Bund 18: Shanghai's Most Exciting Entertainment Destination
Shanghai, China's largest city, is a vibrant metropolis with an intriguing cultural diversity in architecture, history, food and people. With its large influx of Europeans who made their home here in the early part of the 20th century, Shanghai became known by the 1930s as one of the most exciting, sophisticated cities in the world. Today, some parts of Shanghai (such as Old Town) are distinctly Chinese, while other parts (such as the French Concession) feel like a Parisian Boulevard.
In the French area, The Bund is well known for its exciting fusion of Eastern and Western styles and culture. At the centre of the Bund—China's most sought after waterfront estate—stands Bund18, a fashionable mixed-use entertainment complex, housed in a stunning 1923 neo-classical building that won a UNESCO award of distinction. Here you will find some of the city's top boutiques restaurants, lounges, nightclubs and exhibition spaces with unparalleled panoramic views of the Huangpu River and financial mecca of Shanghai's financial centre in Pudong.
If shopping's your thing, merchants include Cartier, Patek Phillipe and Zegna. Dining options are innovative and diverse, from Sibilla Cafe for lunch to Tan Wai Lou's nouveau-Chinese dishes, and the modern French cuisine of Mr & Mrs Bund. Chef Paul Pairet creates imaginative dishes in a chic environment - at my visit, I was blown away by the prawn steamed in a mason jar with lemongrass, and the lemon tart cooked whole inside the lemon for three days, and served inside the lemon rind! Once the night is underway party in style at L18, where trendy lounge music plays in an artistic environment; or head upstairs to Bar Rouge, a rooftop lounge with the hottest DJs in town against the incredible Shanghai skyline backdrop.
TMSK: Nightlife with a Decidedly Artistic Twist in Shanghai
The TMSK Restaurant & Bar in Shanghai is short for Tou Ming Si Kao, which means "transparent thinking." From your first step into this exquisite place, it's easy to see the transparency of the atmosphere the owners are trying to create. The bar is a gorgeous length of amazing art glass, lit from within. In fact, the entire place is softly lit and decorated with art glass, giving it a gallery feel as much as that of a restaurant or bar.
And hardly surprising - TMSK was conceived around an art gallery concept, Liuli Gongfang, which was started by actress Loretta Yang and director Chang Yi in 1985. In fact, in the corner adjacent to the TMSK bar and restaurant is Shanghai's smallest art gallery, filled with this gorgeous art glass. In the dining and lounge areas, carefully crafted Crystal ceilings, tables and furnishings blossom in a reflective "river" that distills light throughout the rooms, making for a romantic and excitingly unique experience. Live music adds to the experience, and traditional platform performances are held here every weekend, truly an experience worth coming for.
When I visited, musician and movie director Gao Xiao was sitting at an outside table working on his laptop - TMSK, not surprisingly, attracts the creative crowd of Shanghai. "When I'm in Shanghai, I come here most every afternoon to polish my script," said Gao. "You can spend the whole day here, and even all night long, eating, drinking and meeting people."
Chilling at the Hippest New Spot in Beijing, China
Today's Beijing is an almost schizophrenic mish-mash of history and cutting-edge modernity; ancient culture and youthful energy; traditional customs and punk rock. Along with this new Beijing comes cool, creative places to see and be seen, where young hipsters hang out and party down. One such place is 1949 The Hidden City. Built in the old Beijing Machinery Factory from 1949 (hence the name), this mixed-use compound kept much of the original building materials and added glass, metal, sculpture and other contemporary touches to create an architectural masterpiece.
Here, nestled between skyscrapers, 1949 provides 6,000 walled-in square meters of a neo-industrial chic dining and entertainment venue, in the heart of Beijing's party district (Chao Yang). In this little pocket of serenity, you would never guess you're in the middle of bustling Beijing. Restaurants, bars, gardens, events spaces, art gallery, and private member's club take the concept of the commune to a new level of get-down harmony. Come early in the day to work at the coffeehouse or sit in the courtyard amid fountains for lunch from the Noodle Bar. Treat yourself to Dutch pancakes with your choice of toppings at the Sugar Bar, or check out the current exhibits at Gallery 49. Wi-fi is comprehensive, and young professionals on laptops abound during daylight hours.
As evening falls, 1949 turns into a sophisticated party zone. Have cocktails and dinner at the understated, warm Taverna - or ladies, check out the women-only Club Décolloté where men are allowed only as guests of the female patrons. 1949 is also known as a place to get one of the best Peking duck dishes in the city. Duck de Chine is Beijing’s most stylish, most innovative duck restaurant featuring China's first Bollinger Champagne Bar. Duck de Chine does not compromise traditional renditions of Peking duck, but adds the best French-style duck dishes to the menu. Call ahead to reserve your duck, which is roasted carefully for hours in the restaurant's wood ovens. The Executive Chef makes the hoisin sauce from his own personal recipe.
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Shelley SealeShelley Seale is a freelance writer and author based out of Austin, Texas, but can often be found traipsing all over the world. Shelley has written for National Geographic, USA Today, CNN, AOL, Globe Pequot Press, Outdoors NW, The Seattle Times and Andrew Harper Traveler, among others. She is also the author or a contributing author of six books. Her mantra is "travel with a purpose."
Located: Austin USA
Likes: cultural, immersion, sustainable, learning, experiential, voluntourism