wechat sharing

Stiff Cocktails After Work at Roark Bar

A solid option in the SOHO Liyuan neighborhood

Shanghai has its fair share of bars and coffee shops. But what about coffee shops that turn into cocktail bars after the sun goes down? Well, that’s exactly what you’ll find at Roark—a new watering hole at SOHO Liyuan.


Labeling itself as a “speakeasy,” you might be surprised to find the bar clearly marked, in the back of an office park near the Madang Lu metro station. It’s the last place you’d think to go for a night out but a solid option for nearby office workers in need of a caffeine fix by day, or stiff drink by night. Naturally, we prefer the latter. 


Cocktail bar in Shanghai: Roark bar serves cocktails and single malts

Roark's menu focuses on traditional cocktails and a wide selection of spirits, with a heavy focus on whiskey. Two pages are dedicated to single malt and blended varieties, with prices ranging all the way up to RMB150 for a glass of Yamazaki 12-year (RMB2,880/bottle). 


Cocktail bar in Shanghai: Roark bar serves cocktails and single malts

For cocktails, the bartender will likely suggest something from the “special” menu. It's eight deep with drinks like Plum Soup (RMB90)—a heavy pour of bourbon mixed with dry vermouth, Kahlua and lemon juice. Described as a playful take on traditional Chinese plum wine, the only correlation we can see is in its subtle fruity notes, thanks mostly to the addition of kumquat and lime peel as a garnish.


Cocktail bar in Shanghai: Roark bar serves cocktails and single malts

There is the The Merry Widow (RMB95), which is reminiscent of a cosmopolitan, due to the Cointreau and lemon juice, but with amaretto, brandy and dry gin instead of vodka. A cross between a dirty martini and a Manhattan, the Dirty Smoker (RMB95) is guaranteed to get you buzzed (or drunk, depending on how much of a lightweight you are). It comes topped with a lit cinnamon stick that looks like smoldering cigar.


Cocktail bar in Shanghai: Roark bar serves cocktails and single malts

The Lady Mary (RMB88) is a lighter option, made with rose water, gin, maraschino, bianco, lemon juice, homemade candy grenadine and topped with a creamy foam that's dappled with bits of rose petals. It’s a delicate contrast to the sturdier cocktails without being too cloying. 


However, the space lacks charm—feeling more like a sparse, coffee shop than a hip saloon, even in spite of the handsome wooden bar at its center. While Roark is certainly not the speakeasy advertised, the team behind the operation is still does top notch drinks.


Our Rating: 3/5 Stars



What: Roark

Address: SOHO Liyuan, 501 Liyuan Lu (near Jumen Lu) 丽园路501号 (近局门路)

Tel: 187-1788-5932

Follow us on WeChat:
read more city weekend shanghai


barbarian bar shanghai cocktails 4

By: Austin Kittelson -

Bespoke Cocktails on a Budget at Barbarian
This cocktail bar has done away with the menu, and is instead crafting cocktails based on flavor profiles. 
Read More
shanghai cocktail bar bund captain 3

By: Sarah Forman -

Sailing Towards The Captain: The Bund's New Old Bar
Take a detour up a dingy hostel elevator and you’ll find the one thing this side of the city is missing: an affordable bar with a view.
Read More
cocktail bar shanghai antique daniel an 4

By: Sarah Forman -

Antique by Taste Buds: Another Winner by Daniel An
Daniel An has found a new home for Taste Buds, and the cocktails at The Antique are just as impressive.
Read More
cocktail bar shanghai suit club 1

By: Sarah Forman -

Only Window Dressing at Speakeasy Suit Club
You might be tempted to head to Suit Club, but despite it’s charming façade, this new speakeasy is not likely to be our next favorite drinking hole.
Read More


Download App Now
Select your device platform and get download started
Add & Promote an Event
Tell everybody what's going on. FREE.

You've reached the limit of allowed deals. For more information

Contact us

You've reached the limit of allowed housing listing. For more information

Contact us