An Insider’s Guide to Shanghai’s Expat Bars

Nightlife, Things to Do — By Lauren Johnson on April 22, 2010 at 9:00 am

1.) Blue Frog is one of the most popular expat bars in Shanghai for long-time expats and visiting businessmen. It features a lovely,  fully stocked bar with modern decor and friendly, bi-lingual staff. In addition to the expertly-mixed drinks, the awesome Western decor and the friendly bartenders, you’ll find an amazing menu of western foods, especially wonderful are the pastas and the American-style hamburgers that expats across the area adore. You’ll find every Blue Frog location in the city full of expats and international visitors who flock in droves for the food, drinks and little taste of home while in the Orient

2.) Malone’s American Cafe is one of the more low brow locations in the city, at least for expatriates looking for a good time. The bar has a giant hole in the center of the second floor that acts as a balcony look-over from the second floor to the stage on the first floor where scantly clad girl bands play live almost nightly. For expat businessmen this is one of the best places for a good American-style meal served by a young, attractive woman who expats a large tip for her friendly service. Every once in a while the bar will get flooded with sports fans, as Malone’s is literally the best (and sometimes the only) bar in Shanghai to play full games on the big screen (and that’s football — American style, not soccer!).

3.) O’ Malley’s Irish Pub is nestled in a hard-to-find corner of the French Concession, but despite this the place is hardly ever empty. You’ll find a more family-friendly atmosphere here that includes trivia night, a play area for children, a deck area for private parties, and many tiny crooks and crannies for romantic dates or fun group conversations. Its a place any expat has visited, loved, and returned to again and again.

4.) Windows isn’t just an expat bar, its a Shanghai establishment. This is the only place in Shanghai (probably the world) where you can find a good, cold beer for around one US dollar. In addition, you can get an amazing grilled cheese sandwich for about a dollar fifty! It doesn’t get any better than that! Although thats just a myth… it gets much better! They also have pasta, sandwiches, and an assortment of amazing snack foods as well as mixed drinks to go with the dollar beers. You’ll find lots of local students enjoying the low prices, as well as expat English teachers or others living on a dime (like yours truly!).

5.) Mao bar has a special spot in the Shanghai expat’s heart.  For 100 RMB ($13 USD) you get to enter Shanghai’s somewhat seedy underbelly of unlimited booze. The dance floor is never empty, and you’ll find many women (unfortunately, some of them are working girls, if you get my drift) who grace the floor with amazing moves as well as the ability to pull anyone out onto the floor. The reason this makes the best expat bar list is not wholly because of the bar itself, but rather the lovely treat directly outside the establishment. A man with a street food cart comes nightly to the area and serves the BEST kabobs of lamb, vegetables and other midnight snacks that you’ll find that side of the Great Wall.

Tags: bars, Blue frog, drinking, malones, mao, O'Malleys, pubs, windows