Go through the hotel lobby and to the seventh floor. Now, down a hallway flanked by apparent guest rooms – don’t worry, you’re going the right way. Take a right, but don’t walk the stone steps over the pond! Instead, swing around the water, look leftward and boom: you’ve found Top Lounge’s cave-themed entrance.
The cave-ness continues inside, with irregular shaped plaster walls lining a few small private rooms and leading up a spiral staircase to a second floor of tables and a view of Futian’s surrounding skyscrapers where faux shrubbery lends an air of privacy.
Kendrick Lamar raps about the street life while a 115-story skyscraper scrolls political slogans. We ask for a drink – something special.
That sees the RMB65 ‘qinggua yulu,’ (青瓜玉露, not translated on the menu) served – though we spy some Gordon’s Gin slipped in, we’re told it’s based on the medicinal Chinese spirit jingjiu, though its fruity flavors hint not.
Like all the cocktails we try, the RMB65 daka (大咖) is on the affordable side and commensurate with the craftsmanship. The vodka, cherry brandy mix is served with small rose buds floating on froth. It goes down smooth to the 90s alt rock being played inside the bar’s imitation grotto.
A beer fridge stocks the usual – think Duvel and Hoegaarden (both RMB35) and whiskey is also sold by the bottle (RMB600 for Jim Beam).
Top Lounge is neither at the top of anything (as the stunning view of skyscrapers won’t allow you to forget) nor is it a lounge. Instead, it’s worth checking out for the novelty of the place: hidden in Futian’s CBD and offbeat enough for your friends to ask ‘how did you find this place?’
Who’s going: event attendees, in-the-know passersby
Good for: looking up, semi-privacy
Nearest metro: Convention and Exhibition Center (Exit E), 3 minutes