In the great big city that is Shanghai, there's no shortage of bars, lounges, and clubs playing the latest in today's hit songs, ready to aide you in partying like a rockstar, if that's what you so choose. Some other folk though, may prefer a different flavor of music then what’s currently being mass-produced and manufactured, be it heavy metal, soulful acoustics, obscure electronics, or nu-wave disco. Here’s our list of some of the best venues in Shanghai to experience music of a different variety.
Rising from the ashes of The Shelter, ALL is everything the former bombshell turned underground music hub was not. With a much cleaner look and sleeker design, consider ALL nothing less than a more grown up version of the previous club. Since debuting on the scene earlier this year, this laid-back and less rowdy venue has been on a continuous streak of providing a platform for quality DJs, guest performers and one-off specialty events here in Shanghai. Stand out shows include Juliana Huxtable, queer hip-hop artist Cakes da Killa, Elysia Crampton and more
Address: All, 2/F, 17 Xiangyang Bei Lu (near Changle Lu) 襄阳北路17号2楼 (近长乐路)
Named after the building’s teeny-tiny elevator, party-goers can expect international as well as local DJs dishing out music of the electronic, funk and disco variety. While not a traditional club in the strictest sense of the word, this second floor space has a lot going for itself. A dance floor smack dab in the middle is surrounded by couches, tables and even a ping-pong table. Besides hosting traveling DJs, a good chunk of the music is local, courtesy of co-owner Sam Maurey's label co-motion.
Address: Elevator, 4/F, 218 Xinle Lu (near Donghu Lu) 新乐路218号4楼 (近东湖路)
A solid option year round, this dingy music spot offers a place for local and international DJs to spin nearly every day of the year. Music tends to run the gamut from house and disco, to more industrial sounds, electronic, techno and old school hip-hop nights. Recently, they’ve expanded their offerings with Ruin, a chilled out drinking space directly behind it. Much more low-key, this new addition has proven to be a perfect space for those looking for a decent drinking option away from the party vibes out front.
Address: DADA, 115 Xingfu Lu (near Fahuazhen Lu) 幸福路115号 (近法华镇路)
One of Shanghai's oldest and most established music venues, Yuyintang is the place to go for authentic rock of any variety. Since it’s inception, punk rock heavyweights like D.O.A. and the Fleshtones have graced the stage, as well as more contemporary acts like Swedish pop singer Oh Land. Aspiring musicians and up and coming bands have a place on the roster as well, the venue regularly holds open mics weekly.
Address: Yuyintang, 851 Kaixuan Lu (near Yan'an Xi Lu) 凯旋路851号 (近延安西路)
Lovers of fast and loud music can rejoice and get their head banging on at Shanghai’s resident metal bar. Situated inside of the Bund Square strip mall, a spacious interior complete with a full stage makes way for a host of themed event nights and regular music showcases. Events like We Are Shanghai, a local musician album compilation, as well as regular death metal music nights typically round out the evening line-up.
Address: Inferno, 1/F, Bund Square, 658 Dapu Lu (near Longhua Dong Lu) 打浦路658号1楼 (近龙华东路)
Originators in the Shanghai live music scene, Harley’s Underground has been serving up the best of local live music for close to two decades.Their name, an ode to the famed motorcycle brand and the legion of bikers who were apparently among the bar’s first patrons some years back, is the only remaining remants of the bar’s former trashy interior. The current Xujahui location has recently undergone a facelift of sorts that saved it from being yet another failing business in Shanghai. Dive bar no more, this current incarnation is part sports bar, part small concert hall, with a sleeker design and new menu of bar bites and craft beers. Supporters of local musicians can find jam sessions, acoustic nights, and evenings with traveling bands from Beijing to Hefei on any given day ending with the letter "Y."
Address: Harley’s Underground, B1/F, 265 Nandan Dong Lu (near Caoxi Lu) 南丹东路265号 地下一层 (近漕溪路)
Another new kid on the block, late night club Celia recently celebrated a one year anniversary. Specializing in electronic music from deep house to minimal techno and everything else in between, this spot is a bit different from the others as they function as one of the cities only late night/early morning dance spot. That’s right folks, Celia is the after the party spot where things don’t get going until well after 2am, going deeper into the early morning hours before ending at 9am. Look forward to beloved local DJs like Jasmine Li and Emil Chang along with international bookings every weekend.
Address: Celia, 298 Xingfu Lu (near Pingwu Lu) 幸福路298号 (近平武路)
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