What can I say, we have a soft spot for a strong drink with a view.
At night, when the towering skyscrapers of Shanghai are lit up in a vast array of colors and lights, it is hard to imagine a more striking skyline anywhere in the world. It’s why the Bund, a mere path along a river, remains crowded at all hours, people trying to capture the perfect photo of the Pudong neighborhood across the Huangpu River. It’s hard not to fall for Shanghai with a view like that.
But in a city that is vertical – it has over 300 skyscrapers – the best views are inevitably found up high. Thanks to the large number of hotels and developments, especially in the Bund and Pudong areas, there are plenty of rooftop bar options, all with compelling views of the city. So where should you go to enjoy a drink with the vibrant city of Shanghai as your backdrop?
Our Shanghai nightlife guide to rooftop bars will help you decide where to go to get that perfect view with a killer cocktail.
Shanghai Nightlife Guide to Rooftop Bars
The VUE Bar sits in the Hyatt on the Bund, located just north of the main tourist area of the Bund. It has become a popular destination for guests and visitors, thanks in part to the stunning views from the 33rd floor.
It is a large, open-air space, complete with bed-like sofas, a resident DJ and a marble hot tub. I wish that was a joke.
It is open daily at 5:30pm until late night, with a happy hour from 5:30pm-7:00pm on Monday and Wednesday. If you want a little more peace and quiet – or don’t care for DJs – head up to VUE Bar on Saturday or Sunday, when they open at 2:30pm. You may not have the city lights, but on a clear day, the view is still spectacular.
Sir Elly’s Terrace Rooftop Bar
If you love old-school classy bars, it is hard to beat a drink at The Peninsula Shanghai. Sir Elly’s Terrace is on the 12th floor, has one of the best views around. Perched at the bar, you’ll have a 280 degree view of Shanghai on one of the largest terraces along the Bund. Obviously drinks here don’t come cheap, but if you are going to splurge, this is the place to do it.
The bar opens at 5pm each night, and has a DJ starting from 7pm.
Flair Rooftop Restaurant & Bar
If you want to see both the skyscrapers of Pudong and the classical architecture of the Bund, then head to Flair at the Ritz-Carlton, located in the middle of the towers of Pudong. Situated on the 58th floor, what sets this destination apart is the large patio facing back toward the Bund, making it the tallest al fresco dining spot in all of China.
Again, cocktails here do not come cheap, but I will say, they offer some of the best complimentary bar snacks in Shanghai.
Bar snacks may typically be a nice-to-have afterthought, but trust me, at the Ritz they are delicious and refilled constantly. The cocktails themselves are top notch, and the cocktail menu has a wide range of options to satisfy all tastes. The bar opens at 5:30pm, but you can also head up early on weekends for afternoon tea, from 2-5pm.
If you are looking for a bar with a lively nightlife scene that is not part of a hotel, then check out Bar Rouge. No Shanghai nightlife guide would be complete without this club. It is one of the busiest and most famous clubs in Shanghai, and conveniently located in the heart of the Bund.
Its 7th floor terrace, decked out in red accents (hence the name), has a picture perfect view of the hyper modern skyline. This is not a place for a quiet, relaxing cocktail, but a place to party well into the morning.
There is a cover charge on weekends, but you can use the password ‘Miss Rouge’ to avoid the charge. Or so I’ve heard.
For something with an entirely different view, head to the Jing’an neighborhood where you’ll find a casual French wine bar and restaurant, Kartel. The 5th floor terrace -accessed by a slightly sketchy looking elevator – offers 360 panoramic views of Shanghai. And while you won’t gaze upon the space-age architecture of Pudong, picturesque Jing’an and the nearby Former French Concession offers plenty to look at.
The communal tables are great for groups, and the daily happy hour from 6pm-8pm, featuring 30 RMB house wine, sparkling wine, or Aperol Spritz, is hard to beat.
Last but certainly not least is Cloud 9 at the Grand Hyatt. What makes this bar unique is that it sits at the top of the Jin Mao Tower, on the 87th floor, making it one of the highest bars in the world. Cloud 9 has a full 360 degree view of Shanghai, and at that height, you can see pretty much everything. It opens at 5pm during the week, but at 2pm on the weekends.
Getting to Cloud 9 requires a bit of effort, and multiple elevator transfers. Take an elevator from the ground floor to the 57th floor, home of the Grand Hyatt Lobby. From there, you find another elevator to the 86th floor.