Shanghai gay bars in the Gayborhood

Gay Shanghai 2020China Gay Guide since 2006 Summer 2020 edition: update #53 . . . 

Shanghai is a relatively gay-friendly city, more international than most other mainland China cities. The queer community is massive – assuming around 10% means about 2.7 million, but only a teeny, tiny, minuscule fraction of the Shanghai LGBT community frequent various bars and clubs generally centered in what is affectionately termed the “gayborhood” of Shanghai — in Changning district (see map below).
上海是一个对同志人群相对友好的城市,也比国内的其他大多数城市更具国际性。上海的酷儿团体规模庞大,假设按总人口的10%计算,也意味着大约有270万的Queers。但上海LGBT社区却非常少,主要集中在长宁区,这里有各种各样的酒吧和俱乐部,因此这个区域被人们亲切地称为上海的盖博洛德(gayborhood)。贴心的小编给大家把长宁区及附近的同志酒吧都整理了出来,耐心往下看哦

Spaces:

🌐 = in Gayborhood🎯 = good starting point

  1. Lucca 390+ (aka Lucca390, aka 390, aka Lucca) 🏳️‍🌈 🎯 🌐
    By far the biggest and most iconic club in Shanghai, spread over two floors (2 different non-connected spaces entirely) on busy nights, is focussed on international club feel with live DJ’s yet often interrupted at the peak of the music beat on Friday and Saturday’s with their own version of drag shows.  Crazy, packed-to-the-brim with a mix of foreigners and Chinese on weekend nights.  Once you get past the security staff, the inside staff are quite lovely and friendly.  Cover charge some nights may include a drink or two.  They also own M Cafe on the 1st floor. Ask for English speaking owner Jack or lovely Chinese speaking Susan.  Open 9pm until late. Follow the official WeChat to check on openings and temporary closures:
    卢卡酒吧有两层,这是两个完全不相连的空间,每天晚上都非常热闹,现场DJ打击营造出了一种国际俱乐部的感觉。周末的夜晚,这里通常挤满了很多青少年,还有不少外国人,他们疯狂地释放着年轻的荷尔蒙。一旦您经过了粗鲁的保安人员,内部人员就会非常可爱,幸运的话,还会免费送一两杯饮料。酒吧晚上9点开放至深夜。
    WeChat IDWeChat ID 微信公众号: LuccaLounge
    2nd Floor, 390 Panyu Road, by Fahuazhen Road
    (and sometimes 1st Floor known as Lucca390)

    Taxi: 上海市 长宁区 番禺路 390 号 ,近法华镇路
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣


  2. Asia Blue 🏳️‍🌈 🎯 🌐
    A local and very gay bar with camp decor and massive bar under an umbrella of high-tech LED rods, located at the epicenter of the Gayborhood, across the hall from Lucca. Asia Blue is the city’s oldest gay bar (having re-located many times) still currently in operation.  Other than owner (and fabulously friendly character) Andy Wong, little English is spoken.  Customers are generally a good mix of age, size and friendly levels.  Lots of dice games, and expect popup karaoke late in the night.  Private KTV room in the raised loft space.  Some of my most fun nights in Shanghai were in various Asia Blue iterations.  9:30pm until daylight, daily.
    📋 See my review for more details, photos & maps.
    蓝色亚洲是一家当地人的同志酒吧,位于盖博洛德(Gayborhood)的中心,从卢卡(Lucca)穿过,大厅带有营地装饰,酒吧空间很宽敞,里面装扮着高科技LED灯,美轮美奂。Asia Blue是上海最古老的Gay吧,虽然经历了多次搬迁,但目前仍在营业,并且生意很好,这离不开酒吧老板Andy友善的性格和为人。酒吧的客人涵盖少年到老人等各个年龄段的人,相信去那边偶遇会是个不错的主意。酒吧里有很多骰子游戏,每到深夜时,经常能听到高潮不断的卡拉OK音乐,酒吧高架阁楼空间内还有私人KTV房间。营业时间是每天晚上9:30,直到第二天白天。
    WeChat IDWeChat ID 微信公众号: 
    AsiaBlueBar
    2nd Floor, Block M, RED390, 390 Panyu Road, by Fahuazhen Road
    Taxi: 上海市 长宁区 番禺路 390 号RED390二楼M座 , 时代大厦二楼近法华镇路
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣


  3. HUNT (formally Happiness42) 🏳️‍🌈 🎯 🌐
    A more refined alternative to Lucca, and without the tweaked-out teeny-bopper crowd, now under new management – just through Happiness alley across the street from Lucca/Asia Blue for those who wish to bar-hop round the Gayborhood.  Expect all-you-can-drink happy hours, ‘drag’ performances, drag bingo, TV nights, pop-up art shows and an eclectic mix of customers with lots of bears looking for friends, with tolerable music levels inviting actual conversation. Follow the official WeChat for details of what seems like daily different events:
    酒吧(熊吧)的风格和”Lucca”酒吧的很像,甚至更精致,这里没有那么夸张的青少年潮人群,兼具别的特色,现在处于新的管理之下。您只需穿过卢卡(Lucca / Asia Blue)对面的幸福小巷, 就能抵达这里。在这里,您可以畅享欢乐时光,宾果游戏,电视之夜,弹出式艺术表演以及不拘一格的客户群。有许多熊在这里在寻找朋友哦,因为音乐水平令人赏心悦目,所以大家可以进行亲密的交谈。酒吧每天晚上8点至凌晨2点开放,适合早场娱乐。
    WeChat IDWeChat ID 微信公众号: HUNTShanghai
    42 Xingfu Road, by Fahuazhen Road

    Taxi: 上海市 长宁区幸福路42号, 近法华镇路
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣


  4. Moon Café and Bar 🏳️‍🌈 🌐
    Small interior lounge space hidden in the XingGuo Mansion alley with cocktails, above the old Shanghai Studio — the once beloved underground labyrinth of a club.  The tiny Moon Bar is generally frequented by Chinese bears and their Chinese admirers.  Lots of dice games, and as fast as it fills out, it empties quickly as customers move on.  Don’t expect any English spoken.  Open every day from from 8pm-2am.
    📋 See my review for more details, photos & maps.
    小小的室内休息室空间隐藏在星果大厦小巷中,里面有鸡尾酒,在老上海工作室(曾经是俱乐部的地下迷宫)上方的便是“Moon Café and Bar”。这个酒吧虽然不大,却通常是“熊”及其喜熊者常去的地方。这里依然有很多骰子游戏,并且玩法多样,客人来来往往,通常不会待特别久。酒吧每天晚上8点至凌晨2点开放。

    WeChat IDWeChat ID 微信公众号: 
    tba
    #6 Lane, 1950 Middle Huaihai Lu.  
    Taxi: 淮海中路1950弄6号(近兴国路)
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣


  5. Rice Bar 🏳️‍🌈 🌐
    A quiet local non-smoking bar for over a decade, largely for the younger Chinese gay crowd.  Primarily talking and meeting friends.  Everyone is almost guaranteed conversation at least, but each out the challenging staircase.  Lots of dice games.  8pm until late. Ask for Chinese, Japanese and English speaking owner Takuya.
    📋 See my review for more details, photos & maps.
    是一家安静的当地酒吧,已有十年之久,主要面向年轻的同志人群。大家来这里主要是聊天和结识朋友,几乎每个人都可以在这里放松的交谈,大家也会玩一些骰子游戏。营业时间是晚上8点直到深夜。
    WeChat IDWeChat ID 微信公众号: tba
    532 Fahuazhen Lu, near Dingxi Lu, Changning
    Taxi: 长宁区法华镇路532号, 近定西路
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣


  6. Q Bar 上海Q同志酒吧 🏳️‍🌈 
    Small, intimate whisky & wine bar with a relaxed atmosphere on Ruijin 2nd Road next to Tianzifang.   The bar is in an alley, and you can see a “Q Whisky & Wine” lit sign at the alley entrance.  The exterior is matt black.  From 8pm.
    WeChat IDWeChat ID 微信公众号: skyword1
    No. 1, Lane 225, Ruijin 2nd Road, Huangpu District (North of Taikang Road)
    Taxi: 黄浦区瑞金二路225弄1号,近建国中路  田子坊4号门 
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣


  7. Blendi & Boys Coffee Bar 🏳️‍🌈 
    Operating since 2015 near Tianzifang. A small wooden bar with the hookah at the door,  books and old TV shows in loop. Open every afternoon until after midnight.
    WeChat IDWeChat ID 微信公众号: tba
    Lane 171, Jianguo Middle Road, Huangpu District
    Taxi: 黄浦区建国中路171号弄内
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣


  8. ManGo Bar 🏳️‍🌈 
    Inside the Junfeng International Fortune Plaza in Hongkou (see maps and photos),  ManGo prides itself in providing a space that connects older gentlemen with their younger admirers, akin to a large fun gay beer hall with a super friendly crowd that is very, very, local, and best on Friday and Saturday between 8:30 PM and 11:30 PM.
    📋 See my review for more details, photos & maps.
    WeChat IDWeChat ID 微信公众号: vvvjxsvvv
    Junfeng International Fortune Plaza, Room 32, Basement Floor
    1599 Dalian Road, Hongkou, Shanghai China
    Taxi: 骏丰国际财富广场, 大连路1599号骏丰国际广场内
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣


  9. Base (JD) Bar 基地 🏳️‍🌈 
    Very local and huge bar located outside the gayborhood just above Suzhou Creek which opened on Sept 30, 2020.  Like it’s competing ManGo bar, everything starts early and finishes early… Base (JD was renamed a few days after opening) is slightly more upscale than ManGo.  Starts around 8:00 PM with a mix of pop, electronica & disco that entertain older Chinese and they’re younger admirers who want to dance on the central large dance floor. Lots of inexpensive beer by the bucket — typically cans of Suntory sold in 6-packs and friendliness between tables…
    📋 See my review for more details, photos & maps.
    WeChat IDWeChat ID 微信公众号: tba
    No. 306, 195 GuangFu Rd (near WuZhen Rd)
    Taxi: 光复路195号306 (曲阜路)
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣


  10. SAO (aka SAO+HAUS aka Unicorn) 🏳️‍🌈
    Shanghai’s latest attempt to compete against Lucca, is in a basement space at HAUS, outside the Gayborhood in North Jing’an district.  It thrives typically on Friday or Saturday nights. SAO loosely transalates as ‘slutty’.  Attracts a number of Chinese tweaked out party boys. Occasional drag shows, KPOP events and fetish events.  Follow the official WeChat for details:
    是目前上海最能与卢卡竞争的一家同志酒吧。每当星期五或星期六晚上来临,酒吧便高潮迭起,人满为患。因为酒吧名字充满幻想和诱惑,吸引了许多派对男孩来这里玩耍,这里偶尔会有脱衣舞表演,和KPOP事件、恋物癖事件的出现。
    WeChat IDWeChat ID 微信公众号: UnicornShanghai
    561 Xinfeng Lu, near Changde Lu, Jing’an
    Taxi: 新丰路561号, 近常德路
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣


  11. Roxie (Lesbian) ⚢ 🎯
    A safe, versatile space for the lesbian community (and their gay friends) providing a place to hang out in comfort everyday of the week. Charming and super friendly owner Ting Ting Liang from Holland focuses on creating an inclusive space catering for all crowds with a special focus on providing high-quality highly-affordable cocktails. 6pm-2am daily.
    Follow the official WeChat for details:
    是一个为女同性恋社区(及其同性恋朋友)提供的安全,多功能的酒吧,一周中的每一天都可以在这里得到舒适闲逛的体验。酒吧老板Ting Ting Liang来自荷兰,她迷人而超级友好,一直致力于创造一个包容所有人的空间,满足所有人群的需求,并特别注重提供高品质,价格合理的鸡尾酒。营业时间是每天下午6点至凌晨2点。
    WeChat IDWeChat ID 微信公众号: RoxieShanghai
    2nd Floor, 359 Kangding Lu, near Shaanxi Bei Lu, Jingan
    Taxi: 静安区康定路359号, 近陕西北路
    ♥⚢♥⚢♥⚢♥⚢♥⚢
    ♥⚢♥⚢♥⚢♥⚢


  12. Lollipop (Gay-friendly) 🌈 🌐
    Lollipop vibes are scarce. Lollipop is a contemporary space (designed by the previous Transit Lounge owner), scattered with designer, geometric furnishings and faux-velvet couches.  Be warned, some of the staff can be quite rude unless you fit into what they are looking for, some staff can be quite nice.  It’s hit or miss, depending on your look, your clothing and the circumstances of the moment.
    酒吧的气氛很特别。它是一个非常现代化的空间(由”Transit Lounge”的前任主人设计),散布着设计师,几何陈设和人造丝绒沙发的设计,别具一格。店里的员工也很有个性,有时候很温和,有时候又很粗鲁,而这些态度的不同很可能跟我们的外形、穿着甚至是当时的状态有关。所以来这里可能会有不一样的体验。
    WeChat IDWeChat ID 微信公众号: tba
    141 Taian Lu, near Huashan Lu, Changning
    Taxi: 长宁区泰安路141号, 近华山路
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚤♥⚤♥⚤♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣


  13. Riink (Gay-friendly) ⚢🌈
    Roller cocktail disco where different people can meet and feel good about themself.  The bar was formerly Ting Ting Liang’s metal bar Inferno, now Riink provides a personal experience, serving quality drinks and snacks, and doing these things consistently, run by Ting and her team behind Roxie, plus cocktail by Geo Valdivieso (formerly The Captain & UNÏCO) and snacks by Austin Hu (Diner), makes for an interesting combination.Crowd has a good mix of LGBT, especially on weekends. Drinks (and skate rentals) are very affordable and excellent quality.
    WeChat IDWeChat ID 微信公众号: riinkshanghai

    Bldg 18, Shankang Li, 358 Kangding Lu, near Shaanxi Bei Lu.
    Taxi: 上海市静安区康定路358号18号楼RIINK
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚤♥⚤♥⚤♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣


  14. Footloose (Gay-friendly) 🌈
    This charming gay owned and ultra-chic cocktail bar is a favorite with in-the-know gay guys and their straight friends.  Real alcohol created into wonderful concoctions by well trained bartenders. Great bar snacks. Nice customer mix. Well worth stopping by to see for yourself.  Ask for English speaking owner Rick.
    这是一家迷人的同性恋者拥有的超时尚鸡尾酒吧,是熟识同性恋者及其直系朋友的最爱。在这里,受过良好训练的调酒师将真正的酒精制成美妙的混合物,很棒的酒吧小吃,好的顾客群体,这些都值得您停下来坐坐,好好感受一番。
    WeChat IDWeChat ID 微信公众号: 
    tba
    232 Xiangyang South Lu, near Fuxing Zhong Lu, Xiandai Mansion, Xuhui
    Taxi: 襄阳南路232号, 近复兴中路
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚤♥⚤♥⚤♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣


  15. W Hotel rooftop (Gay-friendly) 🌈
    This hotel’s rooftop WET bar is quickly becoming the cool, chic place for gay guys to mingle.  Opened in 2017, occupying a piece of riverfront on North Bund promenade with a great view over the Bund and Pudong, Its iconic outdoor terrace pool make it feel like Ibiza. Ask for resident English DJ, Simon.
    这是一家特别的酒店,酒店的屋顶WET酒吧已经迅速成为男同性恋交往的时尚场所。该酒店于2017年开业,占据了北外滩长廊的河滨风光,并享有外滩和浦东的美景,其标志性的室外露台游泳池让您感觉像伊维萨岛。
    WeChat IDWeChat ID 微信公众号: 
    tba
    66 Lvshun Lu, near Dongchangzhi Lu, Hongkou
    Taxi: 旅顺路66号, 近东长治路
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚤♥⚤♥⚤♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣


  16. Il Vino (Gay-friendly) 🌈
    Directly across the street from Kartel, Il Vino is a friendlier, cozier and much gayer version of that famously sloppy wine bar.
    位于Kartel的街对面,是一家友善,舒适和充满同性恋风格的酒吧。
    WeChat IDWeChat ID 微信公众号: tba
    4 Xiangyang Bei Lu, near Julu Lu, Xuhui
    Taxi: 襄阳北路4号, 近巨鹿路
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚤♥⚤♥⚤♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣


  17. Therapy Lounge (Gay-friendly) 🌈
    Little cocktail bar that regularly draws a gay and lesbian crowd, with solid drinks and fabulously loud pop art patterns all over the walls.
    是一家小小的鸡尾酒酒吧,经常会吸引男女同性恋人群来这里休闲娱乐,酒吧墙壁上满是固体饮料和奇异的夸张图案。
    WeChat IDWeChat ID 微信公众号: tba
    895 Julu Lu, near Huashan Lu, Jing’an
    Taxi: 巨鹿路895号, 近华山路
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚤♥⚤♥⚤♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣


  18. Trio (Gay-friendly) 🌈 🌐
    A cozy neighborhood cocktail bar that includes recipes featuring Chinese medicine-infused alcohol, and creative takes on classics. All created by owner Kimi (he is renowned for his days at nearby Heyday Jazz Bar), balancing three elements in mind (hence the name Trio).
    也是一家舒适的邻里鸡尾酒吧,酒吧提供以中药注入酒精的配方和
    经典创意菜肴。酒吧全部由所有者Kimi(他在附近的”Heyday”期间享誉盛名)创建,考虑到要三个要素之间取得了平衡,所以将酒吧命名为Trio。
    WeChat IDWeChat ID 微信公众号: tba
    36 Tai’An Lu, near Xinguo Lu, Xuhui
    Taxi: 泰安路36号, 近新国路
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚤♥⚤♥⚤♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣


  19. Bar #3 (Gay-friendly) 🌐
    The drinks aren’t cheap, but they’re real and made with love. There’s several couches and low seating areas, and a few tables outside. Simple and elegant, it’s a good spot for a date, very close to Starbucks.
    酒吧的饮料并不便宜,但它们是真实的,并且是用爱酿造的。酒吧里有几个沙发和低矮的休息区,外面还有几张桌子,环境简单而优雅,是约会的好去处,非常接近星巴克。
    WeChat IDWeChat ID 微信公众号: 
    tba
    277 Xingguo Lu, near Taian Lu, Xuhui
    Taxi: 兴国路277号, 近泰安路
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚤♥⚤♥⚤♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣


  20. Cotton’s (Gay-friendly) 🌈 🌐
    This restaurant cum bar, has a large outdoor seating area, including a lovely pagoda, in the grounds of its renovated heritage building. Great for dinner and drinks with friends in a relaxed garden environment under the canopy of well-lit trees, with a mix of gay and gay-friendly staff.  Just don’t hold a professional event there — if their Italian manager is involved, without notice, he will change pre-agreed plans wreaking last minute havoc for staff and customer.
    是一家餐厅兼酒吧,构造是一栋经过翻修的传统建筑,里面设有一个宽敞的户外休息区,其中包括一个可爱的宝塔。酒吧里有一个光线充足的树冠,树冠下像是轻松美妙的花园,环境非常适合与朋友共进晚餐和饮品。酒吧里多是同性恋者和对同性恋友好的员工。
    WeChat IDWeChat ID 微信公众号: tba
    294 Xinhua Lu,near Dingxi Lu
    Taxi: 新华路294号, 近定西路
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚤♥⚤♥⚤♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣


  21. Candor (Gay-friendly) 🌈 🎭
    Located in the loft of the Lyceum Theatre (take the stairs up to the right immediately inside the doors), Candor is a bar with a small/intimate burlesque style stage. There are regular cabaret/burlesque shows by amateur locals & expats. Private booths available. Pricier alternative to the bar scene, but the entertainment is sometimes better than the weird Shanghai drag scene.  Follow the official WeChat for details:
    是一家位于Lyceum Theatre阁楼的楼梯间(可在门内右上楼梯),具有小型/亲密滑稽风格舞台的酒吧。酒吧里,业余当地人和外国人定期举行歌舞表演/滑稽表演,可提供私人摊位。酒吧消费相对较高,但娱乐节目也比一般地方好很多。
    WeChat IDWeChat ID 微信公众号: CandorShanghai
    3/F, 57 Maoming Nan Lu, near Changle Lu
    Taxi: 茂名南路57号3楼, 近长乐路
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣


  22. Angel / Heaven (Random Parties) 🏳️‍🌈
    Shanghai’s once popular gay dance party hosts themed events throughout the year, typically on Friday or Saturday nights. Attracts a large number of Chinese tweaked out, brand-name wearing, teeny-bopper party boys who just can’t wait to take their shirts off, followed closely by tongue wagging horny foreigners. With days of clubs Deep, D2Obama, Icon long gone, parties are held in random places.  Follow the official WeChat for details:
    是上海曾经盛行的大型同志舞会的举办场所,全年都会有各种主题活动,通常在周五或周六晚上。这里吸引了许多中国人和外国友人,他们在这里脱下衬衫,挥舞双手,尽情地感受的狂欢的热情。随着俱乐部Deep,D2,Obama,Icon,LG老公的日子早已一去不复返,聚会被举行得愈加频繁。新开业场所位于上海皇家艾美酒店66层的“春丽天空酒吧”。

    WeChat IDWeChat ID 微信公众号: Angel同志地图 or MINICONSH or angelshanghaiBK
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣


Closed (past) Spaces:

Gone, closed, bankrupt, kaput, shut down… but remembered, some of the major spaces in Shanghai in my time, in no particular order…

Club Deep, Hunter Bar, Space Bar, Eddys, Shanghai Studio, No. 7 Coffee & Juice Bar, Home Bar, Transit Lounge, D2, Box Bar, Angel, Frangipani, Vogue at Kevins, Nine Elements, Telephone 6, LG, Datong Mills Lounge, Happiness 42 (now HUNT), Repaly (Replay), G8, Riink, Pink Home and my personal favorite Space Bar.

Shanghai Notes 上海同志酒吧简介

There are also numerous gay dance halls meetings, KTV’s, sauna, gyms and other similar meeting places, but since the vast majority of these are frequented by 99% Chinese only, or just covers for sexual hookups, so I won’t go into detail.

Generally, the bar scene is very old-school, about a decade behind major international cities, and split between dance clubs with live DJ’s with really bad ‘drag’ shows.  I found that the smaller the bar, the higher quality fun can be had.

You won't find much of this fun style of Drag Queen in Shanghai sadlyWeirdly, in Shanghai, they consider drag to make oneself look more like a women (aka cross-dressing transvestite look), sadly popularized by the TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race which vies for straight audience Neilson ratings by having 80% of their cast / characters perpetuating this form, rather than for the more traditional fun of the comedy send-up, popularized by Hasty Pudding over 100 years ago, and evolved to hilarious effect globally since as sassy, brassy and sometimes classy.

Surprisingly (and joyfully), you CAN find good drag performers and shows in some smaller cities such as Nanning and Chengdu – in both of these cities, I’ve also witnessed real singers (not lip-syncing) dressed in hilarious drag, providing great fun for their gay bar audiences.  (think deep voices, hairy armpits, lipstick smears, 1 boob dangling out, 1 eyelash upside down, and a sassy comedic personality as they sit on the bar wearing a massively oversized hat with a miniature of their city on it, and call out fun gay vulgarities (in a mix of Chinese, Thai, Japanese and English) throughout the night.

Further, cocktail bars generally serve a mix of fake/real booze (fake booze is not typically the fault of the bar owners, more a problem with unscrupulous distributors) — general rule of thumb, drink bottled drinks or top shelf liquor and avoid mixed drinks from the bar well.    Also, in smaller more local bars, expect ‘talking boys‘ who expect you to pay for their services with drinks and tips.  You will quickly learn about how to identify and deal with them.

Most of the bars have at least one staff member that can speak some level of English, but be prepared in the smaller bars to have patience and use WeChat translation, while keeping your requests simple.

Method of payment is typically by scanning QR code for WeChat or Alipay.

Facebook Shanghai Gay Guide Follow the Shanghai Gay Guide on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ShanghaiGay

COVID-19

In 2020, different operating regulations on a district-by-district basis throughout Shanghai have been enhanced due to COVID-19.  Some bars follow them, some partially, some not at all, but expect the major bars in Changning district (largely within the Gayborhood) will appear to:

  • Monitor venue occupancy levels (much less than normal levels).
  • Not permit admission for people from high-risk cities or regions.
  • Require all to wear masks when entering and leaving.
  • Show GREENShanghai QR code” at door — yellow or red not allowed.
  • Check in with valid ID – Chinese ID card or Foreign passport.
  • Provide confirmed mobile number.
  • Measure body temperature (>37.2º celsius will not be allowed in).
  • Customers with cough, shortness of breath or other abnormality will be refused entry.
  • No cash accepted, all payments must be in contactless digital form (WeChat or Alipay).
  • Limit the number of customers in accordance with local police compliance.
  • Some venues may be required to video the interior and send to police regularly throughout night for compliance monitoring.
  • No devices containing pornographic materials may be brought inside.
  • No devices utilizing a non-government approved VPN may be brought inside.
  • Monitor noise levels to not upset neighbors.

Separately, and additionally, for privacy concerns, there is a growing trend in some bars to not allow selfies or video photography (a good thing), for fear of people posting these on Weibo, WeChat Moments, TikTok or other places without all identifiable individuals in the photos/video prior consent.

Use common sense, support the bar rules, remember you are a guest, and use caution with regards to other peoples privacy.

Shanghai Gayborhood 上海Gay邻 Shanghai Gay Bars LGBT scene

Apps:

The vast majority of the Shanghai gay community avoid the gay scene entirely and connect with each via apps, or circles of friends in dedicated WeChat groups, and typically visit private homes or restaurants / coffee shops to meet and get together.

While all below are commonly used, favored apps currently include Blued, Aloha, TanTan, Growlr, Hornet, Badoo, Jack’d and Grindr.  Some, but not all, require VPN depending on your location and internet service provider.

The most popular Chinese gay app by far is Blued, which has 24 million users in China as of 2020 (Blued also offers WeChat-like automatic translation). Tantan (known as the Chinese Tinder) is rapidly growing in popularity.

There are also a huge array of WeChat groups dedicated to certain aspect of LGBT life, ranging from professional business groups such as WeChat ID WorkForLGBT to Chinese only GayLife groups.

Unverified mandarin translation supplied by Nanjing Star Bar (南京STAR酒吧), who chose to ignore intellectual property rights identified in my posted legal terms of use of my site and steal all my content to repurpose as if they wrote it themselves.  They denied my request to credit the author, or provide a link to my guide.