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Lan club celebrates 1 year with a lot of rethinking, rejigging

HIGH-END, glamor watering hole and restaurant complex Lan turns one year old this week and is launching a new rooftop bar to celebrate.

Situated in a historic building one block back from the Bund on Guangdong Road, Lan is the premium arm of restaurant powerhouse Zhang Lan's empire, which includes the South Beauty chain of Sichuan restaurants.

Its new rooftop terrace got its first outing for the Shanghai International Film Festival in June, when Lan hosted a party featuring Hollywood luminaries such as Clive Owen and music legend Quincy Jones.

La Terrace has a range of tables and sofas with their own self-contained ice buckets, and a barbecue station.

Lest the neighbors get disturbed, the music is more of the R&B background variety, with the terrace looking to be a pre-party destination until it closes at 2am rather than a raging party spot.

While its latest addition is set to hit its straps over Lan's three-day first anniversary celebrations that kicked off yesterday, tonight Lan will offer various dining specials on each of its floors.

Tomorrow Lan will hold an invite-only party on each floor, with the public being able to join the celebrations on the ground floor from 10pm.

When it opened, Lan's renovation put a heavy emphasis on the local market, with broad expanses of the high-ceiling ground-floor nightclub broken up into numerous private spaces with heavy-latticed partitions.

A year on, Lan has been imploring people to "rediscover Lan," and has overhauled all of its four floors in an effort to discover the winning formula that initially eluded it on opening.

It has been a reinvention with the ground-floor club section first getting the treatment in April.

Its fine dining French restaurant on the fourth floor also came in for some navel-gazing.

Out went the fly-in two-star Michelin consultant, Yves Mattagne, and Lan turned to the services of former Kee Club maestro William Mhai, who has ambitions to make the new incarnation, Papillon, a butterfly that can delicately land a Michelin star rating all of its own.

In the wake of the financial crisis, its exclusivity mantra has also been tempered by a new focus on affordability.

The O Supper Club on second floor sees affordable tapa selections and steamed varieties designed by Mhai and Chinese chef Wu Musheng. The restaurant aims to give diners a reasonable selection of its tapa wares for around 200 yuan (US$29) a diner.

An extensive range of wine at between 50 and 60 yuan a glass is also aimed at attracting a more price-conscious clientele.

Clear direction

Lan's marketing head honcho Eriko Zhao says Lan has spent most of its first year on a journey of self-discovery and has now worked out how to make each of its various food and beverage outlets sing in harmony.

"When we first started, there wasn't really a clear direction for each floor, everything was sort of the same and we didn't give our customers a very clear selection," Zhao says.

"Now, if I wanted to go for a relaxing and affordable dinner, I can choose tapas; if I wanted to have high-end fine dining, I can go to Papillon; and if I don't feel like having those, I can still go for the Chinese," she says.

Lan's rejigged ground-floor club is an effort to capture the young dicing and bottle-buying crowds who have been more inclined to seek their nocturnal inspiration from the Muses and Richy.

While it used to be thought that discreet entrances and private rooms were what the Chinese big spenders wanted, Lan has cottoned on that Shanghai's young and hip have the bling and they certainly are not afraid to flash it.

The private space has been focused on the Chinese restaurant on the third floor, and consumption returns to its more conspicuous nature on the ground-floor nightclub.

The most expensive table in the club is on an elevated stage, all the better for those standing drinkers to notice the year on your whiskey bottle, and the beauty of your companions.

The tables on the upper levels of the club have also been opened up so that they look down onto the action below.

Realizing that the big name visiting DJs are drawing in the crowds, Lan has also started to gear itself up with various top-something international acts slated for the second half of the year.

DJ Mike and his "We Love House" train will be pulling into town to provide the beats for its first anniversary celebrations tomorrow and he will also play on Saturday night. There is a 100-yuan cover.

The first 10 Shanghai Daily readers to arrive with a copy of this story get free admission.

Address: 102 Guangdong Rd

Tel: 6323-8029


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