The Ultimate Gay Travel Guide
The Gay Passport is your complete Gay Travel Guide. Looking to Drink, Play or Sleep we have reviews to help. Award-winning & Updated 2023.
Shanghai is miles ahead of any other city in mainland China in terms of gay nightlife, though it still lags behind other Asian cities like Bangkok. There are a few great gay bars and clubs, plenty of gay-friendly mixed venues, and a strong local gay community that frequents them.
Whilst not really a “Gay Area”, the hub of gay Shanghai is located in the Changing district, albeit at the very edge of it, next to the French Concession area. This makes it very easy to mix gay and straight bars on a night out, which is particularly handy if you are traveling with straight friends. Gay-friendly mixed bars in the area include Smash and DADA. A bit further north in Jing’an, Roxie is one of the city’s only lesbian bars, and welcomes everyone.
A few iconic gay Shanghai venues in Changing recently shut down, such as the large PinkHome complex and its disco Club Deep. Other popular spots like Eddy’s Bar, G8, Asia Blue, and D2 have either reopened with another identity or closed altogether.
However, plenty of options remain, many of them grouped close together. Happiness 42 (formerly Shanghai Studio) is one of the most popular places for a drink and a dance on Friday nights, and is located next to H42 gay sauna. Lucca 390 is quiet and friendly during the day and on weeknights, turning into a popular club night on weekends: expect a young crowd with plenty of foreigners. Upstairs, British-themed Telephone 6 has great decor and cocktails, as well as private rooms available. RICE bar, located a few blocks away, is a relaxed Japanese-style bar that is good for meeting new people, both local and foreign.
A short walk away, closer to the French Concession, Lollipop Bar & Lounge offers sleek designer surroundings, top-notch cocktails, and an eclectic playlist, tailor-made for conversation. Come on a Thursday to be served by their resident topless model bartender.
In the Northernmost part of Jing’an, you will find Bandai Namco Shanghai Base, a massive concert venue that is home to most ANGEL parties. These are the closest to a gay megaclub experience you will get in Shanghai, with legendary parties hosted year-long featuring international DJ’s, dancers, and state-of-the-art lighting and effects. Check out ANGEL’s social media to find out about their events, and try to hit up one of their HEAVEN parties during your stay.
For a more unique and subdued experience, head to the slightly run-down Lai Lai Dance Hall in the northeastern Hongkou district. A longstanding refuge for the city’s closeted gay scene, this is not so much a club as a place for older men – many married – to be themselves and dance to Chinese pop tunes for a bit. Foreigners are welcome – and will be probably asked to dance – but you should be respectful of the vibe.
Lucca 390 Cafe and Lounge is Shanghai’s best and most popular among gay travelers and local guys. It’s located in the middle of Shanghai’s gayborhood on Panyu Road which is near Fahuazhen Rd in Changning District. Lucca 390 offers drag shows, live music, special party events, and including muscle boy bar men.
On weeknights and during the day, Lucca 390 is a laid-back bar with a great selection of freshly made food and drinks. But on weekends, it becomes the city’s gay hotspot with themed parties and international DJs catering to a mixed crowd of local and foreign men. Shanghai’s best gay bar & dance club opens daily from 8 pm to 2 am.
It is where men throw hungry eyes at each other in the circular bar room and take off their shirts in the adjoining dance area. Lucca 390 offers a small, cruisey upstairs area with seats, but you won’t find too many people chilling up there since it’s small. They also have a long booth area between the bar and a dancefloor where guys are waiting for their lost boyfriends.
Music: EDM and techno beat on Friday and Saturday nights, but a significantly more chilled-out vibe on weeknights.
Crowd: A mixed crowd of local men and tourists, mostly in their 20s and 30s.
Lollipop Bar & Lounge | Shanghai’s Famous Gay Cocktail Bar & Pub
Shanghai’s famous gay-friendly bar, Lollipop Bar and Lounge is one of the must-try bars. The bar is located on Tai’an Rd, Changning District offers a contemporary vibe, upscale lounge bar, designed for mingling and make a conversation. Lollipop Bar & Lounge opens daily from 7:30 pm to 3 am. Despite the sweet and colorful name, the decor is sleek, muted, and modern.
The drinks list is extensive and reasonably priced, with a good selection of house cocktails. Cocktails are really well-made, very special, tasty and unique. It’s a real bar, so it’s not too loud. Easy to sit, talk, and relax.
Music: Mostly crowd-pleasing pop, with some R&B, dance, and jazz is thrown in the mix.
Crowd: Trendy and slightly upmarket, mostly young urban professionals.
Try Their Signature Cocktail “Lollipop”
Shanghai’s Upscale Gay Bar for Low-Key Drinks
Rice Bar, a small and popular gay lounge & bar on Fahuazhen Lu. RICE Bar is one of Shanghai’s longest-running gay bars & restaurants. It is a Japanese-themed lounge with cool simple decor and a laid-back vibe. Just a bar, a few couches, a TV, and a fish tank. Drinks average around 50rmb.
Come here for a few drinks before heading out to more dance clubs & bars nearby such as Lucca 390, Telephone 6, and Happiness 42, or settle in on the couch for an evening of conversation. They’ve got a good reputation for their friendly staff here.
Music: Expect some chilled background tunes which make Rice Bar a perfect place to meet friends and make a conversation.
Crowd: Good mix of local guys, expats, and tourists. The crowd is mostly young and trendy, but a few older veterans are also common.