Top 10 China tours 2024/2025 for first visits and returns: embark on a lifetime experience. Learn more

Sundowners in Shanghai

Written by GavinUpdated Jan. 16, 2021

Having a "sundowner" is a classic British ritual marking the end of a long day with a cool cocktail while watching the day fall into night, and Shanghai does not disappoint as it offers spectacular venues for such an occasion. There are many high-end bars to watch the sunset with a drink, but the best views are often in 5-star hotels, in which a few cocktails can put quite a dent into the travel wallet, as well as being slightly impersonal and out of touch with the real feel of the city.

Without breaking the traveling bank or being pretentious (no need to change from walking shoes to high heels), this list is for the traveler who desires a casual sundowner which includes a spectacular view and and/or a fun glimpse into the real Shanghai.

Kathleen's 5 — Sundowners with a Twist of History

Kathleen's 5, Shanghai

Situated atop the old Jockey Club, a beautiful art-deco building (c1934) and what is now the Shanghai Art Museum, Kathleen's 5 is a rooftop bar/restaurant enhanced by a large outdoor patio with a historical view. The view below is of the lush green People's Park which was once the Shanghai Jockey Club's race course and beyond is a view to the historic buildings which line famous Nanjing Road.

If Kathleen, the proprietor, is around you might be graced with her five-minute history lesson about the historic Jockey Club and its subsequent use as the Shanghai Library after the Cultural Revolution.

Keep in mind that: When taking the one flight of stairs to the rooftop from the elevator, take a look at the original iron horse head balusters on the staircase; reminiscent of the buildings' former Jockey Club days

Best place to end up after: touring of the People's Square, Nanjing Road or Jing'an Temple.

  • Address: 5th Floor, Shanghai Art Museum, 325 Nanjing Xi Lu
  • Happy Hour: Daily 4–7pm — half off selected martinis, wine and beer
  • Reservations: 021-63272221

The Rooster — Sundowners with the Locals

The Rooster, Shanghai

This laid back bar has some of the cheapest pints in town. Situated on Yongkang Rd, a narrow street which in years not long passed was lined with neighborhood vegetable markets and bicycle repair shops, is now home to a myriad of bars and restaurants of varying caliber. The street has become somewhat of a controversial battleground between the upstart bar owners and the upstairs local residents over the noise; especially in warmer months when patrons take advantage of the outdoor seating on the sidewalk.

Caveat aside, the entire street is lively in the afternoons and early evenings with students, locals and young expat professionals as well as a handful of well-meant elderly pan handlers. Yongkang is certainly not the swankiest area of Shanghai, but with the jovial atmosphere, lively music and outdoor seating it can be a great place to meet people or simply to people watch.

Keep in mind that: the street quiets down and closes up around 9pm to keep the upstairs residents happy.

Best place to end up after: touring the French Concession area.

  • Address: 51 Yongkang Lu
  • Happy Hour: daily until 7pm — selected drinks including draft pints at 25 RMB

Captain Bar — Sundowners with a View That Won't Break the Budget

Captain Bar, Shanghai The Capatain Bar view, in around 2013, before the Shanghai Tower was finished

Just steps back from The Bund, and on the rooftop of the famous Captain Youth Hostel, is the Captain Bar offering one of the best views of the Pudong skyline. Along with reasonable food and happy hour prices this casual backpacker venue attracts an eclectic crowd of budget travelers from around the world as well as locals and expats.

Captain Bar is very casual and welcoming and you'll be quite surprised that this little hostel offers a view that competes with those of the luxury hotels just around its corner.

Keep in mind that: Although there is an elevator there are still many stairs and steps getting to the bar.

Best place to end up after: your stroll on The Bund.

  • Address: 37 Fuzhou Lu (near Sichuan Zhong Lu)
  • Happy Hour: Monday–Thursday, 4pm–7pm — buy one get one free

Paulaner Brewhouse Pudong — Sundowners with a True Sunset

The Paulaner Brewhouse, Shanghai

The Bund is not the only riverside esplanade in Shanghai offering panoramic views of the city skyline. Many tourists miss the Pudong Riverside Promenade on the opposing side of the river. The Paulaner Brewhouse is one of the very few venues along the river's edge where you can witness an actual sunset and have a ringside view to the constant hustle and bustle of maritime activity on the river.

With a large and informal picnic table filled patio, The Brewhouse is a favorite amongst locals, tourists and expats who enjoy a true sundowner with friends and family.

Best place to end up after touring the Pearl Television Tower, the Shanghai Aquarium, or strolling on the Pudong Riverside Promenade.

Keep in mind that the best place to see the sunset is from the outside patio which means you may need a reservation on a warm day.

  • Address: Riverside Promenade, Binjiang Da Dao, Pudong (close to Pudong Shangri-La Hotel)
  • Happy Hour: Monday–Friday, 4pm–7pm — half-priced drinks menu
  • Reservations: 021-6888 3935

Bars on a China Highlights Shanghai Tour

On our Shanghai tours evenings are usually your own free time, unless you are on one of our evening tours. We hope our sundowner suggestions help you get the most out of your Shanghai experience. Feel free to ask our knowledgeable travel advisors and guides for further assistance.

You Might Like

Start planning your tailor-made tour with 1-1 help from our travel advisors. Create Your Trip

Sign up to Our Newsletter

Be the first to receive exciting updates, exclusive promotions, and valuable travel tips from our team of experts.

Click to Sign up

Why China Highlights

Customize Your Tour

Customize Your Tour

  • Travel Advisors Rooted in China
  • Instant Response, No More Waits!
  • Direct Connections, Supreme Values
Maximize Your Flexibility

Maximize Your Flexibility

  • Your own personal guide and ride.
  • Explore at your own pace.
  • Unparalleled flexibility, impossible on a group tour.
Ensure Your Satisfaction

Ensure Your Satisfaction

  • The Top 20% nationwide guides at your service.
  • 20% more space on your group's transportation.
  • 24/7 emergency support.
Live Your China Story

Live Your China Story

  • Authentic local culture and lifestyles.
  • Understand the culture by living it.
  • Uncover fascinating histories and witness New China.
Rated 5 out of 5 | 98.8% Excellence
China Highlights International
Travel Service Co., LTD
Featured on
China Highlights was featured on these medias.

Address: Building 6, Chuangyi Business Park, 70 Qilidian Road, Guilin, Guangxi, 541004, China