As the month of May comes around and the last vestiges of winter depart, Shanghai celebrates the arrival of summer with the opening of its many rooftop bars and terraces. Many of these outdoor spaces are shuttered for the city’s bitterly cold winters but with the dawn of the hot, humid Shanghai summers, they once again begin to hum with activity.
The M1NT Terrace is part of Shanghai’s hottest entertainment enclave. Situated atop the CrossTower in downtown Shanghai at the height of twenty-four floors above street level, the open-air M1NT terrace offers stunning views of the Bund and the city. Adorned with much wood, cane, bamboo and water bodies including a shark-filled fish tank, the M1NT terrace affords revelers who throng the complex’s club and lounge areas, a chance to stop and take a breath as they drink in the views while sipping expertly mixed cocktails. A popular haunt for launch parties and events, the M1NT terrace is open from Wednesday to Saturday from 10pm.
The Vue Bar
The Vue Bar, which extends over the 32nd and 33rd floor of the Hyatt hotel on the Bund, has long reined supreme on the city’s rooftop bar scene. The bar owes its popularity to the jaw-dropping 360-degree views it offers of both old and new Shanghai i.e. the Bund, the Huangpu River and the sky-touching towers of Lujiazui Finance and Trade zone.
The bar's lounge on the 32nd floor is an enclosed space outfitted with much wood and artfully placed wine barrels. Meanwhile, the terrace on the 33rd floor is open to stars and features lounge-worthy day beds and an effervescent Jacuzzi (bathing suits are available for sale on the bar menu).
The Vue has a resident DJ and offers a well stocked bar menu featuring the top-notch champagnes and wines from around the world. The bar usually opens for business from 5.30 pm. However, for the 2014 summer season it has altered its opening times and will now throw open its doors at 2.30 pm on weekends.
The Terrace at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel
The Swatch Art Peace Hotel is one of Shanghai’s most quirky accommodation options. The hotel has much ancient history associated with it, for it dates back to 1908 when it functioned under its then avatar- the Palace Hotel. The Palace Hotel was at that time the tallest hotel in Shanghai and the first to have an open-air terrace, which afforded views of the Bund and the verdant countryside lining the Huangpu River. The terrace at the Palace was a huge hit with guests and it was quite a trendsetter of its time. The hotel underwent extensive renovations recently and re-opened in 2011 as the boutique Swatch Art Peace Hotel, famed for its artist residency program and its uniquely adorned rooms.
The terrace of the hotel continues to be a popular hangout area for guests and features a modern bar and al fresco dining area.
Most rooftop bars in Shanghai offer views of the city’s futuristic Pudong area located on the eastern bank of the Huangpu River. However, Flair perched on the 58th Floor of the Ritz Carlton Pudong in the Shanghai IFC South tower offers alternative vistas from within Pudong’s Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone. This lofty bar features a split-level patio, which offers bird’s eye views of the landmark Oriental Pearl Tower along with views of the downtown Puxi district of Shanghai and Hongkou.
The best seats in the house are but naturally on the terrace, but the interior section of Flair is also quite delightful. The indoor section of the bar at Flair is opulently adorned with avant-garde light fittings, plush maroon velvet and leather seating arrangements, warm-hued wooden wall treatments and gleaming wooden floors. A modern fireplace is also onsite for those frigid winter nights when the terrace area is closed.
The bar at Flair serves a wide range of signature cocktails along with exquisite wines and spirits from around the world.
The patio at Mr &Mrs Bund
French Chef Paul Pairet’s expansive Mr&Mr Bund restaurant and bar has been wowing food critics and gourmands since it opened its doors on the Bund in 2009. In fact the restaurant has recently featured in both ‘the 50 best restaurants in the world’ and ‘the 50 best restaurants in Asia’ lists. Renowned for its fanciful ambience and extensive menu that offers a total of 230 modern French preparations, Mr&Mrs Bund remains one of Shanghai’s most popular restaurants. The open-air deck attached to the restaurant offers splendid views of the historic Bund and is a favored hangout spot, for, like the main restaurant it stays open until the wee hours.