on networks built around its long-operating Hong Kong cousins while inhabiting the two-floor space that Godfather Bistro briefly took up.
Solid, dark wood chairs and padded half-booth seating make up most of Trafalgar, with the restaurant staff already greeting regulars by name on our visit – despite opening a short 10 days earlier.
Sports are clearly part of the appeal, with close to a dozen screens scattered through the bar and controlled by an ominously named ‘matrix.’
Happy hour lasts until a late 9pm, though that means a discount, not the two-for-one gluttony in some other Shenzhen stops.
The RMB80 veggie burger doesn’t hide its green origins – a welcome change for vegetarians, but a miss for carnivores expecting a cannot-believe-it’s-not-beef experience.
Originally touted as a looker, the RMB118 linguine seafood marinara arrived fresh, if not Trafalgar's most visually appealing moment of our visit.
The Golden Mushroom Pilsner (RMB33), brewed by Trafalgar in Hong Kong, is a nod to the local preference for light lagers, but the malty, 10.4 ABV Sambrook’s Imperial stout has already become a favorite with at least one local suds sipper.
Add to that buffalo chicken wings (RMB45), Caesar salad (RMB40), and ‘bangers and mash’ (RMB118) and you have a nicely rounded pub menu.
It’s a pub. So the vibe depends on staff and regulars – and though it’s a bit early to label Trafalgar, the welcoming staff, video game room and e-darts upstairs make it a comfortable fit in Shuiwei’s burgeoning food and beverage scene.
Who’s going: weekending Hong Kongers, home-hungry Brits
Good for: hand-pumped beers, happy hour specials
Nearest metro: Fumin Station (Exit D), 10 minutes