China guide Shanghai gay

SHANGHAI GAY GUIDE
Since 2006 ⚣ Edition #94

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Shanghai 2022 Gay Venues

Shanghai is a relatively gay-friendly city, more international than most other mainland China cities. The queer community is massive: about 2.7 million (equal to the entire population of Las Vegas or Chicago), but only a teeny, tiny, minuscule fraction of the Shanghai LGBT community frequent various bars and clubs. Most prefer apps, private home parties and other places.

I list all known gay venues below, and additionally list a couple of gay friendly places that cater to a predominately larger number of gay clientele than most. There are probably more than 300 or so other gay-friendly spaces, bars, coffee shops & restaurants in Shanghai that I do not list, such as Curfew (汾阳路1号 近淮海中路), and Friiend静吧 (进贤路135号茂名南路口) drawing in gay clientele.

Shanghai Gay Spaces:

🌐 = in Gayborhood🎯 = good starting point
 in no particular order

  1. Moon Bar 🏳️‍🌈🌐🧸🥃

    My opinion  Shanghai Gay Venue moon
    Comfort Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star
    Int’l Quality Gold StarGold Star
    Value for $$ Gold StarGold Star
    Staff English Gold Star
    Crowd Size Gold StarGold StarGold Star

    Interior lounge space filled with hidden nooks and cranny’s hidden in the XingGuo Mansion alley with cocktails, above the old Shanghai Studio — the once beloved underground labyrinth of a club.  The 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.  Discreetly allows smoking after about 10pm.  Open every day from from 8pm-2am.
    📋 See my review for more details, photos & maps.

    WeChat IDWeChat ID : 
    上海MoonBar
    #6 Lane, 1950 Middle Huaihai Lu.  
    🚖 Taxi: 淮海中路1950弄6号(近兴国路)
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥

  2. Asia Blue 🏳️‍🌈🎯🌐

    My opinion  Shanghai Gay Venue Asia Blue
    Comfort Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star
    Int’l Quality Gold StarGold StarGold Star
    Value for $$ Gold StarGold StarGold Star
    Staff English Gold StarGold Star
    Crowd Size Gold StarGold StarGold Star

    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 the now closed Lucca 390+ COMO / BELLO. Asia Blue is the city’s oldest gay bar brand (having originally founded itself on Gaolan Lu 20 years ago, and re-located many times) still currently in operation.  Other than owner (and fabulously friendly character) Andy Wong, little English is spoken, despite a terrific long-time bartender/manager Shawn (Xiao Lei).  Customers are generally a good mix.  Washroom leave a lot to be desired at times. Lots of dice games, and expect popup karaoke during the night.  9:30pm until daylight, daily.
    📋 See my review for more details, photos & maps.
    WeChat IDWeChat ID : 
    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. Include Whisky & Wine 🏳️‍🌈🎯🚭

    My opinion  SH GayBar Include
    Comfort Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star
    Int’l Quality Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star
    Value for $$ Gold StarGold StarGold Star
    Staff English Gold Star
    Crowd Size Gold StarGold Star

    A local and upscale cocktail bar on the 2nd floor of the building opened in 2021 by owner Zhuai Zhuai who has been in the gay bar scene for well over a decade and is always extremely joyful and considerate.  Great cocktails, very good ambiance and vibe, comfy seating, yet little English is spoken so have your translations apps ready.  The bar is non-smoking, yet provides an outdoor smoking terrace that has outdoor heaters and comfy seating.  Strangely, no selection of beer, and a lack of mixed drinks such as basic well scotch.  The washrooms are clean with Japanese style electronic toilets. The customers are generally a good mix. No dice games.  6pm until 2am, daily. Telephone 13003242955
    WeChat IDWeChat ID : 
    TBD
    2nd Floor, 100 Xiangyang North Road (between Huai Hai Zhong Lu & Xinle Lu)
    🚖 Taxi: 襄阳北路100号2楼
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥

  4. ManGo Bar 🏳️‍🌈🧸🍻

    My opinion  Shanghai Gay Venue Mango Bar
    Comfort Gold StarGold StarGold Star
    Int’l Quality Gold Star
    Value for $$ Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star
    Staff English Gold Star
    Crowd Size Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star

    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 : 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
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥

  5. Reborn Club 🏳️‍🌈🕺🏼🍾

    My opinion  not yet rated Shanghai Gay Venue Reborn
    Comfort Gold StarGold Star
    Int’l Quality Gold StarGold Star
    Value for $$ Gold StarGold Star
    Staff English Gold StarGold Star
    Crowd Size Gold StarGold Star

    Inside the Yaxin Life Plaza (see map in my image), Reborn has a huge 1,000 sqM dance floor augmented with a good sound & lighting system. A bar runs the length of the dance floor, and according to friends, the atmosphere is energy and enthusiasm which gives this potential. Alas, their marketing tends to be overly cautious towards making it straight friendly, but it is what it is, a new gay club.  Focussed on VIP bottle sales. For various reasons, subject to (very) regular government closures.  Check their WeChat to ensure open.  From 10pm.
    WeChat IDWeChat ID : REBORN 悦蹦
    3rd Floor, Yaxin Life Plaza, 401 Changshou Lu (at Changde Lu), PuTuo
    🚖 Taxi: 亚新生活广场 上海市普陀区长寿路401号 (常德路口)
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥

  6. A+ House Bar 🏳️‍🌈🧸🍻

    My opinion  best Fridays Shanghai Gay Venue AHouse
    Comfort Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star
    Int’l Quality Gold StarGold Star
    Value for $$ Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star
    Staff English Gold Star
    Crowd Size Gold StarGold StarGold Star

    A small local gay bear bar focussed on providing a safe and fun environment for non-pretentious, down-to-earth bears and monkeys to drink, play dice games and enjoy a night away from the other gay spaces.  Friendly staff, cheap drinks in a safe, clean and private environment. Patrons generally arrive and party in friend groups. After the bar, the rice/noodle & BBQ restaurant downstairs is full. First Friday of every month is a special bear party when table minimums are established and inexpensive free flow entry is charged – typically packed to the brim with a line down the hallway… every Friday is similar, but without the table minimums and hallway line-ups, other days of the week are “hit and miss”.
    📋 See my review for more details, photos & maps.
    WeChat IDWeChat ID : SHbear
    3rd floor, Hengshun Building, 77 Jiangning Road, Jing’an
    (may be easier to Didi to the Majestic Theatre)
    🚖 Taxi: 上海市静安区江宁路77号恒顺大厦三楼

    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥

  7. Q Bar 🏳️‍🌈🥃

    My opinion  Shanghai Gay Venue Q bar
    Comfort Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star
    Int’l Quality Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star
    Value for $$ Gold StarGold StarGold Star
    Staff English Gold Star
    Crowd Size Gold StarGold Star

    Reminiscent of a typical NY style bar, it’s a small, intimate whisky & wine bar with relaxed atmosphere next to Tianzifang.   The bar is in the alley to the left, about 10m as you enter off Ruijin Lu with a matt black door, and you can see a “Q Whisky & Wine” lit sign at the alley entrance.  From 8pm. No English spoken, but friendly.
    📋 See my review for more details, photos & maps.
    WeChat IDWeChat ID : 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 
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥

  8. 44kw Club (very gay-friendly) 🌈🍾🕺🏼

    My opinion  Shanghai Gay Venue 44kw
    Comfort Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star
    Int’l Quality Gold StarGold StarGold Star
    Value for $$ Gold StarGold Star
    Staff English Gold StarGold Star
    Crowd Size Gold StarGold StarGold Star

    Since 2018, 44 KW is a Techno, House & Disco club located in Found 158 with minimalist-concrete-industrial aesthetic for a capacity of about 400. The owner is Charles Guo, a fashion photographer from Beijing, so it’s only natural he has attracted a fashion-industry heavy crowd, and it’s gay followers.   He’s providing an intimate divided space with two sections: a front area with the bar, back-lit ping pong tables with holographic projection and a lounge area, then a back-room with an excellent soundsystem featuring world-class DJs focussed on hard techno, deep house. The club strives to create a unique and high quality space where people enjoy the intimate vibes, quality music and lifestyle.  SAO regularly hosts events there.
    FB: facebook.com/44KWShanghai
    WeChat IDWeChat ID : 
    CLUB_44KW or UnicornShanghai
    B1/Floor, 158 Julu Lu, near Ruijin Yi Lu, (“Found 158” complex), Huangpu, Shanghai
    🚖 Taxi: 巨鹿路158号B1楼, 近瑞金一路
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚤♥⚤♥⚤♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥

  9. HUNT Bar 🏳️‍🌈🎯🌐🧸🚭

    My opinion  Shanghai Gay Venue HUNT bar
    Comfort Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star
    Int’l Quality Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star
    Value for $$ Gold StarGold Star
    Staff English Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star
    Crowd Size Gold StarGold StarGold Star

    Just through Happiness alley across the street from Asia Blue for those who wish to bar-hop round the Gayborhood. Expect cover charge with all-you-can-drink happy hours, ‘drag’ performances, drag bingo, TV nights, pop-up art shows and an eclectic mix of expat and local customers with lots of muscle bears looking for friends, with tolerable music levels inviting actual conversation. Daytime HUNT Cafe in front alley.  Follow the official WeChat for details of what seems like daily different events:
    WeChat IDWeChat ID : HUNTShanghai
    42 Xingfu Road, by Fahuazhen Road

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

  10. HUNT Cafe 🏳️‍🌈🎯🌐☕️

    My opinion  Shanghai Gay Venue HUNT Cafe 2
    Comfort Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star
    Int’l Quality Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star
    Value for $$ Gold StarGold StarGold Star
    Staff English Gold Star
    Crowd Size Gold Star

    Cleverly utilizing the driveway / parking lot of the HUNT Bar entrance converting to a secret and semi-private garden, this outdoor cafe officially opened on May 29, 2021. The owners (from adjacent HUNT bar) have created a space that hopefully can become a new daytime hangout.  Complete with comfy seating, oversized tables, outdoor misting fans a variety of desserts and even mozzie repellant.  They also offer a hookah / shisha menu.  Nearby lots of savory food options, including delivery from Pie Society, and HUNT Cafe also provides take-a-way coffee.  Epicentre of the Gayborhood. Friendly day-time staff. Open daily from 11am until about 7 or 8 pm.
    WeChat IDWeChat ID : HUNTShanghai
    42 Xingfu Road, by Fahuazhen Road
    🚖 Taxi: 上海市 长宁区幸福路42号, 近法华镇路
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚤♥⚤♥⚤♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥

  11. D Loungee (Base/JD/Icon195) 🏳️‍🌈🍾🕺🏼

    My opinion  Shanghai Gay Venue JD base Icon
    Comfort Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star
    Int’l Quality Gold StarGold Star
    Value for $$ Gold StarGold StarGold Star
    Staff English Gold Star
    Crowd Size Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star

    Now with 6th name change within a few months, its a local and huge bar located outside the gayborhood just above Suzhou Creek which opened on Sept 30, 2020 as JD, then Base, then Icon195, then Base Bar, now D Loungee (yes, with double e). Take a DiDi to Guang Fu Lu and Wu Zhen Lu intersection(乌镇路光复路交叉口)  then head east along the riverbank street, It is on the 3rd floor of the Sihang195 Building.
    📋 See my review of the JD club for more details, photos & maps.
    WeChat IDWeChat ID : TBA
    No. 306, 195 GuangFu Rd (near WuZhen Rd)
    🚖 Taxi: 光复路195号306 (曲阜路) or 乌镇路光复路交叉口
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥

  12. Rice Bar 🏳️‍🌈🌐🚭🥃

    My opinion  Shanghai Gay Venue rice bar
    Comfort Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star
    Int’l Quality Gold StarGold StarGold Star
    Value for $$ Gold StarGold Star
    Staff English Gold StarGold Star
    Crowd Size Gold Star

    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.
    WeChat IDWeChat ID : RiceBar
    532 Fahuazhen Lu, near Dingxi Lu, Changning
    🚖 Taxi: 长宁区法华镇路532号, 近定西路
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥

  13. Swag Candy Club (Lesbian) 🌈🍻

    My opinion  Shanghai Gay Venue Swag Candy
    Comfort Gold StarGold StarGold Star
    Int’l Quality Gold Star
    Value for $$ Gold StarGold Star
    Staff English Gold Star
    Crowd Size Gold StarGold StarGold Star

    A small, narrow and loud local lesbian club, with DJ and good sound system, across the hall from A+House bar, in the Hengshun Building.  Reasonably priced drinks, special events, and a focus on the younger, local lesbian crowd. Seems to draw a regular crowd on weekends.  The toilet facilities leave a lot to be desired.  After the bar, the rice/noodle & BBQ restaurant downstairs is full. 
    WeChat IDWeChat ID : TBD
    3rd floor, Hengshun Building, 77 Jiangning Road, Jing’an
    (may be easier to Didi to the Majestic Theatre)
    🚖 Taxi: 上海市静安区江宁路77号恒顺大厦三楼 

    ♥⚢♥⚢♥⚢♥⚢♥⚢
    ♥⚢♥⚢♥⚢♥⚢♥

  14. Roxie (Lesbian) ⚢🌈🍽🎯🍸

    My opinion  Shanghai Gay Venue Roxie
    Comfort Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star
    Int’l Quality Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star
    Value for $$ Gold StarGold StarGold Star
    Staff English Gold StarGold StarGold Star
    Crowd Size Gold StarGold StarGold Star

    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:
    WeChat IDWeChat ID : 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
    ♥⚢♥⚢♥⚢♥⚢♥⚢
    ♥⚢♥⚢♥⚢♥⚢♥

  15. Riink (Gay-friendly) ⚢🌈🍽🛼

    My opinion  Shanghai Gay Venue RIINK
    Comfort Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star
    Int’l Quality Gold StarGold StarGold Star
    Value for $$ Gold StarGold StarGold Star
    Staff English Gold StarGold Star
    Crowd Size Gold StarGold StarGold Star

    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 cocktails 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 : 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
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚤♥⚤♥⚤♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥

  16. Potent Club (Gay-friendly) 🌈🍾🕺🏼

    My opinion  not yet rated Shanghai Gay Venue Potent
    Comfort Gold StarGold Star
    Int’l Quality Gold StarGold Star
    Value for $$ Gold StarGold Star
    Staff English Gold StarGold Star
    Crowd Size Gold StarGold Star

    Techno club Potent opened in Mar 2021 and quickly became the new hangout for ex-Lucca390 clubgoers. As of Apr 2021, probably about 90% gay with typically non-gay music styles from its mix of DJ’s centered around hip-hop. They embrace diversity, aiming to build an open, pleasant and safe space. No matter how you define this rave habitat, it’s providing a shelter for the frustrated Lucca390 clubbers without a space. The 600sqm venue with two separate dance spaces and an outdoor deck is located in the heart of the newly built Huaihai TX lifestyle mall, and has a featured disco ball made of steel panels suspended above the bar.
    IG: instagram.com/potent_club
    WeChat IDWeChat ID : 
    POTENT_Shanghai
    Third Floor, TX HuaiHai Mall, 523 HuaiHai Middle Road, Shanghai.
    🚖 Taxi:  上海市淮海中路523号TX淮海三楼
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚤♥⚤♥⚤♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥

  17. Atlas Corner (Gay-friendly) 🌈🚭🥃

    My opinion  Shanghai Gay Venue Atlas Corner
    Comfort Gold StarGold StarGold Star
    Int’l Quality Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star
    Value for $$ Gold StarGold StarGold Star
    Staff English Gold StarGold StarGold Star
    Crowd Size Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star

    Hip street-front cocktail bar which stays open late and is often packed after dinner time with a mix of gay and gay friendly patrons of all genders.  Well made and pretty mixed drinks are about RMB 85.  The 6 comfy bar stools at the well stocked bar are the target of most customers.  Small smoking recess outdoor with a bench in front of pedestrian crossing. From 7pm.  Tel: 186 0055 9745
    WeChat IDWeChat ID : 
    tba
    614 Julu Lu (near Xiangyang Bei Lu), Jing’an
    🚖 Taxi: 巨鹿路614号, 近襄阳北路
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚤♥⚤♥⚤♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥

  18. Tahiti Pub (Gay-Friendly) 🌈🚭

    My opinion  Shanghai Gay Venue Tahiti
    Comfort Gold StarGold StarGold Star
    Int’l Quality Gold StarGold Star
    Value for $$ Gold Star
    Staff English Gold Star
    Crowd Size Gold StarGold Star

    This small and very over-priced non-smoking cocktail bar keeps reinventing itself.  Near the corner of Rujin Lu, go downstairs and through the front room to find a long narrow cocktail bar.  Hit and miss with staff friendliness and welcomes.  Little to no English spoken.  Sits below residential apartments, so noise will be an issue.  With their crazy pricing, I don’t expect this one will last long.

    WeChat IDWeChat ID : tba
    340 Changle Lu, (at Rujin Lu), Huangpu, Shanghai
    🚖 Taxi: 上海市黄浦区长乐路340号
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚤♥⚤♥⚤♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥

  19. Wet Bar @ W Hotel (Gay-friendly) 🌈

    My opinion  Shanghai Gay Venue WET Bar W Hotel
    Comfort Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star
    Int’l Quality Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star
    Value for $$ Gold StarGold StarGold Star
    Staff English Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star
    Crowd Size Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star

    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.
    WeChat IDWeChat ID : 
    tba
    66 Lvshun Lu, near Dongchangzhi Lu, Hongkou
    🚖 Taxi: 旅顺路66号, 近东长治路
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚤♥⚤♥⚤♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥

  20. Bar No.3 (Gay-friendly) 🌈🌐

    My opinion  Shanghai Gay Venue Bar No 3
    Comfort Gold StarGold StarGold Star
    Int’l Quality Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star
    Value for $$ Gold StarGold StarGold Star
    Staff English Gold Star
    Crowd Size Gold StarGold Star

    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, or an afternoon people watch, very close to Starbucks.

    WeChat IDWeChat ID : tba
    277 Xingguo Lu, near Taian Lu, Xuhui
    🚖 Taxi: 兴国路277号, 近泰安路
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚤♥⚤♥⚤♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥

  21. Cotton’s (Gay-friendly) 🌈🌐🍽

    My opinion  Shanghai Gay Venue Cottons
    Comfort Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star
    Int’l Quality Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star
    Value for $$ Gold StarGold StarGold Star
    Staff English Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star
    Crowd Size Gold StarGold StarGold StarGold Star

    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 mostly very good staff.  Just don’t hold an event there — if their Italian manager is involved, without notice, he will ridiculously change pre-agreed written plans wreaking last minute havoc for staff and customers.
    WeChat IDWeChat ID : gh_cb61986c073a
    294 Xinhua Lu,near Dingxi Lu
    🚖 Taxi: 新华路294号, 近定西路
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚤♥⚤♥⚤♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥

  22. COMO (formerly Lucca 390+) 🏳️‍🌈 [sporadic parties only]

    My opinion  Closed in January 2022, maybe permanently. Shanghai Gay Bar Logo COMO
    Comfort Gold StarGold Star
    Int’l Quality Gold StarGold Star
    Value for $$ Gold StarGold Star
    Staff English Gold StarGold Star
    Crowd Size Gold StarGold Star

    Opened on July 21, 2021 as COMO (advertised as ‘C0M0‘) but closed (maybe temporarily) shortly after (again) and now reopened (again). As previously Lucca 390+, this was once, by far, the biggest and most iconic club in Shanghai, once spread over two floors (2 different non-connected spaces entirely). Now only 2nd floor remains, and only as a small club.  The old space is split into 2 — COMO on one side, Bello on the other. Follow the official WeChat to check on sporadic party events:
    WeChat IDWeChat ID : COMO390 (warning, the unaffiliated HUNT also weirdly posts their own promotions almost daily into this COMO group account, so double check what you are reading)
    2nd Floor, 390 Panyu Road, by Fahuazhen Road
    🚖 Taxi: 上海市 长宁区 番禺路 390 号 ,近法华镇路
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥

  23. Bello (formerly Lucca 390+) 🏳️‍🌈 [sporadic parties only]

    My opinion  Closed in January 2022, maybe permanently. Shanghai Gay Bar Logo Bello
    Comfort Gold StarGold Star
    Int’l Quality Gold StarGold Star
    Value for $$ Gold StarGold Star
    Staff English Gold StarGold Star
    Crowd Size Gold StarGold Star

    Opened in Autumn of 2021 as a bar only with no dance floor. Previously Lucca 390+, now split into 2 — COMO on one side, Bello on the other, this half is a cocktail bar. Follow the official WeChat to check on sporadic party events:
    WeChat IDWeChat ID : gh_d14a45ea3294
    2nd Floor, 390 Panyu Road, by Fahuazhen Road
    🚖 Taxi: 上海市 长宁区 番禺路 390 号 ,近法华镇路
    ♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥⚣♥

+ Closed (past) Spaces

Gone, closed, bankrupt, kaput, shut down… but remembered, some of the major gay venues in Shanghai in my time, in no particular order… Lollipop, Icon195, Lucca, Club Deep, M Cafe, Hunter Bar, Eddys, Shanghai Studio, No. 7 Coffee & Juice Bar, Home Bar, G KTV, Transit Lounge (now Lollipop), D2, Box Bar, Therapy Lounge, Angel, Footloose, Blendi Coffee & Boys Cafe, Icon, Home Bar, SAO+HAUS, BoBo’s, Frangipani Bar & Restaurant, Candor, G8, Trio (moved in June to new location), ICON (Shanghai Stadium)Trend Cafe, Il Vino, Eddy’s (Jing’an), Vogue at Kevins, D9, Rainbow Cafe, Focus Club. Nine Elements, L’Alcove Restaurant, Therapy Club, Panda Club, Studio 2006, Telephone 6, Club Obama, Club BoBo, Transit Bar (Xingguo Mansion), LG, Datong Mills Lounge, Kevins Thai Restaurant, Happiness 42 (now HUNT), Repaly (we think they meant Replay), 390 (the original), COMO, BELLO, Riink (version 1), Pink Home and my personal all time favorite Space Bar.

+ Gay China Notes


A HIGHER PERCENTAGE OF CHINESE SUPPORT LEGALISATION OF GAY MARRIAGE THAN AMERICANS

Being gay was decriminalized in 1997, and removed from the Chinese Society of Psychiatry’s list of mental illnesses in 2001.  In December 2019, when Central Government was soliciting national opinions on a future draft of the civil code on marriage and family, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress survey of 9.9 million Chinese respondents via the Phoenix Network found 67.34% (6.67 million people) support same-sex marriage (compared to 61% of Americans in a Pew Research poll) with a further 2.19% (218k people) not caring, but some gay Chinese THINK they face what they believe to be a social stigma, particularly with their parents who are expecting family heirs.

LGBTTQQIAA Code ExplainerForget the ever growing long string of letters “LGBTTQQIAAP+” etc… — nearly all Chinese simply, politely, use the word “gay” for anyone non-hetero, which is an upgrade from the proliferation of confusing hidden colloquial terms such as “passion of Longyang” (lóngyángpǐ 龙阳癖), “the passion of the cut sleeve” (duànxiù zhī pǐ 断袖之癖), or “the divided peach” (fēntáo 分桃). Other terms have included “male trend” (nánfēng 男風), “allied brothers” (xiānghuǒ xiōngdì 香火兄弟).  The formal modern word for “homosexuality” is tongxinglian  (同性戀); ‘same-sex relations/love‘) or abbreviated to “tongzhi” (同志) which means “comrade“. Another slang term is “datong” (大同) meaning great togetherness or utopia. Lesbians usually call themselves “lala” (拉拉).

Gay Chinese Social Family TreeBrothers, Sisters, Uncles, Aunts, Mums & Dads

Prepare to be confused by a somewhat endearing trend in gay social circles of cross-referring to friends as brothers, sisters, uncles, mums and dads etc…  As gay friends meet, they often create their new social family circle of adopting these words to refer to one another, and typically, in opposite gender roles.  For example, an older gay man be referred to as the ‘mummy‘ to a ‘sister‘ which is actually a slightly younger gay man, who have a younger friend they regularly go out drinking with that they call their ‘daughter‘.   Their lesbian friend may be their ‘brother‘.  You get the idea.  Makes for some confusing, yet fun friendships as you build out your family or be incorporated into other ‘family’ groups.

For example within my Chinese social circle, I am daddy to some, sister to many, uncle to most, and daughter to one friend.  Yet within my own foreigner social circle, I am brother to many, and daddy to one.  To confuse matters, I also have a Chinese friend that within the bar scene, he prefers to be called an androgynous ‘Ninja’ since he considers himself invisible at times, and at other times, insists I call him ‘Ironman’ when he feels overly confident and fearless (typically when he is drunk).  At all times he calls me ‘Uncle Bro‘.

Some Common Gay Expressions

  • Chitudoude (吃土豆的)
    Literally meaning ‘eats potatoes,’ this refers to a gay Chinese person who has a case of white boy/girl fever, and thus tends to only date Caucasians. There are also ‘rice eaters,’ ‘sushi eaters’ and more, depending on your cuisine of choice.
  • Chugui (出柜)
    To come out of the closet. ‘Gui’ literally means ‘cupboard,’ but we’ll refrain from making food puns, for example, “Did you hear? That fine piece of potato is finally out of the cupboard.”
  • Kong (控)
    Kong means fetish in Chinese gay subculture. It can be combined with almost anything. Call someone “Dashu [uncle] Kong,” and it means someone who’s into older men; “Xiong [bear] Kong” means someone who’s into chubby and hairy “bears.”
  • Lala (拉拉)
    Lesbian. A phonetic adaptation of the English term.
  • Niang (娘)
    Sissy or effeminate. e.g., “He’s cute, but he’s gone a bit heavy on the eyeliner. A bit ‘niang’ for my taste.”
  • Tongzhi (同志)
    Homosexual. Literally meaning ‘comrade,’ tongzhi was a term bandied about heavily during the Cultural Revolution. It had been appropriated by the gay community to refer to same-sex comrades in the bedroom.
  • Xiao Gong (小攻)
    Xiao Gong refers to the person who “gives” in gay sex (commonly described around the world as a “1″ or “top”). The term Xiao Gong originated from Chinese gay romance novels and Japanese gay animations.
  • Xiao Shou (小受)
    The opposite of Xiao Gong, Xiao Shou is the one who “takes” in gay sex (also known as a “0” or the “bottom”). However, this term can also be used to refers to the guy who is in a more feminine role and needs to be taken care of in a relationship.

+ Gay Shanghai Notes 

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

Drag Queens Sassy Brassy ClassyWeirdly, 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.

Additionally, for privacy concerns, there is a growing trend in most international quality 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.

Lastly, I do not support the “Shanghai LGBT” organization that postures itself as if representing and serving the community. It is largely run by foreigners, is overly focussed on the bar scene, and provides no transparency for fundraising dollars received. When, and if, a proper organization is established by local Chinese, that maintains open accountability and supports government advocacy / lobbying work with proper non-bar only orientated efforts, I will support.

+ Gay 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, TanTan, Tinder, Grindr and Badoo.

Some, but not all, require VPN or similar work-a-round, depending on the typical combination of your location, internet service provider and government rating of the internet access account holder (generally foreign passport or local Chinese ID card).

Gay apps in China

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, but no translation, no copy/paste, no screenshots and overly strict on non-Chinese content) is growing in popularity. Some, such as Grindr, Blued & TanTan are Chinese owned/controlled. Romeo & Fridae are typically extremely popular outside the mainland in S.E. Asia – particularly in Thailand, Philippines, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Cambodia.  GayDar only with UK expats.

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 or which there are hundreds in Shanghai alone.

+ Chinese Gay History

The Legend of the “Cut Sleeve”

Passion of the Cut Sleeve scrollThe Passion of the Cut Sleeve” is an Ancient Chinese story depicting gay love and desire. So what is the story, and why is it so important?  Homosexuality is not a new phenomenon nor a ‘Western invention’. Since human beings have existed, gay life has been present in all races, all countries and all cultures.

This tale tells the story of the second to last Emperor of the Eastern Han Dynasty, Emperor Ai (汉哀帝) (27BC – 1BC) and his lover, Dong Xian (董贤) a politician & minor imperial secretary.  The story, told in ‘The Book of Han’, describes how the couple often took naps together on the same straw mat.  One day, the Emperor woke up he realised his lover had fallen asleep on the sleeve of his robe. The Emperor didn’t want to wake the peaceful Dong Xian. Therefore he cut the sleeve from his robe off so as not to disturb Dong Xian and left the room silently.  When the Emperor suddenly died of illness in 1BC, Dong Xian was forced to commit suicide.  The phrase ‘the passion of the cut sleeve’ (‘断袖之癖’ / duàn xiù zhī pǐ) is often used to refer to male same-sex love in Chinese culture.

Same-sex love existed in Ancient China.

It is also clear that it wasn’t stigmatised in the same way as it is today. China boasts a long history of homosexuality, with official records stretching back more than 25 centuries. Gay relationships seem to have been particularly commonplace among aristocrats and literary elites before the Han dynasty.

Tuer Shen Rabbit GodChina was more gay progressive, thanks to Christian morality, than Europe.  During the Qing Dynasty, the locals began worshipping a Taoist deity known as Tù’er Shén (兔儿神), who served as the guardian of same-sex love. Flourishing in Fujian Province, a rabbit-worshipping religious sect worshipped Tù’er Shén whose name literally means Baby Rabbit God.

There are, of course, many references to same-sex love in Chinese history. There’s the story of Longyang, who wept in fear that King Anxi of Wei might leave him for a more beautiful man, prompting the king to forbid any mention of other beauties under penalty of death. Or Mizi Xia, who shared half a peach with his lover Duke Ling of Wei.

To this day, same-sex love is known in China as either gay or “the passion of Longyang” (lóngyángpǐ 龙阳癖), “the passion of the cut sleeve” (duànxiù zhī pǐ 断袖之癖), or “the divided peach” (fēntáo 分桃).

See “Gay Emperors in Chinese History: Five love stories about ancient monarchs and their male confidantes“:
https://www.theworldofchinese.com/2019/06/gay-emperors-in-chinese-history

Modern History

After the Proclamation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 until the late 1970s, outgoing gay life was suppressed.  Only in 1997 was it legalized. On December 31, 2015, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television through it’s China Television Drama Production Industry Association posted new guidelines, including a ban on showing queer relationships on TV.

In March 2017, the National People’s Congress amended Chinese law so that “all adults of full capacity are given the liberty of appointing their own guardians by mutual agreement.”  Since October 2017, China has granted same-sex couples various legal rights, which permits same-sex partners to make decisions about medical, personal care, death, funeral, property management, and maintenance of rights and interests. In case one partner loses the ability to make crucial decisions (i.e. mental or physical illness or accident), his or her guardian may decide for them in their best interest. Their legal relationship can also include wealth and inheritance, or pension, depending on which additional legal documents the couple decides to sign, such as a will. Some notary offices require couples to have lived together for several years or that both partners are out to their families as requirements to sign such an agreement.

+ Gayborhood Map 上海Gay邻

Shanghai Gayborhood Map 2022 上海Gay邻

Shanghai Green QR Code+ COVID-19 Measures

In 2020, different operating regulations on a district-by-district basis throughout Shanghai had been enhanced due to COVID-19.  Even though largely eradicated from the mainland, 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.

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