House bars invite themselves into Shanghai nights

It’s 8 p.m. on a weekday evening, and around twenty people are lounging on sofas and beanbags in the middle of the vast living room of a Shanghai apartment. Opposite the wall on which images of TV series or great cinema classics parade, a few tables strewn with half-empty glasses and cocktails.

It looks like an ordinary evening with friends. Except that here, the hosts don’t know each other. They came to have a drink in a new type of fashionable establishment in Shanghai: the house bar.

As its name suggests, the house bar is a house converted into a bar. Most of those that have opened their doors in Shanghai in recent years charge a fee – between 13 and 39 euros per entry, depending on attendance. Inside, customers can drink as much as they want for free between 7 p.m. and 2 a.m. Unlike traditional bastions of nightlife and their hustle and bustle, these places are appreciated for their quiet and relaxed atmosphere.

A more relaxed atmosphere

Born in the 1980s, Ah-One is the owner of the One Place house bar. After seventeen years working as a digital sales manager for an Internet company, he had the idea to start when he discovered the trend of “private kitchens” on the Chinese lifestyle platform Xiaohongshu: small groups of invited individuals to a (paid) dinner with chefs. The question was whether the concept could be adapted into a bar format.

He begins by talking about his project on Xiaohongshu and, to his great surprise, receives messages from potential clients curious to know more. After adding a few rugs in its living room, Ah-One inaugurated its bar in October, with entry costing 19 euros.

Thinking no one would come, he reduced his choice of drinks, and yet seven people show up at his door. Two couples who knew each other, two friends and a woman who came alone. As the evening progresses, the two couples engage in a lively discussion over a few bottles while Ah-One chats with the other three women.

Subsequently, he understood that his typical clientele was made up of office workers coming in groups and who wanted to chat but who did not feel comfortable in traditional bars and clubs. The more relaxed atmosphere of house bars is particularly suitable for people who are not used to socializing.

Aged 25, Qing’er recently worked in Shanghai and came to One Place to expand her circle of acquaintances. For the first twenty minutes, she said, no one spoke. But after a few drinks the atmosphere heated up and conversations began to revolve around work issues, astrological signs and personality tests. The place being relatively small, it is impossible not to join in the discussions

The rest is reserved for subscribers…

Drawing by Martirena
  • Access all subscribed content
  • Support independent writing
  • Receive the Alarm Clock every morning

Article source

Sixth Tone (Shanghai)

The “Sixième Ton” site aims to give voice “to the new voices of today’s China”. “There are five tones in Mandarin, but we believe that, to cover Chinese news, we can seek out other voices, which tell the unique stories of ordinary people,” says the site.
Launched on April 6, 2016, this online magazine is the little English-speaking brother of Pengpai xinwen, “The paper”. Both publications are aimed at a young, urban audience eager for both reporting and articles addressing controversial issues. The other common point is their financing by the Chinese Communist Party.
It’s a bit as if Vox had been purchased by the Chinese Communist Party. The result would look like Sixth Tone”, says the American magazine Foreign Policy. The goal of the English version: to conquer a Western readership, which criticizes other official publications for being a bit watered down. It is, indicated during the launch by editor-in-chief Wei Xing,“humanize Chinese information” : “If we are covering important news, we prefer to do it through individual stories.”
Another challenge, more acrobatic, is the following, recalls Foreign Policy : “How to attract Western readers while remaining in line with the Party ?”

Read more

Our services

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button