Step into Shanghai Social Club for a journey out of Allston

Credit: Derek Kouyoumjian

Walking into a really good bar or restaurant is like embarking on a journey. Whether that journey takes you to another time and place altogether, an oasis in which to leave your work day behind, or simply off the gross streets of Allston all depends on the specifics. At Shanghai Social Club, they’re hoping to accomplish all of the above.

“We really wanted to have the music, the lighting and the ambience kind of transport you to another place,” manager Bill Golden explains. “You come in, walk down the stairs, off one of the busiest streets in greater Boston, walk through the authentic Chinese doors, into the nice, deep red lighting, and you start to get transported. Next thing you know you forget where you are, you’re in that time period, that era, place.”

As for whether the restaurant, which opened in August in the old Our House space, actually nails that authenticity is hard to say – I’ve never been to pre-prohibition Shanghai. But one thing it does do is stand out from the glut of standard, fratty bar options nearby, many of which — like The White Horse Tavern, The Avenue, and others — are owned by the same people. “Everything around here is very open, very airy, with windows that open up, TVs everywhere, sports on, that same menu. We’re different than that,” Golden says.

Credit: Derek Kouyoumjian

He’s right about that. The compartmentalized layout of the room — with private dining rooms, tucked away alcoves and lounge seating all bedecked with ornamental Chinese statues, low candle light and sexy ambience to spare — feels much more Back Bay than the collegiate bro-date style most places in the neighborhood adhere to.

That’s exactly the post-college market they want, Golden says. “Up until we opened there weren’t really a lot of places they could go and have a dinner with level of service we’re offering. Same thing with cocktail program. People who have been coming in are a little more sophisticated drinkers than what we see at our other locations.”

What those sophisticates are drinking is a selection of tiki classics, many inspired by the genre’s founding father, Don the Beachcomber – Mai Tais, Fogcutters, Zombies, Painkillers and the like.

Credit: Derek Kouyoumjian

Originals like Foo Dogs Barking — made with bourbon, lime, ginger syrup, Falernum and Angosturra — are boozy, spicy fun, like tiki should be. Options like the Tiki Merchant — made with aged Bols Genever, Ron Zacapa Centenario rum, Lillet Blanc, Lustao sherry and Bittermens Tiki Bitters — show a commitment to constructing a cocktail list with the right building blocks. And, while I wouldn’t rave about this place as top of the line craft tiki joint, there is no denying that its arrival marked a big step up for the neighborhood. That’s a journey of ascension worth starting.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…