Like when you visit the rooftop bar in Shanghai with the very best view of the river and Pudong skyline, and get a beautiful clear night with the most amazing sunset. Add amazing personal service (cudos to the staff, not the gods in that case) and you get a feel our experience at TOPS at Banyan Tree was...top!
The luxurious Banyan Tree on the Bund Shanghai is located on the upper part of the Bund area, right by the water, facing a long stretch of the Huangpu River and the Pudong skyline. And this really does wonders for the view up here, as you get the sense of having almost all of the city and all of the river on display right in front of you. Amazing!
That feeling is also helped by the terrace being really open and really long. From end to end it’s a long stretch of walking by (but above) the river. Upon entry at the 13th floor you walk straight into the main part of the terrace, where you find a large and stylish round bar with lots of seating all around it.
The bar is complemented with a mix of bar stools and some lounge sofas with front row seats to the view. But, getting views up here is nothing to worry about, since the open and airy setting means all seats come with grand views.
Past the main area there is also a more private part of the terrace. Divided by a couple of indoor ‘dinner-huts’, the far end part is a smaller version of the main terrace. This part is exclusive to special occasions. Like an engagement party, a birthday dinner or...our visit!
Yup, that’s right, we were lucky enough to be invited to have a 5-course dinner at the private part of the terrace (the rooftop otherwise serves tapas). Starting of with some delicious and cold Prosecco, we sat down in a lounge sofa and just enjoyed the views. And took a lot of photos.
The light this evening made for one of the most ‘easy to get good photos’-sessions ever.
While we were at it with the cameras the staff prepared our dining table. And when finished, the table setting and the scenery together made for an absolutely amazing sight. Hands down probably the most inviting table I have ever seen.
As starter we were served a Foie gras with fig & brioche, followed up by a Seawater cured snow fish and Pan seared Australian Scallop. The foie gras and the scallops were very good, while the snow fish was beautifully presented but the salty stone (we think) almost made it to salty. To go with these dishes we ordered a fantastic bottle of champagne.
The second part of dinner was a Surf & Turf with Australian sirloin and butter poached king prawns, followed by dessert, Chocolate ganache & coconut parfait, all served with a very nice red wine. The Surf & Turf was good but a little bit cold, while the dessert was delicious.
All in all it was an absolutely amazing dinner in the sense of watching the sun go down over Shanghai while being served new and exciting dishes, all presented in a really nice way.
After dinner we headed over to the main area and the bar for some cocktails. A large selection to choose from, we went for Espresso Martinis, Negroni and Old Fashioned. All very well made and nicely served.
If you were to Google service (pro tip: Google does not work in Shanghai), then TOPS should come up in the top 3 listing. From arrival to departure we had the most amazing service. Daniel (bar manager) showed us around and told us about the rooftop, and Geoffrey made sure we had everything we needed doing dinner. Service minded, friendly and everything with a smile. Hats off!
The atmosphere at TOPS rooftop bar is calm and sophisticated. When we arrived at around 6pm the rooftop was almost empty, most likely due to the early hour and the very warm weather. And since we had dinner in the private part of the terrace, the next ouple of hours we had to make our own atmosphere.
But we were a bit surprised heading back to the bar after dinner (around 9.30pm) and find the place still about just half full, Saturday night and all. So really a perfect spot for more intimate gatherings.
We absolutely loved TOPS! It has a real ‘classy’ feel to it, perfect for a romantic cocktail or a relaxed night with friends. And views that are out of this world.
• Best river and skyline views in Shanghai
• Amazing service
• Sophisticated and classy feel
• Great area for private events
• A bit off the beaten track
- Co-founder, Creative & rooftop expert at The Rooftop Guide