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Chinesey, Not Speakeasy

April 28, 2014

Yuan Lounge

With the local and international saturation of speakeasy-inspired bars and prohibition era-themed libations, it’s a refreshing, practically joyous occasion when a venue as original as Yuan Lounge joins the burgeoning Shanghai cocktail scene. Forget the ubiquitous tufted leather lounges and exposed Edison bulbs – Yuan channels retro 70s China, with carved wood furniture, artwork, vintage glassware and lashings of vibrant red creating an at once fun and playful, yet intricately thought-out backdrop to one of the most interesting new homegrown offerings in town.

With a local owner, local barmen and strong local following, Yuan is a testament to the evolution of the Shanghai cocktail culture. Their signature drinks program spans the immaculately presented likes of the ‘Noble Ginseng Blazer’ (with Martell Noblige, honey and Changbai Mountain ginseng) and the ‘Shaanxi Warrior’ (with hawthorn-infused Olmeca tequila, apricot brandy, lemon and cranberry juice), and the deft employment of a Perlini Cocktail Carbonator – a rarity in this town – means flat cocktails can be transformed into fizzed-up fun in a jiff. Along with the tipples, Yuan’s focus is also firmly fixed on its food offering, with fresh oysters flown in thrice weekly, and a variety of hearty meat dishes like double loin lamb chops and a seared-to-perfection dry-aged T-bone. Original and awesome!

1/F / 17 Xiangyang Bei Lu / near Julu Lu / +86 21 6433 0538 /