Shout II! Winopete, Now in Shangers

I gave a shout last week to Peter W, who has started a bar newsletter in Shanghai. His most recent issue is so info-packed that it demands a second shout: I mean, who else has recommendations not only on the best spots for getting a beer or glass of wine, but also mashed potatoes?(Plus, his return shout was appreciated.) To get his newsletter, email winopetechina@yahoo.com with “Eaglehawk” in the subject line (its his favorite wine). Here’s his most recent…

WINOPETE’S PUB NEWS – 26TH JANUARY, 2007

SASHA’S WINE BUFFET

Sasha’s (corner of Hengshan and Dongping Roads) holds a wine buffet every Friday from 6.30-9.00 pm during which it’s a full-on, free-for-all rush to the bar to see who can sample all 12+ wines before one’s fellow soaks. Cost is RMB148. Remember that at this establishment a regular glass of wine will normally drain your Christian Dior wallet/purse by at least RMB55. The wine buffet contains a selection of mixed whites and reds. Although there are many ‘nasty Nellys’, there are usually a couple of decent labels thrown in among the line-up to make the offer more tempting for vino know-alls.

With specials such as this, a Monday pints and pizza night for RMB100; a half-price happy hour daily from 5-7pm for standard drinks, good grub and a crackerjack wine list, it is no wonder that Sasha’s is soaring high when many competitors are struggling to earn a shekel. Service at Sashas has also come on leaps and bounds. It has taken them 10 unstable years to reach this level though, with many obstacles to be battled along the way; now it appears they can finally consolidate and briefly smell the RMB roses before raising the level even higher. Good luck, fellas!

FREELANCE TUESDAY SPECIAL

Every Tuesday til 9pm, Freelance (on Yueyang Rd, near Dongping Rd intersection) plies RMB15 tacos and RMB25 draught beers (Heineken and San Mig), both which are decent specials better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick. I indulged recently and was pleasantly surprised; the tacos were good on flavour, but a tad small. If you’re a Texan-sized teddy bear, you would need to order at least 6, while if you’re a sweet, Shanghainese ‘xiaojie’, 2 or 3 would probably suffice.

Business at Freelance seems to have picked up recently, which is hopefully the start of an auspicious trend – and not before time either, given that this place opened about 10 months ago to a din of deserted seats. A rumour is circulating that an ousted wine bar investor is considering joining forces with Lance, so watch this space…

FREE BOOZE ON TAIKANG LU THIS SATURDAY

A very reliable snout has informed me that there’ll be FREE beer (probably Steinlager), gluwein and other drinks from 2-4pm this Saturday at the opening event of a shop called Vervia. Located on Lane 248, Taikang Lu (enter from Lane 210), Vervia is apparently a merchant of furniture, fashion accessories, homeware and decorative items. Should you be in the area this Saturday arvo, how can you refuse free booze? I’ll be making a bee-line for it!

ASIAXPAT CHAMPAGNE MIXER: 1 FEBRUARY

Asiaxpat.com will hold its next ‘champagne mixer’ fron 8-11pm on 1 February at Jade on 36 (Shangri-La Hotel Pudong, Tower 2, 36/f). During this time all champagne and martinis will be buy one, get one free. Despite this being a pricier mixer than most, it always gets a good crowd and is worth checking out at least once. If you’re worried about knocking back the drinks too quickly, better first have a few happy hour pints at the Blue Frog nearby.

BAR INFO

Heading anytime soon to Beijing? Don’t know where to drink apart from Maggie’s? No worries, me old China, help is at hand. Check out : http://www.beijingboyce.com. There’s a website and you can sign up for free fortnightly newsletters, each the length of an Oxford Dictionary. Jimbo has traipsed around the traps for a good while now, so you won’t be led astray (but if that’s what you’re seeking, just ask). Pass on the word to any friends/colleagues/others who may be Beijing-bound too.

RANDOM RECOMMENDATIONS

Best mashed potato: Dublin Exchange (Level 2, HSBC Building, Lujiazui)

Best long island iced tea: Sasha’s (Hengshan/ Dongping corner)

Bar with the best view: Jade on 36, Shangri-La Hotel, Pudong

Best pint of Guinness: Blarney Stone (5c Dongping Road)

Best mojito: El Cubano (Hongmei Road, just nth of Yan’an intersection)

Bar with the best loo: (Sorry, haven’t got to the bottom of it yet)

Best bar music: Great older rock videos at Woodstock (Tongren Rd) on Fri/Sat

Best uniforms: Hooters

Best value wine tastings: Any Summergate event

Most educational wine tastings: Any Ruby Red event – www.rubyred.co.nz

Best place for a drinking holiday: The Philippines

AUSSIE DRINKS EVERY FRIDAY AT THE XINGGUO RADISSON

The Australian Chamber of Commerce (‘Austcham’) holds a weekly social drinks function (only Aussies can tolerate a weekly official piss-up) at the Xingguo Radisson Plaza Hotel (78 Xingguo Road, corner of Huashan Road) in their level 1 Tavern Bar. The fun starts at 6pm and usually winds up about 10. Apart from food on offer, there are some good drink specials: Fosters Ice and Shanghai Dragon beer is just RMB10; spirits with mixers are just a snip at RMB25; juices are sacrificed at only RMB15, with Aussie wine at RMB35/glass (often Eaglehawk). For non-conformers and wusses who want to sip on a soft drink, it’ll set you back a whopping 5-10RMB, but if you take this teetotaller path, be prepared for your photo to be shown in every gutter rag from Dalian to Devonport.

As 26th January is Australia Day (Australia’s national day), many Aussies will be out on a bender tonight. Small-scale Aussie parties are scheduled for tonight at Koala Bar, Malones and Eager Beaver.

Just a few more things to note on Australia Day:

Skippy, the bush kangaroo: the name of a famous TV series in Oz 30+ years ago

Skippy, the butch kangaroo: maybe found at Club Deep in Jing An Park

Skippy, the butchered kangaroo: in the kitchen at Laris

Skippy, the pushed kangaroo: is that Mat?

HEARD THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE

Not much juicy ‘goss’ this week, but here are a few tidbits:

1) Two days after sampling Freelance’s taco special and writing the above report, a reliable snout informs me that the place is about to go belly up. Thanks, BB.

2) Eduardo Vegas is seriously considering taking over 5 on the Bund, after 239 (his restaurant at 239 Shimen Yi Lu) was recently abandoned due to landlord problems.

3) Castle October, a colossal Paulaner-type complex opposite O’Malleys on Taojiang Lu, is almost ready for its soft opening. The drum is that their rent is 350,000RMB per month and it has a Korean brewmeister. More juicy info to follow soon 9 (and you thought CSI was hard to watch!) 

HAPPY DRINKING!

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