American Bartender in Shanghai
By Logan B.
Ever wanted to know what a pinball feels like when it's drank a bottle of counterfeit Macallan 12 and spent the last 6 hours bouncing from massive club to massive club in the hot humid neon filled arcade of a world that is Shanghai? Well follow along with us as we hit the clubs in Puxing, Metrowize style and you too can find out for yourself.
As a wandering rapscallion and part time trouble maker I've always been drawn to dive bars and bottles drank en out of brown paper bags, in the name of science though and for Metrowizes virtue I dared to subject myself to the night club scene in Shanghai, to discover how they do in this part of the world - what follows is an ear drum shattering oddessy of excess, betelnut, short shorts and ultimately Shailong Bao.
China, is over the top - its a mixture of two parts free range capitalism and 1 part communism with some expats thrown in the mix shaken and served neat in a rocks glass with a Tsing Tao chaser - which means, things don't end here - they just go on forever. I found this out first hand when I stepped into my first night club, Muse 2 - it's in the heart of downtown, in Hong Kong tower which is part high end shopping mall and part portal to la la land.
It's packed inside, the Dj's playing nothing but American hits, Jay Z, Biggie Smalls, Lady Gaga the normal club bangers on a massive system that just bleeds bass. I'm not sure if the club is free or not to get in, as a foreigner I find I can just waltz into most places - pretty casually as well. There are pretty women all over the world, beautiful women in some parts and absolutely stunning ones in Shanghai and since it's summer time they've all taken to wearing short shorts, short skirts and mostly follow a less is more attitude with clothing which is exactly the right attitude. The place is chock full of these signature stunners, a smile on my face and blood being preparing itself to meet with a high alcohol content.
The big thing in the clubs is bottle service presented at your table - which I had arranged before hand - the good thing is the exchange rate is 1 US to basically 7 RMB so a bottle of Ketel One runs around 800 RMB which is a little over 100 US not bad at all for a bottle of booze in a hot night club. The cool thing is that at the clubs they'll have performers do live dance routines to some of the songs - or someone will come out and rap to a hip hop song, all sorts of entertaining things. On top of that they constantly bring you out fruit plates.
Now, I arrived at the club with one of my Bartenders, Gold, who was to serve as my trusted guide for the duration of the nights festivities. We showed up around 12 am and the place was packed - in a city of over 22 million everything is usually packed, this is a good thing.
At our table they bring our bottle, 6 or 7 cans of Red Bull the Chinese version which is a smaller can, no carbonation and from the little chinese I understand is made with Bull Piss - which I hoping is what I heard because otherwise it's made with a part of the bull which doesn't belong in polite conversation. We start dowing the bottle, people join us, people leave, I find myself happy that the locals haven't yet discovered Ecstasy because I just don't what the effect would be on this many people in a club - what they have though is something called Betelnut. As a side note, I've only read about Betelnut in books and on the web - I've always wanted to try it, I've been waiting for this moment of betelnut discovery since I came to China, that it's finally happened has sent me into shock and awe.
Betelnut is some sort of nut that you put in the side of your mouth and chew on it as you drink, it keeps you from getting wasted no matter how much you drink - you're buzzed but you can down a few bottles and still be ok - it a wonder stimulant, it's legal in China (not the US) and like everything else out here, it's out of control. It give you an energy boost like caffeine but the down side is that it turns your teeth black after awhile. Needless to say, I'm investing in a teeth whitening session when I get back to the States.
With our new found Betelnut powers we left Muse 2 and went to Rich Baby, walking distance, louder bass, more beautiful women lots of singing dudes and this time at our table, fake macallan 12 and dice. There's a drinking game they play all over the place here called Liars Dice, I've seen it in the KTV's, I've seen it at Cafes - basically anywhere there is liquor there are dice and a cup. The gist is you shake a cup with 5 die in it and your opponent does the same, you then try to out bluff your opponent by saying you have a better hand - I didn't get all the rules because I was drunk - but that's the main idea - it's a drinking game so the loser has to drink, heavily.