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December 30, 2009

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Home » Metro » Entertainment and Culture

Shanghai's bar strip on the way up

THE late-night (and early-morning) Shanghai bar strip infamous for scantily clad bar girls and loud music along Tongren Road has officially ceased to be.

Officials of the Jing'an District government said the area would be redeveloped with upmarket restaurants and facilities but the final plans had not yet been approved.

Bars and pubs at the southern part of the road, near Yan'an Elevated Highway, were told to move when their contracts expired a month ago. All have complied and the area is now a hive of demolition work.

Chen Chang, an official of the district government, confirmed to Shanghai Daily yesterday that top restaurants were earmarked for the area.

"The new area will be designed like a leisure street," Chen said. "The basic plan is complete but we are still negotiating with the developer."

Chen said the Tongren Road bar strip did not mirror the image of neighboring Nanjing Road W. commercial area and cited other, seedier reasons for the closure.

"Pimps and hookers were there every night attracting customers," Chen said.

Also, the bar strip was surrounded by many hotels, "which provided a good environment for prostitution."

These things combined to give the city a bad image, Chen said, pointing out that several consulates were nearby.

The closure of the bar strip has received a mixed response from foreigners and locals.

John Mayall, who comes from the United Kingdom and has lived in Shanghai for six years, said he would have preferred a new-look bar street.

"The city needs a bar street with its unique characteristics, not another restaurant," Mayall said.

Sun Yue, a city white-collar worker, said she would rather go to bars with her friends as they were "more fun" than restaurants. "I loved the Tongren Road bar street and I don't understand why it should be closed," Sun said.

Some residents living near the bar strip disagreed.

"I'm glad to hear the bars are finally closed as they often make a great amount of noise at night," said a 50-year-old resident surnamed Sun, who runs a small bicycle repair shop on Tongren Road.

"I'm expecting to see a more glamorous and 'quiet' type of architecture to match the style of the nearby Shanghai Exhibition Center."


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