Shanghai Nightlife

Offerings range from world-class swank to dark and dingy dens or from young Shanghainese kids screaming experimental punk to Filipino cover bands singing "Hotel California" in a hotel basement. Prices, scenes, crowds, and ambience range just as wildly.

For an array of pleasant but pricey bars, head to Xintiandi, which every year sees swank new destinations debuting in its historic halls.

Farther east, The Bund is also a good place for upscale bars.

Yongfu Lu, near Fuxing Lu, once the top destination for the city’s expats, is still lined with bars, including the excellent el Coctel. A dozen blocks to the east, the tiny watering holes along Yongkang Lu are most popular in the summer, when the street becomes so thronged with young revelers that no vehicles can pass.

Shanghai’s seedy bar strips are going the way of dial-up Internet connections. Huashan Lu still has a few bars for those who like their nightlife more on the wild side. They feature "fishing girls" who ask gents to give them money to buy drinks in exchange for their company (or something more). They either pocket the money or take a cut from the bar.

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Fodor's Choice

Area

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Former French Concession 14

The Bund and Nanjing Dong Lu 13

Xintiandi and City Center 12

Jing'an and Changing 12

Xujiahui, Hongqiao and Gubei 7

Pudong 4

Hongkou and Putuo 2

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Category

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Bars/ Pubs 33

Brewpubs/ Beer Gardens 3

Cafes–Nightlife 1

Dance Clubs 12

Gathering Places 1

Music Clubs 10

Piano Bars/ Lounges 4

Tapas Bars 2

Wine Bars–Nightlife 3

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Best For

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Business 1

Family 2

Gay and Lesbian 6

Historical 1

Romantic 3

Service 1

Trendy 1

Views 1

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Shanghai Nightlife

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The Brew

  • Brewpubs/Beer Gardens

The Kerry Hotel's microbrewery is tightly run by Kiwi brewmaster Leon Mickelson. The crisp cider is very good for those who don't love...

The Shelter

  • Dance Clubs

Opened by a collective of Shanghai's leading DJs, this former bomb shelter is not for the claustrophobic. It is a favorite with Shanghai...

Time Passage

  • Bars/Pubs

Shanghai favors slick nightclubs and posh wine bars, but Time Passage, whose Chinese name is "yesterday, today, tomorrow," has always...

UVA

  • Wine Bars–Nightlife

Its name means "grape" in Italian, so it's no surprise that UVA is a little wine bar. Run by a pair of Italians, it offers quite good...

Unico

  • Piano Bars/Lounges

A Latin-inspired lounge where you can kick off your night before you go clubbing, Unico offers a dizzying array of pricey cocktails,...

Union Trading Co.

  • Bars/Pubs

The cocktail list here has 100-plus concoctions, some classic and some dreamt up by Texan bartender Yao Lu. The delightfully summery...

Wooden Box Cafe

  • Dance Clubs

On a quiet lane off busy Nanjing Xi Lu, this café and bar mimics the inside of a tree house, with high ceilings and wood paneling on...

Yuyintang

  • Music Clubs

No one has done as much to bring Shanghai rock out from the underground and into the open as has this collective. Headed by a sound engineer...

Zhong Plaza

  • Bars/Pubs

Just off Nanjing Xi Lu, behind the West Nanjing Road metro station, is this small complex of bars and restaurants housed in lovingly-restored...

de Bellotas

  • Wine Bars–Nightlife

Tucked away outside Xintiandi proper, this quaint self-titled "jamon y vino" bar has a rich hardwood ceiling, sunlight streaming through...

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