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bar news and views
word of mouth

499: AGAVE
498: Miss Sixty Café
497: The Pink Cow
496: Cantik
495: Billiard Bar Cosmo
494: Soma
493: Hajime
492: Rm.39
491: Coopers
490: Bar Nemesis
489: Franziskaner Bar & Grill
488: NOS
487: Diego
486: Sekirei
485: Bonny Butterfly
484: So Ra Si O
483: Maduro
482: Space Punch
481: Cento Cose
480: Bamboo
479: Heartland
478: Sign
477: Yoshino
476: Omamori Cafe
475: So Bar
474: Traumaris
473: Naka Naka
472: Tsuki no Akari
471: Bar
470: These
469: Atomic Heart Mother
468: Soft
467: Milano Bar
466: Mother
465: Omocha
464: Insomnia 2
463: Lucusfloor
462: Pulse
461: Mahna Mahna
460: Ten
459: Trees'
457/8: Mayu
456: Lounge Sinner
454: Ja Ja Bar
453: See
452: Republica
451: Shanghai Bar
450: Tsuki no Kura

Issues 500+
Issues 449-
Issues 399-


by Carlo Niederberger

Shanghai Bar

While Shanghai is in the midst of change—Li Peng retiring in the near future and the airport switching location from Hongqiao to Pudong—a slice of the city's traditional wining and dining can be had in Roppongi. The interior of this chic bar/restaurant is a mesmerizing mix of minimalist Japanese decor dressed up with antique Chinese porcelain vases. A year into it, this sophisticated vibe is perfect for Shanghai Bar's range of punters, including professionals and funksters who've worked up a thirst prowling about neighboring Think Zone's design/art bookstore and are seeking a Roppongi experience sans the marauding crowds of lager-toting football fans and backpackers. The few gaijin we did see here were smartly clad types who may well have actually known what they were reading on the extensive wine list.

We started out with a Shanghai Cooler (a Chinese rice liquer-based cocktail with cranberry+lemon+cassis, ¥1,000), and were tempted to check out the champagne list as well. MoÎt—always a good option—(¥1,200/glass, ¥8,500/bottle). We considered some sparkling wines, such as Mumm Cuvee Napa brut (¥1,000/glass, ¥5,800/bottle), but showed a little restraint. Just a little. The choice of white wines included Cakebread Cellar's popular, full-bodied yet dry Napa Sauvignon Blanc 2000 (¥850 per glass, ¥7,500 per bottle). Reds included the Argentinian Luigi Bosca Malbec '98 (¥900/glass), a fairly dry choice that goes great with most of the Chinese dishes on offer.

By the time the cocktails had kicked in, with a cruisy mix of background jazz/fusion/world music, we were admiring the patterns of the polished wooden parquetry floors, complemented by dark-rattan dining chairs and polished teak tabletops, each accented with candlelight. Eventually, we decided it was time to select something from the midnight menu, a melange of Japanese and Chinese dishes averaging ¥2,500, and adjourn to the leather booths in the back.

It was getting late so we paced ourselves by taking some of the non-alcoholic drinks for a test drive. Spring Wind (¥900), a mix of blue creme de curacao, fresh lime, grapefruit and spearmint, was a refreshing change, as was the Pink Panther, a combination of peach juice, fresh grapefruit juice, Grenadine syrup, and tonic water (¥800).

Some hot lychee and Ronjin teas (¥600) saw us bracing ourselves to face the 2am winds outside, warmed and cossetted by the charms of Shanghai in the heart of Tokyo.

1F Tokyo Nissan Bldg, 6-2-31 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5772-7655. Open 11am-4am Mon-Sat, 11am-11pm Sun. Nearest stn: Roppongi.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Kiwa Corporation