Shaoxing Lu

Shaoxing Lu, located in the Former French Concession is synonymous in Shanghai with publishing. Home to a plethora of publishing houses, galleries and teahouses, it is the place to go if you’re seeking an escape from the frantic pace of the city. The area has a young, creative spirit with its trendy boutiques, quirky fashion shops, modern art and photo archives. Before 1949, the road was slum land, but following a renovation project in 1950, the area has been transformed into this delightful, tree-lined strip which is rare to find outside the FFC.

1. Old China Hand Reading Room
Opened by Shanghai photographer and publisher, Deke Erh, this place doubles up as a quaint coffee shop and bookstore in which you can recline in sofas and delve into the expansive book collection. Be aware, however, that books here are mostly in Mandarin. Resembling more of a living room than a bookstore, the Old China Hand Reading Room is a place full of character, where the time will pass quickly if you have a book to get lost in. You can order tea or coffee from RMB 30, and there is a wide selection of alluring-sounding teas on the menu, including honey lemon tea, ice-cream and honeydew tea and herbaceous mint tea.
Old China Hand Reading Room. 27 Shaoxing Lu, near Shanxi Nan Lu. Tel: 6473 2526




2. De Mar Café & Bakery

At De Mar, you can sit at the open-front bar looking out onto the street. Price-wise, this place is cheaper than most places along this road. A good variety of western and eastern foods are offered on the menu. Cakes,
pastries and other delicious treats are also on sale and can be sampled at the front of the shop, as well as afternoon tea. You won’t miss this place as there is a brilliant light-bulb arrangement in the centre of the café, which is guaranteed to catch your eye. There is also, convenient, free Wi-Fi.
De Mar Café & Bakery. 96 Shaoxing Lu, near Shanxi Nan Lu. Tel: 5465 6257
3. Triple Major
Shaoxing Lu is home to the quirky fashion label, Triple Major. It’s not a shop you can easily walk out of, as there are so many displays to hold your attention. Filled with inspiring, colourful and playful fashion pieces, they are all created by a lengthy list of cutting-edge international designers. Inside, you’ll find the ceiling covered in smile balloons, a sock vending machine and designer homeware. Be sure to check out the obscure indie magazines hidden away at the back. 
Triple Major. No. 1, 25 Shaoxing Lu, near Shanxi Nan Lu. Tel 6445 3945
4. Dean’s Bottle Shop
This shop has a huge range of alcohol: vodka, rum and tequila are of course on the shelves, but whisky is also very popular. You can order online or in the shop, and sample the staggering selection of drinks inside. The staff are helpful and above all knowledgeable, so they can confidently guide you through the complicated world of booze. It’s a great hideaway and an alternative place for meeting with clients or friends.
Dean’s Bottle Shop. 37 Shaoxing Lu, near Shanxi Nan Lu. Tel: 5406 1079
5. Girl Nail Lounge
A cute little nail parlour easy to miss as it’s hidden from the main street. This is all part of the charm though,
as there are seats in the open courtyard where you can sit and get your nails painted or choose from the acrylic nail colour wheel. If you fancy a treat, why not pop in here and get yourself and your nails pampered? It’s the perfect location for a bit of T.L.C, and it won’t cost you much either - a basic manicure starts at RMB 30.
They also offer waxing as well as hand and foot spas.  
Girl Nail Lounge. 14 Shaoxing Lu, near Ruijin Er Lu. Tel: 137 0164 0840
6. Handmade Shoes
Whether you’re male or female, if you have trouble finding the perfect shoe, then here is a simple solution for you. You can choose to have shoes made to fit your feet, with fabric, decorations and heels to choose from. There are all manner of shoe-styles in here, from brogues to stilettos. On display, in-store, are a variety of readymade shoes to fuel your inspiration.
Handmade Shoes. 16 Shaoxing Lu, near Ruijin Er Lu. Tel: 152 2140 8251
7. Two Cities Gallery
The name of this gallery is inspired by the Dickensian notion that every city is like a chiaroscuro; it has its dark side and its good side. Two Cities Gallery is holding a brand new exhibition this month, “Tranquillity”, which will showcase Glass Objects by Wan Qin. So be sure to head down to the gallery before 25 June if you have an interest in threedimensional contemporary art.
Two Cities Gallery. 20 Shaoxing Lu, near Ruijin Er Lu. Tel: 5252 1518
8. Shaoxing Park
This social little park is located halfway down Shaoxing road and should be paid a visit to if you’re in the area. Surrounded by magnolia trees, it’s a popular haunt for the local men, who’ll often be seen in the shade of
the trees engrossed in games of mahjong. There are also a number of typically Chinese fitness machines and, on the west-side of the garden, there is a luxurious tea-house.
Shaoxing Park. 62 Shaoxing Road, near Shanxi Lu