One of the first speakeasy-style bars to sweep the Shanghai scene, the Old West-inspired Senator Saloon only celebrated its first anniversary last month, which may come as a surprise given how swiftly it has already become a standby for the city’s most discerning drinkers. Founded by Mike and Daisy Chiang (behind Citizen and Sichuan Citizen) in collaboration with former US policeman David Schroeder, this intimate den truly harkens back to another day and age; a pigmented vision of red walls, Texas-imported pressed tin ceiling, smooth jazz soundtrack and long wooden booths on which to imbibe and canoodle.
Luckily, Senator Saloon is not only a treat for the eyes but also for the tastebuds, with a main focus on whisky and a penchant for rare US bourbons and ryes, along with barrel-aged gin. A list of 26 classic cocktails from the 1920s has everything from Negronis to Moscow Mules, although the Sazerac (rye, Herbsaint, Peychaud’s bitters), Basil gimlet (gin, basil, lemon juice), and Mint Julep (bourbon, mint) are fan favourites. For something a little more creative, try the Stinky Pig with bacon-infused bourbon, maple syrup, and mescal rinse. With bitters and syrups all housemade, citrus juiced daily, and a small selection of pub snacks for the peckish, SS has all the ingredients to transport you to a hazy Prohibition Era Texas saloon – everything except the cowboy boots, that is!