Words by Theodora Sutcliffe on 14-Jun-2015
Zhang Yuan, 99 Taixing Road, Shanghai, China
Tel: +86 (0)21 6256 3587
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Mon-Sun 6pm-3am
Door: Open door
Style: Cocktail bar
Recommended for: Cocktails
Price guide: Middling
Food: Bar snacks
From the same successful family as El Coctel, El Ocho sits alongside Starling in Zhang Yuan, but delivers a very different vibe. It's a warren of moody, dimly lit, mirror-lined rooms on the third floor - a pocket-sized terrace caters to smokers - with velvet seats around a sunken bar. Why Ocho? Well, it's Spanish for eight, eight is lucky, and the Chinese are obsessed with lucky numbers.
The menu is heavily classical, divided into Bishops, Flips & Nogs, Old-Fashioneds & Manhattans, Sours & Smashes, Fizzes & Mules, Tiki Gods and Modern, and leads on dark spirits. A Laphroaig Project, a San Francisco creation featuring Green Chartreuse, Falernum, Laphroaig and peach bitters, was complex, accessible and well-made.
Spanish chef Willy Trullas Moreno has been opening rock solid venues in Shanghai since 2007 - that's decades in Shanghai time - and El Ocho is no exception. His Tomatito tapas joint downstairs offers snacking potential and expands the bar snack menu here.