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Broaden your horizons with a relaxing drink
By Gao Ceng

FROM the illuminated classic facade of the Bund, to the stunning post-modern Pudong skyline, Shanghai - the city that never sleeps - reveals its multiple characters at night; at once classical and modern, nostalgic and vibrant.

And what better way to appreciate the city's breath-taking night skyline than accompanied with a lovingly crafted cocktail.

Here are our picks of the hotel bars in Shanghai with the best city view, together with distinctive drinks expressing an Oriental character and stunning entertainment.

Sir Elly's Terrace (Pic A)

This open terrace bar, located on the rooftop of The Peninsula Shanghai, offers a relaxed, contemporary setting with an elegant touch, evident in everything from its modern red sofas to the exclusive wine list with strong Peninsula character.

The 14th floor vantage point provides panoramic views that are not too far away. Customers can take in the whole river view, from the 100-year-old Garden Bridge in the north to the Lujiazui skyline opposite.

Opening is dependent on the weather, with the terrace closed on rainy days. Seats are available at first-come-first-served basis and customers are reminded to wrap up well this time of year as it can get chilly out there.

When and where to see the best view: October and early November, 7-10pm; Sit at the 8-meter-long bar for a fine view of the river.

Signature cocktail: Sir Elly's, named after Sir Elly Kadoorie, founder of the Peninsula hotel group and a well-known Shanghai and Hong Kong businessman between the late 19th century and mid 20th century.

Star bartender: Dexter, a sunny bartender good at creating cool and refreshing drinks.

Wine list highlights: The hotel, working with some top vineyards, has launched its own brand wines, exclusively available at its restaurant and bar.

Must-see view inside the bar: The 8-meter bar.

Must-try entertainment: Sunset party. Guests can buy one drink and get one free (limited in specified cocktail and beer) plus a complimentary snack (not available in winter).

Valuable bar experience: Order the Peninsular customized wine.

Address: 14/F, The Peninsula Shanghai, 32 Zhongshan Rd E1

Opening hours: Monday-Thursday, Sunday, 5pm-12pm; Friday-Saturday, 5pm-1am (depending on the weather)

The 92nd Floor Bars (Pic B)

The name indicates that it's quite possibly the highest bar in Shanghai, providing a distinctive perch overlooking the whole city, divided by the Huangpu River.

The floor is separated into two areas, each with a different concept and ambience: the Music Room is a contemporary Western bar featuring resident DJ and creative cocktails; the Shanghai Lounge is cozy and Oriental, with Chinese red leather decorating a complete wall and serving up baijiu (Chinese distilled rice liquor).

When and where to see the best view: Booth tables in the Music Room offer the bestview of Puxi.

Signature cocktail: Ginger Pina Mojito, in which Cuban rum is infused with raw ginger for a fortnight before it's being combined with fresh roasted pineapple, lime and mint. The ginger flavor provides a warm touch on a cold winter's evening.

Carson Xie is good at using natural and seasonal ingredients to balance flavors and keep the drinks interesting and innovative.

Wine list highlights: Biodynamic wines account for almost 75 percent of the wine list, which also shows the sommelier's preference for low-yield varieties.

Must-see view inside the bar: The bar ceiling, features an artwork by Chinese artist Liu Jianhua composed of objects used by locals in the 1980s - such as a cup and hot water bottle. It is intended to convey happiness.

Must-try entertainment: GMac Duo Band, a rock band who play every Monday and Tuesday.

Valuable bar experience: Ladies Night held every Wednesday, from 8:30pm to 10:30pm. Every female customer is given free flow of sparkling wine.

Address: 92/F, Park Hyatt Shanghai, 100 Century Ave

Opening hours: Monday-Friday, 8pm-1am; Saturday, 8pm-2am

789 Nanjing Lu Bar+Lounge (Pic C)

The bar, located at the 65th floor of Le Royal Méridien Shanghai, has the highest view in Puxi with 360-degree view overlooking central Shanghai. Its left wing features the view of the People's Square while its right side provides the view of the Bund and Lujiazui skyline. Live jazz performances launched recently add to the relaxed ambience.

When and where to see the best view: Early evening, 6pm-7pm or after 9pm; Two sofa seats close to the French window.

Signature cocktail: Shangpolitan, the latest creation of bar manager Leo Capispisan. The cocktail, made from fresh watermelon puree and cranberry juice, has a subtle pink color and a fruity flavor. As a special offer, customers carrying a copy of the November MICE supplement can enjoy a free Shangpolitan.

Star bartender: Leo Capispisan, good at bringing alcohol and juice together in a sophisticated way.

Wine list highlights: The bar offers a sophisticated wine global list, says Fabien Martinez, the food and beverage director at the hotel. The list is balanced, embracing both the famous name and some unknown vineyards with high quality. Wine from China's Grace Vineyard is a must try.

Must-see view inside the bar: A decorative wall with a big collection of glass artwork.

Must-try entertainment: A live performance by French jazz singer Jessica Maurer, known for her wide vocal range and rhythmic charm.

Valuable bar experience: Daily happy hours from 5pm to 7pm, buy one drink and get one free.

Address: 65/F, Le Royal Méridien Shanghai, 789 Nanjing Rd E.

Opening hours: Monday-Thursday, 5pm-1am; Friday-Saturday, 5pm-2am; Sunday, 3pm-1am

JZ Lounge (Pic D)

JZ Lounge, the rooftop bar of Renaissance Shanghai Yu Garden Hotel, has a distinctive view embracing traditional and modern, Oriental and Western. On one side is the night-lit Yuyuan Garden, featuring architecture from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644); on the other are lines of modern skyscrapers. The bar is one of a few in Shanghai with daily live entertainment, featuring different jazz bands.

When and where to see the best view: From late evening to midnight. The window seats and sofa seats on terrace are popular.

Signature cocktail: Yujito, a localized mojito. More syrup is added in to soften the strong character of the alcohol and cater for local palates which prefer sweeter drinks.

Star bartender: Anson Chen, a bartender known for his caring service with personal touch.

Wine list highlights: Wines on the list are dominated by New World style - easy drinking and also affordable.

Must-see view inside the bar: A decorative wall in the wine cellar displaying colorful glass works of art by European artist Borek Sipek.

Must-try entertainment: Live jazz shows daily.

Valuable bar experience: The hotel bar doesn't charge service fees.

Address: 22&23/F via 21F, Renaissance Shanghai Yu Garden Hotel, 159 Henan Rd S.

Opening hours: Daily, 8pm-2am

VUE Bar (Pic E)

Appropriately, this bar takes its name from the French word for view, and offers the concept of "a dome inside the living room." Located on the top two levels of Hyatt on the Bund, VUE has an outdoor roof terrace with four sun loungers placed around a centerpiece marble whirlpool bathtub. It's the only bar in Shanghai where patrons can enjoy the breathtaking Bund view while soaking in the bubbles.

The hotel's location and height provide an impressive vista, embracing both Lujiazui and the Bund and a panoramic view of the Huangpu River.

The bar charges 100 yuan (US$16) entrance fee - including a glass of specified drink. Window seats are available at first-come-first-served basis, while the loungers should be booked in advance.

When and where to see the best view: From the four lounging beds at the terrace.

Signature cocktail: VUE Martini. Vodka is used as the base liquor to give a strong taste, while mango puree and lime juice add sweetness and freshness. Fancy Caramel, an Oriental flavored cocktail featuring homemade spicy rum marinated in Sichuan chili, together with a butterscotch liquor.

Star bartender: Clyde Hu is good at making cocktails favored by many female customers, creating refreshing and elegant notes through fruit syrups.

Wine list highlights: The wine list changes seasonally, including affordable yet high quality varieties.

Must-see view inside the bar: The long entry corridor with a decorative feature made from 25,000 wine bottles.

Must-try entertainment: Relax in the whirlpool bath with a glass of champagne.

Valuable bar experience: Ladies night held every Thursday, from 6pm to late night.

Address: 32/F, Hyatt on the Bund Hotel Shanghai, 199 Huangpu Rd

Opening hours: Sunday-Thursday, 6pm-1am; Friday-Saturday,6pm-2am

Customer Service: (86-21) 52920164