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A budget bar for the post-crisis set

NOT Me in Xuhui District has ditched the high-priced table formula. Sam Riley pops in. Despite being set in one of Shanghai's more pricey neighborhoods, the new Xuhui District watering hole Not Me is aiming to attract the budget-conscious crowd with cheap drinks and an indie music focus.

The futuristic-looking bar was the home of a seedy-looking "talking bar" before it was revamped under the ownership of Indonesian owner Sam Liem and his local partner Jacky Shao.

With beers from just 20 yuan (US$2.93) and standard mixes 30 yuan, Shao says the bar has ditched the standard dicing and high-priced table formula of other bars and clubs and is aiming to hook into thrifty post-financial crisis partygoers.

"People who want to go for a party at a bar or club find it is too expensive, so when set up we wanted to provide a different kind of thing from high-priced clubs with expensive entry prices and high charges for tables," he says.

The bar had a soft opening two months ago and held its grand opening party last Friday.

Aiming to fit somewhere in between the bar and the nightclub scene, Shao says they wanted Not Me to feel more like a "party room" than a club or bar.

In keeping with the feel, the bar can be divided into several rooms and its main dance floor area has sleek 1970s style booths and white cocoon-like walls.

"We wanted the dance floor to be big - in other clubs the tables take up all the space," Shao says.

"We also wanted the dance floor area to feel like a cocoon and give it an egg-like feel."

Shao was a customer service manager at the Hilton and he says he met his business partner Liem at the hotel.

The partners had initially wanted to open an Italian restaurant in Xintiandi but saw a gap in the market for a stylish, low-cost bar.

"While it is a very different environment to the Hilton, some of the things are still the same, I still have a focus on customers and service," he says.

"We really want it to be a place that will be full of our friends, where people can come here to enjoy a party and a good atmosphere."

Australian Reggie Laxative or R3 as he is known as a DJ, is the public relations bugle for the bar and has also helped chart its musical course.

With a dedicated indie music night on Thursdays the bar has nailed its indie colors to the mast and hopes to stand out from the house and hip-hop dominated club scene in Shanghai.

With venues like The Shelter showing the benefits of straying off the accepted path of dicing and top 40 hip-hop, Not Me is hoping to meet a growing demand for indie music, which is being fuelled by the resurgent live music scene in Shanghai.

"We think there is a huge gap in the market for this type of indie music, and the live music scene has shown that there is a big demand out there for this," he says.

"We want to help the kids who want to hear something that isn't house or electo."

The bar will feature local DJ duo Bai Jiu Robot with guest DJs on Fridays and will have regular weekly guest DJs.

For the hardy early week drinkers, Monday and Tuesday nights represent thirst quenching value. Mondays is all you can drink for 50 yuan and Tuesdays has 10 yuan beers and standard mixers.

The bar also has an outdoor area and plans to display works from young local artists.

Address: 21 Dongping Rd

Hours: 6pm until late

Reservations: 6433-0760


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