An Incomplete Guide to Shanghai Wine Bars

An Incomplete Guide to Shanghai Wine Bars

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Known as a cocktail junkie, I have been, somehow, converted to a wino since my return to homeland two years ago. Wine bars have now become my new escapes. One of the many reasons to love wine bar is the food:  if not too hungry, those simple dishes perfect to go with wine serves as one relaxing step-down from the complexity of western fine dinings. Cold cuts and cheese platters, followed by an extra or two warm appetizers, are guilt-free and satisfying from body to soul.

These four wine bars I frequent on a regular base, each coming in their own unique styles and characters, all share something in common: The coziness. Folks, why do we have to compare everything to Paris or Neuva York? Let your hair down, enjoy the wine and the Shanghai vibe!

Restaruant information listed at the end of this article. Again, feel free to share and like!

食月到了最后一天,还是在写酒!干脆一鼓作气,写写我在上海平时爱去的小酒馆吧!

老实讲,最近大半年鸡尾酒吧不大去了,因为都快住在 Wine Bar里了。Wine Bar 有个优点,除了酒多,不想正经吃晚饭还能“随便搭一口”;下酒的食物,简单好吃就行,什么冷切肉呀奶酪拼盘,再来两个热小菜,吃得人舒舒服服。

上海的这4家店,氛围和装修各有千秋,但都很“适意”、很放松,讲真,组撒要假装在什么巴黎纽约,我们上海就!很!好!

不说了,我要出去喝酒了。☺️

老规矩,店家的信息在最后~ 

P.S. 压箱底都馆子都给你们了,还不快转发!

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Le Verre à Vin

“Izakaya alike, THE CLUB for Shanghai wine practitioners”

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Walking into this Izakaya-looking space hidden behind a lush entrance on Changle Rd, you'd be greeted by the sight of a housefull of magic charms (and wine haiku) written in Chinese Calligraphy. Some might even mistaken it as some legit Japanese diner (even more convincing with an actual Kaiseki place next door! )

This is also why people were so impressed on their first visit to Le Verre the wine bar, if you make the effort to figure out what these "pretentious", in fact geniunely funny charms are all about. Honestly if you can't read Chinese, you are missing half of the fun here. 

And perhaps in one of your tipsy moments, the bar manager Jeffrey would walk towards you with a sly grin, hand over some paper and ink in exchange of a spill of your creative juice.  

“李白乘舟将欲行,忽闻岸上开香槟”

“我心有猛虎,坐等武松”

“不喝葡萄酒的你们啊,naive~”(蛤酒神图)

还有一张长乐路仙师印不醉符,现在贴在我家酒柜上。

这一张张精怪的“鬼画符”,让很多人记住了 Le Verre a Vin,也让很多人误以为这是家日式居酒屋(谁让隔壁还开着家正经会席料理?)。喝High 了,店长 Jeffery 也许还会拿出墨汁和宣纸,邀你挥毫落墨。

▲ Such a drama king

▲ Such a drama king

Earlier this year, Le Verre a Vin just celebrated its 5th birthday. I still remember how crazy it was and don't quite remember how I ended up tucking in bed home. It was unprecedentedly crowded, after enthusiastic wine lovers flocked in from the entire universe...or Shanghai. 

这间看似浮夸的小 Wine Bar,深得沪上众多酒圈人士追捧,上海的侍酒师们更是常常在这里举办联欢会。这家店今年早些时候过了5岁生日,各种 free flow,盛况空前,感觉上海爱喝葡萄酒的人都来了……

▲ Le Verre à Vin's 5th birthday

▲ Le Verre à Vin's 5th birthday

This little boutique wine bistro, though a bit exotic-looking, is an all-time-favorite of wine lovers in the city. Typical frequents include high profile sommeliers, wine importers, restaurant owners and the like. 

Undoubtedly Jefferey should be crowned the most hilarious wine persona in Shanghai. Coming from the kitchen, he fell in love with then steered his career towards wine. As business perked up, his passion for food never subsided - always ready to crack a new recipe!

Jeffery可能是上海最搞笑的 Wine Bar 老板,从做意大利菜餐厅半路出家,业余烧饭的同时阴差阳错爱上酒,越做越有起色;不过他也从未放弃对餐的执着,听说前两天正用休息时间在某著名法餐后厨偷师,最近刚刚推出了杂烩烤鱼,看起来很有食欲呢!

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Two massive shelves lining up against the doorway, the whites and the sparklings to the right, while the left displays the reds. Choices are friendly from orthodox classics, to boldly flavored natural wines, you name it. With a handful of expensive bottles nestled on the bottm shelf, most wines are affordable and readily enjoyable. 

If you are good at maths and have a general idea of how much the bottles generally cost, you know it's a bargain. Jeff's caligarphy arts very often extended to the bottles: "A natural wine a day, keeps your glasses swirling."

With its widespread popularity, plus friendly corkage fee (rmb 150), Le Verre à Vin is a perfect spot for BYOB. Chill and generious as Jeff, he wouldn't mind at all.

Ample space, reasonable price, and ideal for groups. Birthday parties and company gatherings are not rare encounters here, and chances of hitting into a seriously wasted human being rises as midnight approaches. Again, Jeff wouldn't mind, as long as everyone's tipsy and cheeful. 

里厢门旁两个架子,右边白和起泡,左边则清一色红。酒款选得很杂,有规规矩矩的经典款,也有离经叛道(也可以说是回归正途)、味道张扬的自然酒,但基本上都不算贵价,如果你对酒价略有心得,你知道这个地方到底有多划算。调皮的老板有时候会在酒瓶上即兴作画,譬如上面这支不错喝的 Matassa 白:自然大法,酒杯常转。

因为开瓶费太便宜(才150)加上交友广泛,也有人从国外背了好东西就跑过来聚众开喝………………心大的老板表示并不在意。

因为地方够大、价格又很实惠,特别适合聚会,所以生日趴和公司聚餐的比例奇高,喝到稀烂的妹子汉子十分常见,不过老板也不介意,大家开心最重要。

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The menu is relatively simple. Despite that, I would still go with some fries when feeling opened up, devour a couple slices of beef carparcio while sipping the red, or pair some tangy white with their vinegar razor clams! It is also always a good idea to consult Jeff for pairing suggestions. 

Not one of those fanciest to-go places for food, but a real deal to be paired with wines!

菜品相对简单,除了喝多了以后吃个炸薯条,我还喜欢开红的时候吃冰冰凉的 Beef Carparcio,或者就着酸酸的白酒吃点醋浸蛏子。当然,也可以点名让 Jeff 为你的酒推荐配菜,印象里也真的是吃过好些个怪里怪气的菜。下个酒,绝对没问题!

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Vinsim

“ First Natural Wine Bar in China, 2.0 ”

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Reading the line the first Natural Wine Bar in Mainland China, no further explanations needed if you know your wine. 

Sticking to natural farming, avoiding synthetic herbicides or pesticides, harvesting late, rigorously sorting to remove all but the healthiest grapes, and adding minimal doses of sulfur dioxide...

Biodynamic practices, organic farming or natural wines has been trendy for decades now. DRC, Leroy are among the first batch to try, with big supporters like Noma and Restaurant Andre... Call it pioneering, call it cool, for the general public, natural wine is indeed a little too avant garde compared to other wines, in many ways...

It's only natural that most people find natrual wine stinks. I had experienced the same with my first sip at Ten Bells, a revered natural wine bar back in good old NYC.

大陆第一家自然酒酒吧(Natrual Wine Bar)。

懂酒的人,光是看到这一句话就够了呀。

采取自然农法耕种,将人为干预及添加将至最低,甚至连硫都不放……什么自然酒、生物动力风潮在欧美刮了那么些年,DRC、Leroy 都身先士卒,全世界的贵餐厅,什么 Noma、Restaurant Andre 啦,也都是自然酒的忠实拥趸。

但自然酒吧,和正常的葡萄酒还是有点不太一样。

什么?你觉得自然酒有点臭臭的?你不是一个人。在纽约著名的自然酒吧 Ten Bells,我第一次接触自然酒的时候也是一样的情况……

▲  The Last night at Vinism 1.0

 The Last night at Vinism 1.0

I did not bcome a big fan of natural wine, not until I met Owen, the owner of Vinism and other friends of his. 

Once the founder of the renowned wine school I-way, Owen rented a red brick house at 50 Taian Road and turned it into a chic French Bistro named Chez Maurice. From there, he has ever since practiced his life-long goal:  to get more people drink this stuff!

直到我碰到了Vinism 的老板Owen 和他的一些好朋友,才知道根本不是那么回事。Owen曾是名震一时的I-way葡萄酒学校的创始人,年纪轻轻却已桃李满天下。后来,他在泰安路50号包下一栋小红楼,在一家法式Bistro 餐厅 Chez Maurice里实践自己的夙愿:通过配餐,让更多人喝上自然酒。

▲   jiggly poached eggs from Chez Maurice

▲  jiggly poached eggs from Chez Maurice

Vinism, being his second brainchild, came with a much more straightforward concept than Chez Maurice: wine oriented.

What you see now is version 2.0. The original 1.0 across the street towards Taian 50 was unfortunatedly forced closed after open for a month. 

Owen quickly put himself together to open Vinism 2.0 on Dongzhuanbang Rd. Nestling in this desolately-located neighborhood with few international F&B businesses around, Vinism succeeded in creating the buzz through WOM, and has soon become booked-up spot. 

Ugh...No reservations? Take your glasses and get stand-drunk by the window!

Vinism 是 Owen 的第二个餐饮项目,相比 Chez Maurice 更加纯粹直接:卖酒。现在这家店,已是 Vinism 的2.0版本。前身就开在泰安50斜对面,因为邻里关系复杂,开了一个月就不幸夭折……

Owen 并没有放弃自己的想法,很快重振旗鼓转战东诸安浜路。这家因为地段本不被人看好的Wine Bar 却迅速蹿红,每天生意都是好到爆棚,有时候没订位,只能站着喝酒!

▲  Patio seats outside do remind you of Paris

 Patio seats outside do remind you of Paris

I basically live here lately.

If you are not familiar with natural wine, the by-glass options on the chalkboard, changed everyweek, are the best to start with. But if the feeling of uncorking really turns you on, Vinism's in-store cellar would never be more trustworthy. Much faster replacement rate than any other wine bars in town. Plus, a 10% discount if you decide to take them home!

最近一阵吧,我真的是已经住在店里了。

因为实在是住得很近,走走路只要10分钟。

不熟悉自然酒?黑板上每周更新的杯卖酒是最好的入门选项(偷偷说这周店里会有意大利自然酒头牌 Gravner 的杯卖)。但如果你喜欢开瓶,不如到特别辟出的小酒窖里和老板或店员一起选酒,流动性比一般葡萄酒吧都大,每周都有上新酒款;买回家喝,可以打9折~

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▲  Some of my recent favs

▲ Some of my recent favs

Owen's mania for natural wine pairing wouldn't be confined by the size of vinism's kitchen. Given the limited working space, the food is suprisingly delicious with a solid mind working behind.

刚才说过,Owen非常执着于自然酒配餐。Vinism的厨房只有一丢丢大,但食物出品却是相当令人刮目:

▲  Wasabi Razor Clams

▲ Wasabi Razor Clams

▲  Crabs!

▲ Crabs!

Unlike the usual wine bar food regime, a.k.a. western-oriented, everything served here has some Chinese element blended in. The scent of Japanese wasabi faintly exhales from the Poached Razor Clams, mellow and gentle enough to work with refreshing whites. Pig Head Pate with a high proportion of pig ears is one of the most-ordered dished here. Perfect for both strong whites and thin reds.

But neither can beat my favorite, the Chaoshan Old Goose Meat and Gizzards shown below!

和一般Wine Bar 的西式导向完全不同,这里的食物都有点中餐的影子,譬如这一盘水煮蛏子,隐隐约约的日本芥末味,含蓄而柔美,很适合搭配清爽的白。加入了很高比例猪耳朵的猪头肉 Pate,也是很多酒客挚爱的下酒菜,浑厚白、清淡红两相宜。

不过我的最爱,是下面这盘潮汕老鹅肉和胗肝

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Juicy, tender, tantalizing and mouth-watering...so appealing that every time it gets snapped up in just a few seconds. You really gotta hurry!

The person behind the kitchen is Holly, a beautiful girl with and composed air. Years of training in a Paris kitchen paved her way to the French fine dining AKME down in French Concession. But oddly, she took off and went dim-sum studying in a Cantonese restaurant 6 months later.

When asked about her uncommon career choice, Holly said years of rigrous training and a path to the head chef of a fine restaurat was never what she wanted.

In this mercurious and chaotic world, dreamers who take real actions are truly to be respected.

每次上桌都是秒光……

坐镇厨房的是干练而美丽的北京姑娘 Holly,曾在法国工作学习多年的她,被巴黎 Akrame 派回上海,在法租界新开的 Akme 供职。半年后,Holly 却选择去了另一间粤菜馆,正儿八经地学起了做点心,对于自己不走寻常路的职业选择,Holly 有自己的想法

“因为,我并不想经过很多年的训练,成为一个西餐厅的主厨,这不是我想要的。” 

勇于说出并追求自己的想法,在这个复杂纷繁的年代,也是难能可贵。

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LeBec Boutique

“ Possibly the most balanced wine collection ”

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It was not love at first sight. 

A quite sunny afternoon, I was passing by, plotting to order a mille-feuille to go. I poke my head round the dining area, and after getting intimidated by the overflowing darkness (it was 2pm and plenty of sunchine outdoor), i was told that only Bistro 321 villa Le Bec, their original brach carries mille-feuille.

I went home pissed and told my friend, "it was dark. I'd rather sit by the streetside and drink a glass of sunshine. "

Hum. Just like my long time fav Phenix at the PULI and NAPA, I'm not sure why, but those not-love-at-the-first-sight encounters always turn into a happy ending. 

Lesson learned: a second try won't hurt!

第一次去 LeBec Boutique,我并没有很喜欢。

下午两点钟光景路过,本想外带一块他家十分好吃的千层酥走人,探头进堂喝的地方猫了一眼,光线有点暗无天日,又被告知千层酥只有本店才有,便散了念头。

回去以后告诉小伙伴:“大白天的,喝酒的区域光线好暗,感觉不舒服。”

恩,这种没有第一眼眼缘、却在日后颠覆印象的地方,比如璞丽,比如 NAPA,好像占到了我在上海最爱餐厅的绝大多数……事实告诉我们,很多时候,要多给次机会。

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I returned to LeBec Boutique with a French chef/wino friend. Giving a closer look at the bottles, I probably looked like an idiot drooling around. Just a few pics to show you how impressive the collection is!

第二次去,是和一枚超级爱喝酒的法国厨师小伙伴,细细研究过一整面墙的酒和价钱以后,我表示口水要流出来了。不多说了贴几张图,这个 Collection,作为小酒馆来说,真是选得心服口服!

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Not only does it cater to demands and taste of all sorts, but it also surprises you with geniunely low price. I did the maths (again), the labeled price only contains a very small fraction of mark up. Dine-in sets you back an extra 100 kuai, which can't be more reasonable.

After all, when it comes to wine purchase, perhaps nothing would be easier than to just grab a bottle home from Le Bec. 

The concept of this place is decidedly geared towards retailing, to get people buy wines and cold cuts and savory spread jars after work, enjoy at home. While the location is not the most ideal, with no office buildings around and almost a mile away from the Concession, it happens to offer the actual diners some privacy. 

I'd be happy to bike all the way down here to fetch a bottle or two.

不仅满足了各种价位需求和口味偏好,最让人瞠目的还是低价:做了下算数,mark-up真的太低太低。标签是外带价格,堂喝要加一百块,天啊,简直十!分!合!理!说到底,买酒这件事吧,即便认识酒商有拿酒的渠道,也不可能认识全上海全中国的酒商吧……缺酒的时候,来这里拎一瓶走简直是太方便了!

老板的想法么,就是下了班来遛弯买点酒,顺便从外面的 boutique里带点冷切肉啊鸭肉罐罐甜点什么的回家。老实讲,位置有点尴尬,离法租界距离稍远,周边又没什么写字楼……不过也好,正好给我们这些想堂食的人一点清净。

骑个车下来买酒救急,也是行得通的呀!

▲  5J Jamon displayed with a deer head

▲ 5J Jamon displayed with a deer head

Trailing from its original bistro a few blocks away, decor of this satellite wine bar follows the same funky-classic French country scheme. Menu here consists of cold platters with meat, cheese, and some baked pastry brought directly from their own neighboring bistro.

Bread is the big killer here, baked to perfection with just the right amount of airiness and sourness! 

和不远处的本店一样,环境走可爱的经典法国风。菜就更简单了,冷切肉拼盘为主的下酒菜,乡村肉批什么都是本店做好直接拿过来的。

值得点名的是,店家自制的面包,真的非常好吃!!!!!

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Just want to show you an intriguing slice of dried Wagyu from the cold cuts platter.

The absence of a decent kitchen is the only drawback (or advantage). Very limited hot dish choices except for some sausages. Oh, maybe another one: it closes at 10pm! 

冷切肉拼盘里有一个比较特别的和牛腿肉,还蛮有趣的。

唯一的缺点(或者说优点),没有像样的厨房,于是热菜只有光秃秃一根白香肠一根血肠。另外么,就是只开到10点……不过这样也恰能避免有人喝晚了耍酒疯~

店内还巧遇了带着电脑过来找灵感的同行小伙伴,果然是英雄所见略同。

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Wine Connection

“ Wine and kebabs, bffs 4ever! ”

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credit to: SmartShanghai

credit to: SmartShanghai

The last one here is a very personal choice, hardly mentioned.

Whenever we decide to take a break from natural stuff and pop back to the normal world for a sec, Wine Connection is the place to go.

The owner here is reportedly the opening manager of Portman Ritz-Carlton years ago, also possibly germaphobe (or virgo). I'm pretty sure that no other wine glasses in Shanghai are better cleaned.

Wine collection is not huge but carefully selected and reasonably priced. Organized and lovely enough, nothing could go extreme when you sink comfortably down in the couch, swirling your glass and cherishing the moment.

By-glass wines on the board rotate quickly, and the optimal condition of those  booze always impresses me.

最后,说一家私人一直会去、却很少提的店。

知道这家店是拜我的酒友上海女郎所赐,跟我一起喝多了自然酒,偶尔想清净一会子喝喝正常的酒,我们就会去这里。

据说老板是波特曼丽思卡尔顿西餐厅的开业经理(long long long ago),对细节有着近乎处女座的要求:我可以拍着胸说,这里的酒杯,绝对是上海擦得最干净的。

选酒的 collection 不算大,但酒的价格非常好没什么特别离经叛道的酒,就是一个可以舒舒服服窝在沙发上喝杯酒的地方。

吧台右侧小黑板上的单杯也经常换,而且酒的状态都非常好,推荐。

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Here comes the food, possibly the most complete menu among all four wine bars mentioned! It offers a full range of menu stuff, from salad, appetizers to entree just like a regular bistro does, but unbelievably good kebabs!!

Kebabs are made with premium cuts, no photo proofs as I devoured everything too quickly but I'm not joking. Never knew that lamb skewers could go so well with Rioja!

P.S. Very ideal bar seats for home workers and a company of a lovely dog called Mimi.

而且,他家的食物,是今天介绍的这四家 Wine Bar 里最全面的。普通 Bistro 里有的沙拉前菜主菜一样不少,最令人难以置信的是:

他家有烤串!!!!而且肉用得超级好,我没有拍图但是我真的吃了羊肉串配 Rioja,绝赞!!!

吧台位子适合带电脑工作,来这里写过好几次稿子。

另,老板有一只叫咪咪的狗,随便摸,就是不怎么爱我。

 

Written by Xiaoyi aka 喜北

Translated to English by Judy

 

Le Verre à Vin

Add:  1221 Changle Rd (Near Huashan Rd)

Hours: 5:30-1:00 Mon to Sun

Tel: 021-54034278

Avrg. Price: rmb 2 - 300

 

Vinism

Add: 57-1 Dongzhu'anbang Rd

Hours: 16:00-00:00 Mon to Sun

Tel: 021-32120759

Avrg. Price: rmb 2 - 300

 

LeBec Boutique

Add: 62 Xinhua Rd

Hours: 10:00-22:00 Mon to Sun

Avrg. Price: rmb 1 - 200

 

Wine Connection

Add: 439 Yuyuan Rd (Near North Wulumuqi)

Hours: 12:00-24:00 Mon to Sun

Tel: 021-62360579

Avrg. Price: rmb 1 - 200

 

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