Born in Dubai, raised in Mumbai, and now settled in Shanghai, Yohan Kuei has experienced an entire world of wine. The 26-year-old entered the food and beverage business to pay homage to his father, a restauranteur back in India—and despite arriving in China relatively recently, he’s positioned himself perfectly to expand his knowledge on Shanghai’s growing wine bar scene.
While working alongside Camden Hauge, founder of popular brunch spot Egg, to open a pair of sister bars—Bird, a wine bar and a casual dining restaurant, and Bitter, a cocktail bar just across the street—Kuei was exposed to some of Shanghai’s best selections and familiarized himself with the places to get them. Below, the places he recommends for those in search of a more wine-centric world view.
Known best for its by-the-glass options and special wine room decorated with select bottles, Vinism boasts a large selection of wines including orange wine, which can be difficult to hunt down in Shanghai. With a menu oriented towards light snacks and a friendly, bilingual staff, it’s a great choice for dozens of different crowds—cozy first daters, shy out-of-towners, and dedicated wine geeks welcome.
Here, the name alone works like a bat signal for wine lovers. Another European-style pick, the joint is headed by Jasper Sun Xin, a finalist at the 2017 National Chinese Sommelier Competition, and carries bottles from nearly every wine-growing region on earth. Browse their exhaustive wine list while making yourself at home either downstairs in their warm, earthy interior bar or on their rooftop patio upstairs.
Photo courtesy of RAC.
Stop here to treat yourself to something high-end. Even miles away from the continent, Rac channels the atmosphere of a European wine bar. Their massive list of organic and natural wines and French-inspired bites makes this an ideal spot to pour a glass or split a bottle. And if you happen to treat yourself a little too well, worry not—return again in the morning for their popular brunch sesh.
Another name that makes the priority clear—le verre à vin translates to “the wine glass” in English—this spot on Changle Road is a great choice not just for the individual wine lover, but for their entire wine-loving friend group, too. Here, sip wine by the glass or split an entire bottle from their selection, which covers nearly every wine-growing region (and changes daily), and pair your glass (or glasses) with food from the French-inspired menu, which includes dishes like duck confit and foie gras pâté.