The Shanghai gay bar scene is a burgeoning affair. While the city boasts a number of LGBT venues, it’s surprisingly few considering Shanghai’s gargantuan population of 25 million people.
Most Shanghai gay bars are located in and around the elegant French Concession – a stunning district of this otherwise frantic city which is well worth exploring before heading to Shanghai gay bars. There are plenty of fantastic restaurants serving local an international food but one firm favourite between tourists and locals alike is the Shanghai Brewery.
Eddy’s is the oldest gay establishment in Shanghai. There are plenty of tables where groups of friends congregate to discuss life in the big city and at the weekends the large, square bar also gets crowded with a cacophony of character out for a good time. It’s an excellent causal venue with no pretense and a slightly rough and ready vibe – not to everyone’s taste but we love it.
2. Telephone 6
As the interior décor suggests, Telephone 6 is a British-themed bar, but, the naughty activity which takes place inside is distinctly unprudish. It has a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of places to relax a number of private rooms – with a few cheeky glory holes thrown in for good measure. It very rarely gets busy, meaning it’s a nice place to hang out for an evening if you want to escape the crowds in the more populated bars.
Lucca has recently had a full rebrand and hit the scene with a new menu of food and drinks including some excellent burgers and pizzas. Lucca is a subdued, candlelit affair in the week and picks up at the weekend with live drag shows and a party atmosphere as the evening goes on.
This popular queer space is well-frequented by all members of the LGBT community. The owner Ting Ting Liang is a strong force on the Shanghai gay bar scene and has a passion for creating affordable drinks in fabulous settings. They host regular theme nights including movie nights, drinks specials and a full-on party atmosphere on a Friday and Saturday night.
5. Happiness 42
Formerly known as Shanghai Studio, Happiness 42 used to be more of a creative space but these days it’s visited by everyone from locals, tourists and expats. It’s a real mixed bag but somehow it works. It boasts light snacks, an extensive drinks menu, cabaret shows and male go-go dancers. Don’t be perturbed if you can’t find it at first, head down the alley next to ICBC and you’ll find the door to this subterranean venue. This is the place to be on a Friday night!