Article By Mike Leaner
Inno Start Up Wonderland, No.18,Gaoxin 1 Road
10:30am – 2:00am
Average Price per Person /人均消费: 120RMB
PROS: Great drinks, selection, service and atmosphere
CONS: You won’t believe me until it happens to you, but their front door is kind of a pain in the ass
Have you ever seen a bar packed on a Tuesday? I mean, I have, but the experience is always something to behold—the sneaking feeling that you’re going to be the only person in the place, drinking hunched over the bar like it’s closing time at the Elks Lodge, only to have your expectations shattered by a room full of revelers. This was almost exactly my experience at Starry Lounge in Gaoxin: expecting one thing, and finding something else entirely.
Located on the so-called “Coffee Street” in Gaoxin (OG laowai might recall this area as the place where the airport shuttle used to stop), Starry Lounge stands proudly in the middle of things, with its sleek black façade. If you can manage to open its gigantic-to-the-point-of-being-unwieldy glass doors, you’ll gain entrance to an intimate barroom awash in mood lighting. That Tuesday in February, the only space for me was at the bar. My love of junk food has greatly increased my ass girth over the last twelve months, so the bar seats were a little narrow for comfort, but anyone who eats right and exercises like a normal person shouldn’t have much of an issue. Otherwise, one of the tables on the barroom floor will do just fine.
I suffered through it though, because I love watching good bartenders work. They’ve got a team of quality booze jockeys behind the bar and, though I was mostly planning on imbibing my way through their list of bourbons (just one section out of their staggering whiskey menu), seeing fragrant, impeccably presented cocktails being made right in front of me eventually caused me to just point at one and shout “GIVE ME ONE OF THOSE!” Though whiskey is the star here, the cocktail menu is super unique—I’d never seen any of cocktails on offer at any other bar in town.
I had planned to come for just one drink, but, like any good bar, Starry Lounge enticed me to stay. The combination of great drinks, good service (including a very friendly bartender who engaged me for a couple of chats) and good atmosphere made the hours slip by. This is the third time this gig has brought me to “Coffee Street,” and so far they’ve all been winners. This is definitely an area to watch—and when you finally make it down, Starry Lounge is a great first stop.
Mike Leaner likes to get dirty but not for free. He can be reached at