The Shanghai Nightlife Travel Guide is part of the Tahiti Triumph Trip Report. It covers the following cities:
- NYC JFK
- Dubai, UAE
- Shanghai, China
- Papeete, Tahiti
- Bora Bora, Tahiti
- Moorea, Tahiti
- Auckland, New Zealand
- Hong Kong Island
- Tokyo, Japan
- Dallas, Texas
This guide has been updated in 2019 (see TPOL’s Guide to Libations in Shanghai).
Shanghai is the best city in the world. I cannot definitively tell you why I think so. There’s just something special about it. It has a unique energy and diversity that I have yet to encounter anywhere else. Curiously, what I love most about Shanghai is that there isn’t a lot to do. Days consist of either going to the Fabric Market or recovering from the night before. And it is the latter point that this post will focus on.
Bracing for a long evening out, I begin the night by heading to Yang’s Dumpling for only a few savory dumplings. Binging at Yang’s inevitably results in an inescapable food coma. As Yang’s is located on the bustling street of Nanjing Xi Lu the next stop is the dive bar known as Windows TOO, which is situated west of People’s Square in Jing’an Temple area. A few Tiger beers, a few rounds of craps, and maybe a few whiskeys means it’s time for the next phase of the evening: more drinking.
Head back in the direction from which you came and go to Barbarossa Bar where you can enjoy a proper cocktail with a view of People’s Park. If you’re feeling tired, head to the Starbucks next door for a doppio to keep you going. After all it’s going to be a long night.
From there, hop in a cab and instruct shifu to take you to 外滩 (Waitan or the Bund). Be sure to stop at an All Days or Family Mart to maintain your BAC. I recommend a giant Tsingtao beer, two mini shots of Jack, and a Coke Zero chaser. Don’t bother playing the 7-Eleven Drinking Game because you won’t last very long. If you’re looking for one of the classiest bars in Shanghai, head to the Long Bar at the Waldorf Shanghai. If you’re looking for a more international crowd the second stop is usually Bar Rouge, a French owned nightclub with impeccable views of the Huangpu River and Pudong (home to the Park and Grand Hyatt). One drink at $15 should be enough to realize that it is time to find another place to party. When exiting, do not take the taxis parked right outside as they will not go by the meter. Take Uber instead.
The next destination is the internationally and notoriously known nightclub called M1NT Shanghai. M1NT may not be what it was years ago but the nostalgia of going up the elevator and seeing the sharks swimming around bring back some of the best memories. The main dance floor plays a variety of music while the lounge plays hiphop and is more intimate.
If you still have a couple of Jack bottles, now may be the time to go to the bathroom and consume those. M1NT like Bar Rouge has New York priced drinks. As a tourist this isn’t a big deal but for those living in Shanghai on a local salary, a night at M1NT could blow the budget.
If you still are capable of reading this post, then check the time. Is it 3AM? Good. Now it’s time to leave and take another Uber to a Chinese club. When I lived in Shanghai, I used to know their names but alas the glorious ones have all closed. These include Babyface, Club 88, and Richy. Undoubtedly, new ones have opened so you won’t be out of options.
If you still are capable of reading this post, then check the time again. Is it 5AM? Good. Now it’s time to go to the after party Hollywood Shanghai. Be sure to have 100 RMB to get in. The good old days of sneaking in seem to be a thing of the past. If you somehow stumble upon the courtyard, be sure to do a handstand to prove your sobriety.
If you still are capable of reading this post then the sun is now coming up and you probably are very hungry. Not to worry, outside of Hollywood you will find Chinese BBQ, fried rice, and dumplings to satisfy your stomach. Remarkably, you will also find that your proficiency of the Chinese language is at an all time high, or so you think. Be sure to tell shifu that you want your food to be ‘hen la’.
With your mouth burning from my advice, I think it’s time to call it a day and head back to your hotel. By now the breakfast buffet should be open if you want a snack before passing out and doing this all again when you wake after well after the sun has gone down.