Speak Low’s opening in 2014 by Shingo Gokan is part of the recent wave of speakeasy cocktail bars that has started a couple of years back in Shanghai in response to the trending mixology craze.
Unlike other bars that have used the speakeasy marketing trick without actually designing appealing, quality cocktails, Speak Low has managed to rise in the top 2 in the 50 Best Asian Cocktail Bars this year.
And it’s for a reason.
Each floor at Speak Low has a different concept. While the second floor is a noisy bar with people standing around and a less complex cocktail list that starts at the 70 RMB price point, the third floor is a sit-down, quiet environment where drinks are carefully crafted, for the price of 120 RMB and up. Fourth floor is for club members only and it’s all about whiskey.
My personal favourites on the second floor are the Mar Garita, a beautiful fusion cocktail featuring coriander and Sichuan red chilli powder on the rim of the drink, and the Bloody Mary which is generously seasoned.
As for the third floor I’ve thoroughly enjoyed East of The Sun – a kaffir lime leaf infused Bombay based cocktails which comes with a mortar on the side where you can crush red chilli until you’re happy with the spiciness. I also loved the uniqueness of Nardis, a cocktail made with white truffle and pear-flavored vodka that will keep stimulating your brain’s synapsis until the very last drop.
Though I’m not much of a bourbon person, I appreciate the amazing quality of the oaky Bulleit Bourbon used for Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, a drink that comes with a side of bacon and chocolate and is served while smoke is still trapped in the glass.
Overall, Speak Low deservers its fame, and I’m glad to live just down the street from this heaven of cocktails!
Address: Shanghai, 579 Fuxing Zhong Lu, near Ruijin Er Lu – 复兴中路579号, 近瑞金二路