Shenzhen Bar Review: Imperial Inn

By Jonathan Zhong, March 1, 2019

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We heard about Imperial Inn’s grand opening in late January and were immediately excited by the grand vibes that the majestic name brought to mind. 

On our visit, however, we found not the ‘imperial’ experience we’d expected, but instead a small hole-in-the-wall bar with a rather minimalist air about it. Unlike the bustling nightlife center that Sea World offers across the street, Imperial Inn feels distinctly quiet in comparison, with just one patron present when we arrived (granted, it is a new bar). 

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Image by Jonathan Zhong/That's

Seating is limited at Imperial Inn. There are a few tables outside, but unfortunately, the charming music inside the bar is barely audible whilst taking in the evening air. 

However, the menu is extensive enough to cater to most drinkers, with options including beer, cider, wine, whiskey, spirits and cocktails, as well as tea, coffee, juice and snacks. We’re told that the menu will be updated regularly, with a ‘Beer of the Month’ to be rolled out as a special feature. 

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Image by Jonathan Zhong/That's

We, however, skipped the beer options and went for three cocktails, the good ol’ Bloody Mary (RMB68), a whiskey sour (RMB96) and a non-alcoholic fruit punch (RMB48) mixed with orange juice, pineapple juice, lemon juice, grenadine and 7-Up. Both alcoholic beverages were more than adequate, albeit a little pricey. The Bloody Mary was refreshing after a long day, and the whiskey sour was well-balanced, featuring bourbon, lemon juice and sugar syrup. However, we found the fruit punch a bit too sweet, with the grenadine flavor overshadowing all the other tastes.

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Image by Jonathan Zhong/That's

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Image by Jonathan Zhong/That's

One aspect of our evening at Imperial Inn that we loved was the hospitality and service provided by Apple, the manager of the establishment, who is capable of instantly making you feel at home with her smile and her readiness to initiate fun conversations. 

At the end of the day, given its size and quiet vibe, Imperial Inn may not be the best place to visit in Shekou for a full-on boozy and exciting night. But if you’re in the mood to spend some time in seclusion away from the crowds at Sea World, this bar is certainly a convenient getaway.

Price: RMB100
Who’s going: at least one other person on our visit
Good for: friendly service, serenity
Nearest metro: Sea World (Exit D), 3 minutes’ walk

Open daily, Mon-Thur 4pm-12 midnight, Fri-Sun 4pm-1am. See listing for Imperial Inn. 

[Cover image by Jonathan Zhong/That's]

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