432 Shaanxi South Road, (Near Fuxing Middle Road), Shanghai, China
Tel: +86 (0)21 3368 86108
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Mon-Sun 7pm-2am
Door: Make reservation
Recommended for: Cocktails
Price guide: Middling
Food: Bar nibbles
Images By: diffordsguide.com
Aware that Flask is entered through a vintage Coca-Cola vending machine in what appears to be a sandwich store undergoing refurbishment, I confidently approached a shuttered plywood building next door. Don't do this. It is, in fact, an actual building site.
The entrance to Flask is, in fact, a splendidly empty glazed space, with a retro Coca-Cola vending machine in the corner that's so convincing one forgets it's a door until one of the hosts opens it. From here, a narrow brick passageway - look away now, fire safety nerds! -- opens into a cool geometric space decked out with a wall of demijohns, plus abstract art and musical instruments.
The city's international bar scene means it can be easy, in Shanghai speakeasies, to forget you're actually in China. Not here. Bartenders use ingredients like chrysanthemum infusions, sour plum, jujube and osmanthus flower "wine" to create a distinctively Chinese edge. A Vesper, with gin, vodka, Lillet and osmanthus wine, proved there's much, much more to Flask than a quirky entrance routine and a bunch of publicity.