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 2021.
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.