Shanghai's nightlife needs no introduction...
(But here is one anyway... The city is fast paced, full of young and old expats, and locals who love their nightlife socializing and partying. As the world's fastest growing city, Shanghai is no stranger to world-class clubbing and pubbing, with a string of international party destinations across the city.)
We, at China Highlights, decided to hop to the most 'happening' spots in town, and update our list to include our top-12 awesome places for you to party at when you are in Shanghai. Our list spans across popular pubs and clubs that are a must-see if you are a night owl. Shanghai's decadent nightlife of the 1930s era has now transformed into a modern, progressive, and dynamic party culture.
1. Monkey Champagne
This used to be known as Monkey Lounge and then got a face lift. This is a tiny bar and restaurant, that turns into a hip hop club after around 10 pm. Warning: It can get claustrophobic. Cocktails at the bar are pricey, in the RMB 75 category and not the best, but the main reason to go here is the hip hop dance music - promising you a very fun night.
- Address: 38 Donghu Lu, near Xinle Lu
- Open hours: Daily, 9pm till late
2. The Geisha
This venue is by Collective Concepts, and is a restaurant and club with 3 floors that offer different things. You can enjoy their Japanese restaurant, their club with a DJ, or their Sake lounge or the rooftop. Their cocktails menu is unique. Do note they have a dress code, so no open-toed footwear for men.
- Address: 390 South Shaanxi Lu, near Fuxing Lu
- Open hours: Mon. to Sat. 5pm-11pm; Sun. 12pm-11pm
3. The Apartment
This venue, also by Collective Concepts, is a hugely popular club, and you haven't seen Shanghai's nightlife if you haven't been to The Apartment. Divided into two areas for hip-hop and house/ pop music, this club tends to get very crowded on weekends, an expat central.
There is a rooftop patio as well. If you want to have a meal here, that's possible too. Don't miss some tasty street food from the stall outside or a yummy burger from the mini burger van after hours of partying here.
- Address: 3/F 47 Yongfu Lu, near Fuxing Lu
- Open hours: Sun to Thu 11am-2am; Fri-Sat 11am-3am
4. The Shelter
If you're looking for underground dance music, this is it. This is right next to The Apartment and is an underground club in a place that was actually a bomb shelter once upon a time. It almost feels like being part of a cult while you are here.
With heavy bass hip hop, this is the spot to let your hair down to some good rap music. If you are lucky, you might catch some international alternative music DJ in action. Oh, and the drinks are quite cheap but it can get smoky inside.
- Address: Basement of 5 Yongfu Lu, near Fuxing Xi Lu
- Open hours: Wed.-Sat., 9pm-late
Close to The Shelter, in the same area on Yongfu Lu, is this new club which has fast gained a following of fans of techy house music. The atmosphere inside is perfect, if electronic/ house music is your thing. This place has a very cultish underground feel to it without coming across as smoky or shady (which is what The Shelter becomes like after midnight).
It has a futuristic interior decor theme, with reasonably priced drinks (30 RMB beers, 50 RMB cocktails as the average. A quick fact: This came about as a result of Shiva Lounge shutting down due to the noise complaints from residents.
- Address: 449 Huashan Lu, near Wulumuqi Lu
- Open hours: Daily; 10pm to 5am
Unico has become one of the Bund's most fashionable, hip clubs with a Latin flavor. They have great cocktails, and also feature live bands, salsa nights and more - the music is great and this is the perfect spot if you want to go to the bund and dance the night away. Cocktails are at 75 RMB and above.
- Address: Three On The Bund, 2/F 3 Zhongshan Yi Lu, near Guangdong Lu
- Open hours: Mon - Fri, 6pm till 2am; Sat - Sun, 6pm till late
We hear that this is the branch of the popular Milan club with the same name. This is a popular late night party spot and it is usual to see long lines of party clad expats snaking out the entrance. This is more of an after-party zone, with late party animals filling in to extend their night of merry making with more drinks on a large dance floor.
- Address: 46 Yueyang Lu, near Dongping Lu
- Open hours: Wed, Fri-Sat 10pm-late; Thu 9pm-late
8. Bar Rouge
This is one of the most popular clubs on the bund, and well known for great music, great service and a great night out. Their drinks are pretty good too. It also offers a great terrace view, but the terrace is not always open. This place is a must-visit for out-of-towners who want to sample the city's nightlife as this bar pretty much sets the standard of partying at the bund. Drinks are expensive, the decor is quite slick.
- Address: Bund 18, 7/F, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, near Nanjing Dong Lu
- Open hours: Sun-Wed 6pm-3am; Thu-Sat 6pm-late
9. The Camel
If you are on the hunt for a fun, popular, large sports bar to catch a game or just get some beers and great burgers 'n fries, then The Camel won't disappoint. With an Australian feel to it, they have more than multiple screens with all the major sports being displayed live. There are pool tables and Foosball tables for entertainment. 4pm-8pm is the happy hour here. Their beer selection is impressive.
- Address: 1 Yueyang Lu, near Donping Lu
- Open hours: Mon to Fri 11am-2am; Sat-Sun 10am-2am
This is an underground space, and is huge! They are best known for live acts by visiting DJs and the music is almost always some shade of EDM and house. Drinks are cheap and this place has a following.This place on a concert night can get extremely crowded and not ideal if you suffer from claustrophobia.
- Address: 1 Wulumuqi Lu, near Hengshan Lu
- Open hours: Thu - Sat, 10pm - 5am
If you are looking to hang out at a German bar that serves up some great beers, live music and food, then Paulaner is the place to go! This place has become the most well-known and successful German bar/restaurant in Shanghai, and is across four locations — Fengyang Lu, Expo Village, Xintiandi and Binjiang Da Dao.
We recommend the branch in Xintiandi. They have live bands on most weekdays and weekends. A very warm, cozy atmosphere, this place is perfect for beer lovers. You'd also find some of the best German food at Paulaner.
- Address: Xintiandi North Block, Lane 181 Taicang Lu
- Open hours: Daily 5pm-2am
12. House of Blues and Jazz
It looks like an old European bar. Wooden tables, wooden chairs and big black and white photos of famous Jazz singers. The live music sets here are very good, and hits the spot if you are a Jazz lover. This is a great place to unwind with a few drinks, after dinner, and sway to the melodies of jazz.
- Address: 60 Fuzhou Lu, near the Bund
- Open hours: Tue to Sun; 2pm-2am
Recommended Shanghai Tours
- 3-Day Essence of Shanghai and Watertown Tour — see the main sights and enjoy the nightlife — ideal for a quick visa-free trip