The more I drank, the more often I asked myself, ”Wait, didn’t I leave New York already?” Partying in Shanghai was like deja vu even though everything was completely new. It hadn’t hit me yet that I was half way across the world. To me, the distance between point A and point B was just a matter of time.
At night, the lights lit up the infamous Pudong skyline on The Bund. Shanghai’s nightlife reminded me of New York City. Or perhaps every major city’s nightlife is more or less the same. All the girls were dressed in barely-there outfits and overdone makeup. All the guys hovered nearby. Everyone always started out pleasant. But then the liquor kicked in and that’s when the show began. Watching drunk people make a fool of themselves was free entertainment. The best episodes were always on at 4am right outside the bar or club.
Windows Too is a meat market with a budget dance floor bar and cheap beer. And if the pitchers weren’t cheap enough, free drinks were included in the cover charge. The Haagan Daaz right next to the venue was perfect for drunken late night cravings.
Attica is one of the top clubbing destinations in Shanghai. The terrace is rimmed with cozy, sleek sofas with an incredible view overlooking the Huangpu River. Bon Bon is an all-you-can-drink fiasco. For a ¥100 cover charge, liquor was on the house all night, every night.
These were just a few of the hot spots populated throughout Shanghai. But whether it was Windows Too, Attica, Bon Bon, Big Bamboo or Blue Frog, it didn’t matter – different names, same faces. Every bar I went to was a bar listed in one city guide or another. They were all catered to expats and foreigners. Only they could afford the over priced cover charges and alcoholic drinks.
What the city guides don’t mention often enough are the child beggars who target foreigners dining in 5-star restaurants sipping on ¥15 martinis. The average Chinese person doesn’t live this way. When I looked at the clean white faces and the yellow leather skin of the struggling people, I couldn’t help but feel like this was neocolonialism in the flesh.