Sexy, tipsy salsa: Shanghai's 5 best bars for putting on your dancing shoes
Looking for a change of pace? A night of salsa might just be the boost you need.
Let the rhythm flow at one of these five Shanghai bars. Most of them run free dance classes at the beginning of the evening to teach you the basics of those oh-so-sultry Latin moves.
This is probably the most popular salsa night in town, crowded with dance devotees every Monday.
With a mix of live band, DJ sets and salsa instructors, who needs more on a Monday night?
Mural’s intimate interiors and dusky ambience allow everyone, from amateurs to professionals, to let loose and dance the night away.
To warm up, get there early and take advantage of the buy-one-get-one-free deal for all drinks on the menu (from 7 p.m.-9 p.m.).
The band gets going at 10:30 p.m. and doesn’t stop until 3 a.m. The space usually gets packed around 11 p.m.
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697 Yongjia Lu, near Hengshan Lu 永嘉路697号, 近衡山路, +86 21 6433 5023. Salsa nights take place on every Monday from 10:30 p.m. No cover charge
2. Van Gogh
With its spacious dance floor, this restaurant cum wine bar really gives you room to strut your stuff, and their salsa night has a dedicated clientele that fills up Van Gogh’s dance floor every Wednesday.
Make sure you dance at least once with the bar’s owner, Leonardo Gandulfo, who is there every week getting his groove on.
There’s a free class for everyone at 9 p.m., led by the bar's dance instructor/DJ.
Cocktails range from RMB 59 to RMB 69, and a pitcher of sangria costs RMB 158. The Latin beats don’t stop until after 2 a.m.
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698 Yongjia Lu, near Anting Lu 永嘉路698号,近安亭路,+86 21 6403 0058, bar-vangogh.com. Salsa nights take place every Wednesday and Sunday from 9 p.m. No cover charge
3. Rico Rico
Rico Rico is Shanghai's newest addition to the salsa scene.
For most of the week, it's just one of many restaurants in the Cool Docks. But on Thursday nights, its Latin spirit roars into life and pulses with salsa beats.
Set in a two-story mansion along the south Bund, the Latin restaurant and bar showcases the stunning Pudong skyline and features a 30-square-meter dance floor, the biggest of all the venues on this list.
Thursdays are also Rico Rico’s buy-one-get-one-free mojito nights, so enjoy twice the fun of Cuba’s national drink before wobbling onto the dance floor and hunting for that perfect dance partner.
Tara 57 bartenders serve cocktails for RMB 60 a go. Salsa newbies can call in advance to book a free class.
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Room 114, 601 Waima Lu, near Zhuxingmatou Jie 外马路601号114室, 近竹行码头街, +86 21 3330 0977, www.ricorico.sh. Salsa nights take place on every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 9 p.m. No cover charge
4. JZ Club
There’s no better way to start your weekend than with a salsa night at JZ Club.
The darkness, smoky interiors, red lamps and live band make this Shanghai jazz institution perfect for a night of the foremost Latin beats, and the late-night club hosts a night of wild salsa every Friday in the heart of the former French Concession.
Arrive early, since it gets really crowded, but leave late because the band doesn’t stop until 3 a.m. There’s a cover charge of RMB 30, but it's money well spent. Drink prices vary from RMB 50 to RMB 80.
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46 Fuxing Xi Lu, near Yongfu Lu 复兴西路46号,近永福路, +86 21 6431 0269, www.jzclub.cn. Salsa nights take place on every Friday from 9:45 p.m. RMB 30 to get in
5. Brown Sugar
With a live band, relaxed atmosphere and central location, this Xintiandi jazz club is the most salsalicious choice to end your week of Latin dance parties.
The band kicks off at 9:15 p.m, Shanghai salsa lovers hit the dance floor from around 10 p.m., and the beats wind down at 1 a.m.
It’s Xintiandi so expect prices to be on the higher end -- drinks cost between RMB 60 and RMB 100.
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Bldg. 15, Xintiandi North Block, Lane 181 Taicang Lu, near Huangpi Nan Lu 太仓路181弄新天地北里15号, 近黄陂南路, +86 21 5382 8998, www.brownsugarlive.com. Salsa nights take place on every Sunday from 9:30 p.m. No cover charge