Locating your bar on Taikang Lu is a gamble: while heavy foot traffic is assured, there is no guarantee that any of those feet will choose yours from among the crowd of nearby nightspots. So what makes 15 bar stand out?
A delicate and rarely-achieved balancing act: the staff is friendly but cool, the seating is intimate but unpretentious and the seductive ginger cosmopolitans (RMB 55) are potent but smooth. Unfortunately, the space is microscopic: the first floor is all but unusable, while the alarmingly steep spiral staircase leads to a small scattering of simple tables. However, Shanghai is awash in cavernous, lackluster bars. What the city needs most are places which blur the line between 'bar' and 'hangout'.
With its open-use game consoles, projector screen and generally unhurried vibe, 15 Bar fills the void nicely.
Open: Daily 1pm-1am.
Location: Building 15, Lane 248, Taikang Lu, by Sinan Lu
(That's Shanghai February 4, 2008)