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tikibars

Cocktails in Beijing / Shanghai

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Hi

I definitely searched for and perused all previous Beijing / Shanghai topics, and they all deal more or less exclusively with food only.

So I thought I'd start a thread here in the bevvies forum.

(Thanks though, for all of the chow suggestions!).

Looking for some craft or classic cocktail bars in Beijing and Shanghai.

I don't care about atmosphere - the bar can be swanky, divey, trendy, or traditional, cheap or expensive, I just want a really well-poured, carefully mixed cocktail. Either modern craft-style or pre-prohibition classics, as long as they're made with great care and skill. American-style or Eastern spins on the concept both work.

Thinking of places of the same caliber as: Velvet Tango Room (Cleveland) Violet Hour or Drawing Room (Chicago), Iris or Cure (New Orleans), Bourbon and Branch (SF), Tender Bar (Tokyo), Le Lion (Hamburg) or any number of places in NYC or London... (for starters).

Suggestions?

thanks!


Edited by tikibars (log)

-James

My new book is, "Destination: Cocktails", from Santa Monica Press! http://www.destinationcocktails.com

Please see http://www.tydirium.net for information on all of my books, including "Tiki Road Trip", and "Big Stone Head", plus my global travelogues, and more!

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Apothecary has been open in Beijing for a while. They just opened in Shanghai and I can attest it is very good. Let's say 70% as good as Cure, Alembic, Death & Co., etc.

In Shanghai, there's also The Alchemist which does molecular. Unfortunately the drinks are lackluster. I wanted to post a review of this place as the concept is pretty interesting, but it's hard to do so without a copy of the menu. I might go back and photograph it myself.

For the Japanese-style of cocktail bar, there is Constellation. I personally don't like this style nearly as much as the American one. Lots of blue curacao drinks but at least still several good classics.

But if you only have like three nights in Shanghai, just go to Apothecary every night and don't bother with the rest.

Send me a message if you're in Shanghai and want to get some drinks.

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Thanks, Kent.

My friend and I will be in Shanghai from May 26 to June 1.

Definitely up for drinks at any or all of the places you mentioned.


-James

My new book is, "Destination: Cocktails", from Santa Monica Press! http://www.destinationcocktails.com

Please see http://www.tydirium.net for information on all of my books, including "Tiki Road Trip", and "Big Stone Head", plus my global travelogues, and more!

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In Shanghai, both Alchemist and Apothecary are in the same location and both worth a visit. Alchemist has moved more away from "molecular" and has a nice blend.

Even at Hotel bars, cocktails in Shanghai tend to be on the sweet side and those made with chinese spirits can be a little funky on the palate.

I would also say grab a drink at 100 Century at the Park Hyatt, Vue Bar at Hyatt Bund and Flair bar at the Ritz for the views and scene.

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I could see the point of going somewhere like this if you were an expat living in Shanghai, but since you're not, maybe you're better off spending your short time there experiencing some things that are actually unique to China / Shanghai during those few days, rather than something you can find better and cheaper back in the US. Lots of great food and other stuff to enjoy there. One of my favorite moments last time I was there (in '07) was finding people ballroom dancing on the street at 9 or 10 PM on a weekend evening.

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Apothecary has quite a few house-made items, and ones that use Chinese ingredients, like Chinese traditional medicine ingredients in their house bitters. I wouldn't say any of those are amazing, but it is something different that you couldn't find elsewhere.

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For future travelers:

I hit Apothecary, Alchemist, Constellation 1, Constellation 2, and El Cocktel in Shanghai, and Apothecary in Beijing (Kent joined me for some of them - thanks, that was fun!).

All have their moments, but as Kent said above, the best of them are "70%" as good as the best places in the states, with El Cocktel and Apothecary being the best of the bunch.

Constellation 2 has an astounding collection of Scotch, but their cocktails suck. El Cocktel is hyper trendy but good. The Apothecary locations in both towns have an exactly identical menu.


-James

My new book is, "Destination: Cocktails", from Santa Monica Press! http://www.destinationcocktails.com

Please see http://www.tydirium.net for information on all of my books, including "Tiki Road Trip", and "Big Stone Head", plus my global travelogues, and more!

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