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

The Former French Concession is full of small cocktail bars and speakeasies shrouded in varying degrees of secrecy. Farther east, The Bund is also a good place for upscale bars.

Nightlife streets are constantly changing, subject to government regulations, renovation plans, and the like. Just as there is a move to push restaurants into malls, there's also seemingly an initiative to concentrate bars and clubs where possible. Found 158 on Julu Lu on the edge of the Former French Concession is the major example of this, though areas like Xintiandi and Columbia Circle similarly boast clusters of places to go for a drink alongside their restaurants.

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  • 1. Shake

    French Concession | Live Music

    Funk and soul supper club Shake hits exactly the right notes for a great night out. A curated lineup of guest artists alongside the club’s regular...Read More

  • 2. Bandu Cabin

    Putuo | Live Music

    Also known as Bandu Music, this unpretentious café and bar in the M50 art compound sells hard-to-find CDs and occasionally holds concerts of...Read More

  • 3. Heyday

    French Concession | Live Music

    There's not a bad seat to be had at this intimate jazz-club gem, tucked on a quiet street. A vintage feel and great drinks complement nightly...Read More

  • 4. House of Blues and Jazz

    The Bund | Live Music

    Several music sets nightly and loads of ambience—dark-wood paneling, low-lighting, memorabilia from 1930s Shanghai—make the House of Blues and...Read More

  • 5. Jazz at Lincoln Center Shanghai

    The Bund | Live Music

    Just off the Bund, the Shanghai outpost of New York City's famed Jazz at Lincoln Center venue doesn't drip with the local history that places...Read More

  • 6. JZ Club

    French Concession | Live Music

    At the king of Shanghai's jazz offerings, house bands and stellar guest performers mix it up nightly. Look for plush seating and drink prices...Read More

  • 7. MAO Livehouse

    City Center | Live Music

    To the west and south of Xintiandi is one of Shanghai's best live-music venues, with foreign as well as up-and-coming local bands taking to...Read More

  • 8. Yuyintang

    Changning | Live Music

    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...Read More

  • 9. 390 Bar

    Changning | Bars/Pubs

    Shanghai's only gay live music venue, 390 bar is also popular with Shanghai's straight club-goers. The decor is outrageous and flaming, perfect...Read More

  • 10. Cotton Club

    French Concession | Live Music

    A dark and smoky jazz and blues club, the Cotton Club is an institution in Shanghai, and still one of the best places to catch live music. It...Read More

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