Words by Theodora Sutcliffe on 15-Jun-2015
86 Xinle Lu, (near Xiangyang Bei Lu), Shanghai, China
Tel: +86 21 5404 0970
Website: Not supplied
Hours: Mon-Sun 7pm-2am
Door: Make reservation
Style: Lounge bar
Recommended for: Cocktails
Price guide: Middling
Food: Bar snacks
Jin Zhonglei (generally known by his Japanese name Kin-San) opened Constellation, his first bar, way back in the year 2000, bringing a dose of Japanese style to Shanghai. Not only is Constellation now the flagship of a substantial bar group, but it's the place where China's cocktail culture began. And, in a city where bars can open and close inside a month, that longevity is no small achievement.
Between the sunken dark wood bar, the leather banquettes, the enormous, leather-bound menu and the whisky selection, Constellation feels pretty Japanese. That's before you get to the loo, where an ultra-modern throne opens its lid as you open the door, and offers services from adjustable washing and drying through to music.
This is a very, very classic bar, with everything from drinks to décor done very well indeed. It might feel a little formulaic, yet it's a formula that's hard to pull off.