Bar Review: UVA

What: An Italian neighbourhood wine bar
Why: You long for an Italian good time without the price tag
How Much: Glasses of wine RMB 35 upwards; bottles around RMB 200; pizzas and pastas around RMB 50; bruschetta RMB 30 upwards
Where: 819 Shaanxi Bei Lu, near Kangding Lu. Tel: 5228 0320

Perhaps the most difficult thing about finding a taste of Italy in Shanghai is that one often ends up paying for a Ferrari when all they want is a Fiat. In answer to this need, pulling up quietly into the Shanghai nightlife scene comes UVA, named after the Italian word for grape. Started by two Italian guys who met in Milan while studying accounting and economics, UVA is their way of escaping the office slave tedium that their choice of major seemed to commit them to. However, the venture isn’t just them “trying something”. Hailing from a family that owns a winery in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy, one of them has a solid understanding of Italian wines, so he’s used his knowledge and connections to solve that ultimate problem when selecting wines: how do you know what’s cheap and good? It seems like he’s got the touch.

A glass of smooth, refreshingly strong Roccastella Montepulciano d’Abruzzo goes for RMB 35. A tipple of sweet Ariona Moscato Spumante goes for just RMB 39. Perhaps best of all is the apertivo deal from Sunday through Thursday where you can get two glasses of selected wine and a cured meat plate, a small serving of Italian beef tenderloin or a pizza – a straight-up real deal pizza, none of that pizzolo nonsense – for a paltry RMB 80.

The décor of the place is “shabby chic” with an Italian twist. Basically, it feels like a worn-in, run down bar that’s somehow, inexplicably clean. Oh, and they’ve got Italian advertisements and movie posters thrown up here and there as well. It is an Italian bar, after all. 

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