Let’s start this list with a touch of class; the city’s premier jazz club is also a great place to wet your whistle. Any night’s a good night for a drop, but for the best experience you need to be there on a Saturday when they have a group of hepcats on stage making sweet music together while you immerse yourself in a bit of classic cool.
Recommended drink: Old Fashioned


Trying to do cocktails on a budget? A la carte cocktails will still set you back a little bit, but stopping by Misato on a Sunday, Monday or Tuesday night, when they’re offering their 98RMB all-you-can-drink special, will allow you to sample as much of their ever-expanding drink menu as your liver can handle. Of course, all that sampling will only happen if you don’t fall in love with what might possibly be the best mojito around.
Recommended drink: Mojito


J and You’s bar counter always reminds us of the bar from the Shining, but that’s not because it’s scary; it’s because with its intimate stylings, we feel like we’ve always been drinking here. If you’re lucky, the man himself, J, will make your cocktail, but all the staff can mix a mean drink. This place does all the classics right, but if you’re not trying any of their signature cocktails, like the Terracotta Warrior (possibly the only palatable way to drink baijiu), you’re doing it wrong.
Recommended drink: Apple Pie


If you’re in the southwesterly portions of the city, it’s hard to find better mixologists than the ones at T-Lounge. Their bartenders were shipped in from Shanghai, and the slower pace of life here must be helping them focus extra hard on making a great drink. This is a place more aimed at the upper crust of the population, but if you’re living in Gaoxin you’re probably one of them, and all your hard work making that cheddar is going to work up a thirst only a T-Lounge cocktail can quench.
Recommended drink: Tom Collins


A lot of people would assume that a bar in a five-star hotel would be stuffy, but Mix is anything but. Sports playing on TVs, a pool table in the back, a great patio and a well-stocked bar make for a wonderful atmosphere, and the cocktails are top-notch while remaining affordable. You really can’t go wrong with any of their menu offerings, but depending on who’s behind the bar, you might be in for a few tasty surprises.
Recommended drink: Chamomile Mule