Zhang Yuan, 99 Taixing Lu, Shanghai, China
Tel: +86 (0)21 6217 0189
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Tue-Thu 6pm-1am; Fri-Sat 6pm-2am; Sun 6pm-1am
Door: Open door
Style: Cocktail bar
Recommended for: Alfresco, Cocktails
Price guide: Middling
Food: Bar snacks
Images By: diffordsguide.com
One of a cluster of cool bars in Zhang Yuan, a pleasingly low-rise development off the refreshingly old school Taixing Lu, Starling delivers an extremely adult version of tropical. Watercolours of tropical birds, orchid-shaped ceiling fans, mismatched prints, funky tiles, rattan, cast iron and pot plants create a cool, airy and thoroughly 21st century take on your colonial great-aunt's living room.
Bar manager Daniel An's menu takes classic cocktails to South-East Asia and puts them through a similar wringer. A Pineapple Old-Fashioned blends pineapple-infused aged rum, vanilla syrup and bitters to great effect - there's only the tiniest hint of pineapple on the nose plus extra aromatics on the palate - and a dehydrated orange garnish adds a tingle. The Piña Colada goes to Thailand and acquires some tom yam spice; the Clover Club heads all over the map with bourbon and galingale; and the Collins grows up with pandan leaf.
Starling is at ground level, and tables on the terrace outside make a great location to start an evening.