Drinking and nightlife in French Concession

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in French Concession

    Speak Low

    Speak Low is a speakeasy within a speakeasy within a speakeasy. Once you find your way in through the Ocho bar equipment shop, start with a drink on the 2nd floor; outstanding cocktails run ¥75 to ¥85. Then head upstairs (hint: find China and you'll find the entrance) to the intimate, seating-only bar for expertly crafted Japanese-influenced cocktails from ¥100.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in French Concession

    Ars & Delecto

    Parisian-style cafe, with round wooden tables, a long marble bar and simple art deco images on white walls, Ars & Delecto is, without a doubt, one of the best cocktail bars in town. The small but punchy drinks menu has classic tipples, martinis, negronis, whisky sours and highballs, plus signature creations served with serious style.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in French Concession

    The Odd Couple

    Enter this Xintiandi speakeasy via a wall of rainbow LED lights and an enormous Pac-Man screen at the top of the stairs. Inside it's an intimate, thin rectangular space with red lighting, small tables, standing space and a little smoking balcony. The concept comes from two esteemed bartenders, Tokyo's Shingo Gokan and New York's Steve Schneider. Throwback classic cocktails are mixed to perfection.

  • Nightlife in French Concession

    The Bunker

    This speakeasy is located inside the Green & Safe restaurant on the 2nd floor, behind a wooden palette–style door. This sophisticated spot is a top choice for a quiet cocktail within Xintiandi. If you're drinking, you can skip the Green & Safe dining queue and order from the menu. Most of the cocktails are excellent, though some are a bit wacky.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in French Concession

    Café des Stagiaires

    This popular oasis of Francophilia is decked out in hip 'olde worlde' charm with a bar made from stacked suitcases and bistro-like decor, plus windows that fully open out creating a lovely patio atmosphere into the often raucous Found 158 complex. Cocktails include the mint julep, the basil smash and a punchy Sichuan negroni. Happy hour runs weekdays from 5pm to 8pm.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in French Concession

    Cotton’s

    This excellent bar is one of the most pleasant spots in the concession to raise a glass. Ensconced in a converted 1930s villa, the bar's interior has cosy sofas and fireplaces to snuggle around in the winter, and a tiny outdoor terrace on the 2nd floor. The real draw, though, is the garden, which is intimate yet still big enough not to feel cramped.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in French Concession

    1984 Bookstore & Cafe

    Big Brother might be watching, but he'd be hard-pressed to find you in this hidden nook of a bookshop-cafe off Hunan Rd. There's no sign, just a metal gate, and you'll need to buzz to get in. Once inside, there's a cosy room with exposed brick walls and a fantastic outdoor courtyard garden; perfect for breakfast or a coffee stop.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in French Concession

    Café del Volcán

    Tiny Café del Volcán offers a refuge from the bustle of Yongkang Rd. The minimalist cafe has just a few wooden box tables sharing the space with the roasting machine. The coffee here is excellent and its signature and very aromatic beans come from the owner's coffee plantation in Guatemala – in the family for 120 years.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in French Concession

    Senator Saloon

    From the team behind Sichuan Citizen comes this classy 1920s Prohibition-style cocktail bar in a quiet spot on Wuyuan Rd. Slink into a dark-wood booth under pressed metal ceilings and dim art deco lights to order a barrel-aged negroni from waitstaff decked out in braces and bow ties. There's a long menu of bourbon and rye-whiskey cocktails; excellent service.

  • Top ChoiceNightlife in French Concession

    Boxing Cat Brewery

    A popular three-floor microbrewery, with a rotating line-up of top-notch beers that range from the Standing 8 Pilsner and Black EyePA to the Right Hook Helles. But that’s not all – the kitchen has paired Southern home cooking (gumbo, blackened fish tacos), burgers and beer snacks with the drinks. Come for a pint; stay for dinner.

  • Nightlife in French Concession

    People 7

    Getting into this superstylish bar-cum-restaurant is an achievement in itself. That’s not because there’s a door policy, but because the shiny steel doors only open if you insert your hand into one of the nine holes set into the wall. Once inside, there’s a long steel bar on which to rest the oddly shaped glass your cocktail arrives in.

  • Nightlife in French Concession

    The Camel

    The French Concession’s go-to sports bar, Camel has pool tables, dartboards, foosball, big screens at all angles and nightly meal and drink offers, plus a big Tuesday quiz night. The bar often stays open until odd hours so that fans can catch that crucial 4am game. There's a good bar menu, with specials every night.

  • Nightlife in French Concession

    Daga Brewpub

    Beer enthusiasts should stop by hop house Daga to sample the mostly Chinese craft beer on some 40 rotating taps. The brews are a bit hit and miss, but you can taste test before settling on an order. The nice rooftop terrace here, exposed brick walls and comfort food (burgers, pasta and risotto) round out the warm pub atmosphere.

  • Nightlife in French Concession

    Seesaw

    Next door to the Muji flagship store, Seesaw is the spot to fuel up on great coffee from single-origin beans, mostly from Africa and South America. The 'coffee bar' dominates the room with its shiny La Marcozza machine and row of siphons and Chemex equipment. There are a few tables and chairs inside but, unfortunately, noise filters in from the mall.

  • Nightlife in French Concession

    Fumi Coffee

    White concrete walls decorated with stovetop espresso makers leave no guessing as to what design-savvy Fumi is all about: good coffee. Single-origin beans are sourced from Colombia and Peru and then roasted locally. Drinks range from the usual espresso, latte, cold-drip and filter coffees to the not-so-usual matcha mocha or nitro brew (cold-drip extraction for 24 hours).

  • Nightlife in French Concession

    Barraco

    Designed like a Brazilian favela, Barrco is a great summer spot with plenty of Latin energy. It's colourfully painted, with a corrugated iron roof, clotheslines and metal containers. Cocktails match the style, with caipirinhas and mojitos, plus those with names like Rio Delight, Favela Funk and Shanghai Samba. Bar food is on theme with Brazilian sausages and fried yuca.

  • Nightlife in French Concession

    Bell Bar

    This eccentric, unconventional boho haven is a delightful Tianzifang hideaway, with creaking, narrow wooden stairs leading to a higgledy-piggledy array of rooms and the tucked-away attic slung out above. Expect hookah pipes, mismatched furniture and a small, secluded mezzanine for stowaways from the bedlam outside. It’s in the second alley (Lane 248) on the right.

  • Nightlife in French Concession

    Capable

    By day this is a lovely little cafe to enjoy a book and single-origin coffee. Opt for beans from Costa Rica, Kenya and beyond, and have them brewed via the method of your choice (espresso to ice drip). At night, Capable turns in to a hip little spot to enjoy a cold craft beer.

  • Nightlife in French Concession

    Little Creatures

    Located in the Found 158 hub is this Australian-run craft-beer bar. The range of sudsy beers will satisfy both novices and serious hopheads. Knock back your drinks one at a time or go for the 2½-hour free flow for ¥168.

  • Nightlife in French Concession

    Shanghai Brewery

    Hand-crafted microbrews, a big range of comfort food and sport on TV… no surprise this massive hang-out heaves on Fridays and Saturdays for brunch and nights out. Try the North Star IPA brewed with pale and red malts or some craft cider (including passion fruit, strawberry and lime, and sweet apple). There's a nice terrace out front for people-watching.