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Shanghai’s Best Bars

Shanghai is on a mission to quench your thirst, whatever your preferred poison. We’ve peeked inside the city’s enviable drinks cabinet and found the best bars for each of the key spirits – vodka, whisky, tequila, rum and gin all get a look in. Bottoms up!

Fave tipple: Vodka
Visit: The Nest

Flap your wings and fly to The Nest, a design-led, Bund-side beauty with a refined loungey atmosphere and bird’s-eye cityscapes. Flawless Grey Goose vodka-infused cocktails are paired with a tempting array of seafood snacks – oysters and black pearl caviar, anyone? Brave sorts should try the Viking’s Breath, a potent potion of vodka, cynar, orange, wolfberries and a punch of German horseradish paste. Or, spice it up with a cinnamon sour featuring pear vodka, eau de vie liqueur and rose petals.

Fave tipple: Whisky
Visit: LAB

Even if you didn’t enjoy science lessons, you’ll love LAB, particularly if you’re crushing on grain-based booze. This hip-happening, two-tiered Jing’an sipster is renowned for its excellent whisky selection, and its walls are lined with premium spirits, which you can admire by candlelight. The dapper drinkers are also worth an eyeful. 1093 Wuding Lu, Jingan.

Fave tipple: Tequila
Visit: El Ocho

Forget Willy Wonka – the Willy we’re interested in is Willy Trullas Moreno, who Shanghai has to thank for the former French Concession’s El Efante restaurant, El Willy and El Coctel bar (RIP). El Ocho continues Moreno’s winning streak with this tucked-away heritage honey replete with speakeasy staples. We’re talking exposed brick a-go-go, timber, high-vaulted ceilings, low lighting and oversized leather-velvet combos. The drinks are anything but standard: potent, pitch-perfect classic cocktails that attract a sophisticated, sybaritic crowd.

Fave tipple: Rum
Visit: Unico by Mauro Colagreco

This Latin-loving lounge and restaurant on the Bund has a flair for late-night tapas (Michelin-starred Argentinian chef Colagreco is in charge, after all) and any-time rum and pisco. Feel-good South American vibes and an equally sizzling crowd are other reasons why the punters flock here. Join them.

Fave tipple: Gin
Visit: Speak Low

Speak Low snagged a top spot in Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2017; no wonder the judges were won over by the Nippon-style precision tipples from ex NY-barman Shingo Gokan. Call us unoriginal, but our fave has to be the eponymous Speak Low: a bittersweet, choc-Bacardi-sherry concoction. This multi-level libation haven attracts a clientele that seems to increase in glitziness, the higher up you go. 579 Fuxing Zhong Lu, Huangpu.

This article was originally written by LUXE for PenCities.

For more on where to drink (and eat) in the space-age supercity, nab a copy of the LUXE Shanghai guide…

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