Recapping all the latest cocktail bars and drinking holes that have opened in the last few months. Happy hours included, too.
The Broken Dagger
Ready To Drink
The Broken Dagger (TBD)
Address: 93-1 Xiangyang Bei Lu, near Xinle Lu 襄阳北路93-1号, 近新乐路
Hours: Wed, Thu, Sun 7pm-3am, Fri-Sat 7pm-4am
The Broken Dagger aka TBD is a speakeasy cocktail bar that is all about flair bartending. It’s the brainchild of Geo Valdivieso, an illustrious bartender-about-town.
The specialty cocktails are showy, tasty concoctions, but if that isn’t your kind of tipple, they’ll gladly pour you a vodka soda. It’s a small, cozy space and the atmosphere is upbeat—you’ll most likely end up chatting with your neighboring table. Cocktails range from ¥88-120.
It’s speakeasy in the sense that the entrance is hidden. That said, click the link below to find out how to enter.
Good for: Girls’ night out, dates, or a long session with friends.
Address: 179 Fumin Lu, near Julu Lu 富民路179号, 近巨鹿路
Hours: 7pm-2am or until last guest leaves
Reservations only, no walk-ins
J.Boroski is a secluded cocktail bar that is known for its high-caliber bespoke drinks, house-infusions and distillations, and exclusivity. The bar’s calling card is that it does not have a menu, dubbing their bespoke drinks as a “cocktail concierge service,” and tailors each drink to the guest’s preference.
The drinks are alluring, especially due to the house-infusions, which runs the gamut from bitters to spirits, cordials, liqueurs, shrubs, and sodas. It’s very nerdy stuff.
Cocktails start at ¥100 and can go to ¥200, sometimes higher if you’re going to mix-and-match even more premium spirits.
Good for: Drink nerds and entertainment.
Address: 1/F, Fengshengli, No. 18, 245 Maoming Bei Lu, near Nanjing Xi Lu 茂名北路245弄18号1楼, 近南京西
Hours: Daily 11:30am-midnight
Charcohol is a gastrolounge by award-winning mixologist Cross Yu and chef Mandela Zhu. The concept is in the name—it’s a combination of charcoal (grilling) and alcohol.
There is so much going on about this place—they do refined global cuisine, flashy and classic cocktails, a massive outdoor space, a crazy brunch crowd, and happy hours. Signature cocktails are ¥88/each.
Happy hour is daily from 3pm to 8:30pm, buy-one-get-one selected cocktails.
Good for: Dinner with drinks, dates, day-drinking, and lounging.
Address: 5/F, 90 Shaanxi Nan Lu, near Jinxian Lu 陕西南路90号5楼, 近进贤路
Hours: Daily 6pm-1am, Sunday brunch from 12pm
Chameleon is cocktail bar and restaurant by industry luminaries Eddy Yang and Carson Xie. The space is designed to feel like a living room—it’s a casual take on the bar atmosphere, switching out dark, moody interiors for bright, open spaces.They also have a cozy patio.
They’ve just had first menu change, this time focusing on Southeast Asia. The last menu was Shanghai-inspired. The food menu will also follow the theme. Cocktails range from ¥80 and up.
Happy hour is every day from 5-7pm, selected cocktails for ¥50. They also do a Thursday barbecue with a set menu for ¥200-¥250 per person.
Good for: An easy-going night with sophisticated drinks.
Address: 158 Fumin Lu, near Julu Lu 富民路158号, 近巨鹿路
Lucky Mart is a cheap and cheerful drinking hole slinging highballs and easy-going Japanese-skewed drinks. It’s inspired by the konbini (Japanese convenience store) culture—a casual place for a quick drink without breaking the bank. It’s a tiny place, and crowds of people are already spilling onto the street during the weekends or otherwise.
First-tier whiskey highballs are ¥58. Whisky labels one level up are ¥88, and there’s also top-shelf stuff.
There’s also a simple menu of Japanese snack foods like oden, onigiri rice balls, cup noodles, and sandwiches from ¥20.
Lucky Mart is by the Happy Place Hospitality Group (Egg, Bird, Bitter, KIN Urban Thai Kitchen.)
Good for: Cheap, no-frills night out.
Address: 158 Jinxian Lu, near Maoming Nan Lu 进贤路158号, 近茂名南路
Hours: Mon-Thu 5pm-2am, Fri-Sat 5pm-3am, Sun 5pm-1:30am
Dead Poet is an chic cocktail bar from the OHA Group, which also runs Bar No. 3, OHA Eatery, and Pass Residence. The design-forward space is courtesy of the group’s expertise in architecture and interior design. (Dead Poet opened in September 2019, but I only just visited.)
The bar is so named for a poet that once lived upstairs. And so, the menu is rife with poetry—cocktails have provocative names like “Greatest Silence” and Burning in Water Drowning in Flame,” each with its own stanza.
Cocktails include signatures from their other venues, including the now-closed Blackbird. These are creative drinks, some more so than others, and the ones I samples proved to be stiff pours. Cocktails range from ¥95 to ¥138.
Good for: Dates, sophisticated humans who like poetry.
Ready To Drink (RTD)
Address: 1/F, Theatre X, 523 Huaihai Zhong Lu, near Chengdu Nan Lu 淮海中路523号TX淮海1层, 近成都南路
Ready To Drink aka RTD is the latest from bartender Daniel An (Arch, Atelier, Antique), located in the newly refurbished Theatre X mall on Huaihai Lu. It’s more a cocktail dispensary rather than a bar—it’s kitted out with all the latest gimmicks and photo-ops, including touch-screen ordering panels, iridescent take-away cups, and staff in cargo-colored jumpsuits.
How to order: Choose cocktail or mocktail, your base liquor, then one of five flavors, and finally size of regular (¥25) or large (¥28). A QR code appears for you to pay and you wait for your cocktail to be made.
They also do a number of pre-made cocktails on the shelves. These are ready to drink (geddit?!), packed in vacuum-sealed bags, should you need them for home.
Good for: Cheap grab-and-go cocktails.