New Club in Shanghai: Celia


The dingy benches had barely been emptied out of LOgO when an announcement came that a club called Celia was opening in its place, following a few weeks of remodeling. Afterhours stalwart Amber Lounge had also just shuttered, so the owners’ decision to position Celia as an afterhours club seemed a savvy one.

It was never quite clear why LOgO always struggled to fill its dance floor, but one thing both LOgO and Amber had in common was that their staff made you feel like they both didn’t want you there and couldn’t understand why on earth you’d want to be there.

Celia, which was named in honor of a co-owner’s girlfriend following her untimely passing, doesn’t have this problem. From the sunny bouncer who opens the door and welcomes you to the friendly attendant in the bathroom, everybody seems thrilled about your existence, and these little details count.

Celia’s spiritual predecessor is Amber, however, and if you show up at 12:00AM, you’ll find a mostly empty dance floor, but 3:30AM on a recent Saturday offered a lively, if not completely full, room of enthusiastic dancers who didn’t seem to be on the prowl despite the late hour. Run by a group of longstanding local DJs like Jasmine Li, the music is a mix of dance floor-friendly techno and tech-house.

Standard drinks are RMB50, which is not cheap but is becoming the new normal; they are served strong in large glasses. Cocktails priced at RMB70 are decent enough, especially the appropriately named Kiss in the Dark with gin, cherry brandy and vermouth. Shots will run you RMB40.

During our most recent visit, when the lights turned a grim red and the beat dropped evilly, we could have sworn we were in Amber, but despite the easy comparisons, Celia feels incredibly different than either Amber or LOgO thanks to both its friendlier staff and less creepy clientele. It may, in that case, fare better.