Shanghai Bar Review: Perch

By Cristina Ng

After another blazing hot and humid Shanghai summer, we were especially eager to welcome the transition to fall. The problem is that the typically small window of comfortable weather has shrunk even further, with lows hitting below 15-degrees as early as mid-October.

Enter Perch, a small-sized bar with a humongous wraparound terrace (seriously, follow it around the building, you will be surprised how much room there is). On our first visit, we sunk into the cushioned al fresco seats and thought to ourselves, Heres the bar weve looking for all summer.

If the bird-themed name didnt tip you off, Perch has loose ties to The Rooster down the street. While that means some of the key guys are involved, they are going for a different experience. There will be no sports on TV or noisy parties, but there will be after work wind downs and casual catch-ups.

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

An ambitious list of drinks comes from Bryant Bagsiyao (formerly of Dahlia), who is no stranger to playful cocktails. Some of his best here include Grass Stains and London Leaves (both RMB58). Both benefit from herbaceous notes, and the former is an inspired interpretation of the classic smash cocktail featuring gin, basil, cucumber and elderfruit syrup. The other Havana Club 3-year-old rum-based drink is sour from lime and passionfruit oleo with a complex sweetness from green tea syrup and fresh shiso leaf.

Image by Cristina Ng/That's

Spicy options like Ginger Vitus and Phoenix (RMB58) are worth a try. We love frothy cocktails, so the gingery vodka-based beverage with egg white, Sichuan chili, lemongrass and passionfruit is a favorite. Phoenix has a fiery flavor from bell pepper, lemongrass and Sichuan chili that would benefit from switching the tequila for its smokier relative, mezcal.

Need something stronger? Double G (RMB58) delivers both Beefeater and Peddlers gins in a grapefruit, elderflower liqueur, lemon, rosemary and soda-filled goblet. Beer lovers might want to try Shanghai Love beer cocktails, like the Draft Margarita or the Mule (both RMB45) theres also straight-up brews while oenophiles may choose red, white, ros or sparkling wines (from RMB48).

Images by Cristina Ng/That's 

Food is simple but does the trick. We like the House-Cured Salmon Bruschetta (RMB88) with orange, beets and dill sour cream as well as Turmeric-Flavored Hummus (RMB48) served with warm puffy squares of pita.

When it comes down to it, we cant remember the last time we had such pleasant cocktails for under RMB100. Taking that and the friendly neighborhood feel into account, well be back to Perch often, even in winter. Bring a sweater, just in case.

[Cover image by Cristina Ng/That's]

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Perch, Rm 107, 445 Jiangning Lu, by Wuding Lu 445107, .

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