A View from the City: Shanghai

11 July, 2014

What new openings are exciting you?

This summer will see a number of veterans opening up new establishments. There’s Starling, a colonial-style bar helmed by Daniel An, the 2013 Grey Goose China Champion, with consultants Theo Watt and Adam Devermann chipping in. Then there’s Speak Low, headed by Shingo Gokan – a speakeasy bar accessible only through a retail shop. Cross, after leaving Muse is also partnering with Chris Xi –the current Diageo World Class champion to open a bar. Its concept isn’t fixed as yet but with two DWC champions behind the bar, it’s generated considerable buzz in the industry.  

I am excited about my new venue in a 1940s building in the former French Concession called Tiki China. Drawing inspiration from the long line of tiki bars such as Don the Beachcomber, expect a tropical haven in the heart of the city with a cocktail menu heavy on rum and made up of 100% fresh fruit created by my partner Jackie Ho, two-time Asian champion in 2007 and 2009. 

How big is the cocktail scene?  

There are close to 2,000 bars and clubs in the city and only about 30 cocktail bars, so it isn’t a massive scene. Cocktails appeal to a particular set of consumers. With beers that go for CNY10 in the city and good cocktails on average costing CNY70, it’s clear what demographic the local cocktail consumers belong to. Besides expats, the typical local cocktail drinker has probably spent some time overseas, has an affinity for a western lifestyle and is affluent enough to afford a higher priced alcoholic beverage. 

What are the latest drinks trends?

Shanghai is a little behind global trends – we’re experiencing the revival of classic cocktails that was the trend in Europe and Japan a few years ago. So bars are creating modern classic cocktails with a twist. Generally, the local clientele is still going for all-time favorites such as the Mojito and Long Island Iced Tea and have yet to experiment with more complicated concoctions.  





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Nick Strangeway

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