WHILE theaters allow movie-goers to have a snack, none offer proper meals.
These restaurants or bars, however, provide a feast for the stomach while also screening a mix of classic Hollywood or European films that you won’t see at cinemas.
Denim-uniformed waiters move about amid antique iron chairs while bartenders mix imported wines with a secret syrup. Chaplin films are shown on a red brick wall while customers sip dainty cocktails.
This retro bar near Xintiandi is a great place for guests to have a quiet drink with friends.
Taiwan native Sean Wang, managing director of Vivo, chose this quiet place to realize his dream of having his own business.
Wang worked at his uncle’s bar in Taiwan before venturing out on his own.
He is there most days and has made friends with a number of frequent customers.
“Our idea is to make friends with customers. People need to refresh themselves after work, but they might not always choose noisy nightclubs for a casual chat,” Wang says.
“The antique furniture is from England, France and America. This 60-year-old French sofa, the English fluorescent light, the luminaire for marine use, and those rusty iron chairs have been shipped from Taiwan. Most of them are at least 30 years old,” he says.
Each piece of furniture has been selected with pride, and the attention to detail shows Wang cares about his customers.
Imported fine wines are sold at reasonable prices. And their limited-edition beers are strongly recommended, especially the 32 Via Dei Birrai, an Italian craft beer with a fruity flavor. Cocktails like Ms Afternoon, Shanghai sling, crystal Apricot Alexander — a dry martini — and Moscow mule offer a nice kick to start the evening.
Vivo also serves afternoon tea and snacks like strawberry muffins and braised pork rice.
Address: Unit 102, 9 Ji’nan Rd
A sign reading “I am a door, push me” hangs on the door of 1st Season’s. It’s a little bit difficult to find this restaurant, but once you do you will likely not be disappointed.
The restaurant features a European bar, a modern dining room and a garden surrounded by retro buildings.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines find favor with women while male customers often choose Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Manager Rocky Qiao says grappa is another favorite among the 120 Mediterranean wines they serve.
Blue lighting, neat wooden tables and hand-drawn murals create a nice feeling in the dining room while films appear on a wall. Qiao says they mix up the films a fair bit.
“We prefer sports videos in the summer and balmy ones in winter,” he says. “The films are chosen to set the mood.”
On a casual afternoon, customers may see “Ted” while at other times “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is the film of choice.
The open kitchen dishes out a variety of cuisine, including Spanish ham and Australian beef, and curry beef brisket with coconut rice.
The open-air garden features a Brazilian parrot named Carson, the undeniable star of the al fresco area.
Carson is stationed near a French window and will mutter the occasional “hello” at guests.
“But he only speaks when he is in a good mood,” Qiao says.
Address: 739 Dingxi Rd
Le Petit Franck
The horseshoe-shaped French bar/restaurant shows old French films (without soundtrack) in the dim light, making it a perfect place when you are in a nostalgic mood.
The laid-back eatery evokes 1930s-40s New York and the al fresco is a peaceful haven not to be missed.
Customers can refer to the brief menu on a blackboard, or flip over the paper menu that features bistro-style dishes.
Address: 376 Wukang Rd
The chain restaurant is a nice place for family gatherings and dates and has tailored pizzas to suit Chinese customers. The Peking duck pizza is especially popular.
The interior decor is neat with striped pillars and brightly colored bottles on the wooden tables. Old films are shown on the wall and add to the pleasant mood.
Address: Suite 107, Shanghai Centre, 1376 Nanjing Rd W.
Sink into a leather wooden chair, order a decent pasta and catch a black-and-white Italian film from the 1950s.
Most of the films are directed by either Federico Fellini or Luchino Visconti.
Nine small LED screens are used to make one big screen. It also has fantastic views of the Bund.