Yongkang Road: A Closer Look at Shanghai’s Expat Dive Bar Street

This small stretch of street was a low-key neighborhood and wet market (where locals buy veggies, meat, etc.) before it magically transformed into a bustling expat watering hole.

Shanghai.walking tour.day1

One of the first establishments to revamp Shanghai’s expat dive bar street was Sheng Sushi, a California style sushi roll place. Now YongKang Road, referred to as just Yongkang by expats, is like a United Nations of bars. There are distinctly British, French, American, Mexican (ok, well Tex-Mex), Italian and more bars slinging drinks and bites from their respective countries. This street became popular because of its relaxed vibe and cheap prices. It’s refreshing to only pay 6 USD/40 RMB (most times less) for a drink when more often than not you’re shelling out upwards of 11 USD/70 RMB for a cocktail.

It’s a great place to get happy hour drinks or enjoy some weekend day drinking. Most of the bars are pretty small and get filled up quickly so Yongkang is always busier in the warmer months. People spill outside into the streets and to-go drinks are a popular choice. (Shanghai does not have open container laws aka drink all you want in public! All convenience stores also sell alcohol.)

Depending on if you’re ready to rage or if you want a relaxed drink outside, here are the times you should head over to check out these trendy dive bars:

Weekend afternoons: The perfect time for people watching, aggressive bar hoping and making new friends. Shanghai’s expat community is very welcoming so this is also a great place to meet people.

Weekend mornings: Enjoy a coffee while the street is still quiet… Because everyone is hungover from the night before and won’t emerge until early afternoon. Note that bars open around 11am.

Weekday afternoons: This street doesn’t get busy until 6pm on weekdays so if you want to avoid the crowd and have a drink al fresco, this is the best time to venture over.

 Note: The places in this google map might not be represented accurately. 

Now highlighting a few establishments:

A Closer Look at Shanghai’s Expat Dive Bar Street

By Hayo Magazine

This small stretch of street was a low-key neighborhood and wet market (where locals buy veggies, meat, etc.) before it magically transformed into a bustling expat watering hole.

  • Cafe Volcan

    By Hayo Magazine

    They’re open 8am on weekdays and 10am on weekends.

  • The Rooster

    By Hayo Magazine

    Check out the frozen drinks – the mojitos are strong and just what you need on a hot summer day. 

  • Dean’s Bottle Shop

    By Hayo Magazine

    Specialty beer shops.

  • Cheers In

    By Hayo Magazine

    Specialty Beer Shop

  • El Luchador

    By Hayo Magazine

    Get the Coronarita (margarita + Corona) and indulge in their happy hour from 11:30 am to 3:00pm every day.

  • Tap House

    By Hayo Magazine

    The double IPA is my favorite. They also have a delicious chocolate stout and a surprisingly good food menu.

  • Funkadeli

    By Hayo Magazine

    Campari, Campari, Campari. As a big fan of negronis and Campari, I love coming to this bar for a sparkling negroni and Italian aperitivos. 

– Café Volcan: Some of the best coffee in Shanghai. I’m still trying to convince them that they need to do espresso martinis! Their Guatemalan coffee from the Faldas del Volcan estate is their signature. They’re open 8am on weekdays and 10am on weekends.
80 Yongkang Lu

– The Rooster: Check out the frozen drinks – the mojitos are strong and just what you need on a hot summer day. While you’re at it, try the pulled pork sliders. You’ll discover they are insanely delicious –must be the Dr Pepper secret ingredient!
51 Yongkang Lu

– Dean’s Bottle Shop & Cheers In: Specialty beer shops. Maybe you need a few craft roadie beers or just some even cheaper drinks.
40 Yongkang Lu & 25 Yongkang Lu

– El Luchador: Get the Coronarita (margarita + Corona) and indulge in their happy hour from 11:30 am to 3:00pm every day. It’s 125 RMB (20 USD) for all the Coronas and frozen margaritas you can imbibe in.
83 Yongkang Lu

– Tap House: The double IPA is my favorite. They also have a delicious chocolate stout and a surprisingly good food menu. The savory pies are a great pairing with one of their beers. Their second location in Jing’an (10 minute drive north) is a bigger space with a great outdoor terrace and rooftop seating in an open plaza.
74 Yongkang Lu

– Funkadeli: Campari, Campari, Campari. As a big fan of negronis and Campari, I love coming to this bar for a sparkling negroni and Italian aperitivos.
46 Yongkang Lu

Meanwhile on the other side of Yongkang, the west of Xiangyang Road (east side is where the debauchery happens)…

Check out newly opened Singaporean restaurant, Hello Miss Dong, by food blogger The Shanghai Kid. Hungry Lung’s Kitchen serves Western and Asian fare. It’s known for its comfort food and being one of the few places in Shanghai that serves poutine. The laksa is also a star dish. Prices also cannot be beaten.
178 Yongkang Lu & 144 Yongkang Lu

Yongkang cross streets: Yongkang Road and Xiangyang Road near Shaanxi Road metro stop lines 10 and 1

 Photo: Sacaramouchine.

 

 

Alice Hu
Alice Hu

Alice is a Washington, D.C. area native. Having lived in Shanghai, China for four years, she has welcomed many visitors and has a mental rolodex of places to indulge oneself in the ever-changing city. She documents her adventures in Shanghai and Asia on her Instagram @alicehu. Her Shanghai expertise comes from starting and running Shanghai Daily Secret (a lifestyle email newsletter) for two years.

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