Wednesday, 11 September 2013

La Petanque

Some old souls call Shanghai "Paris of the Orient".

While nowadays you'd be better calling it "The NYmeetsLAasdepictedinBladeRunner of China" (doesn't quite have that same ring to it), one thing is true: this city is overrun with Frenchies.

Now, I'm not complaining - they are generally easy on the eye and bring a flair of chic bohème to the (few) bars they frequent. But there are a fair few of them and they tend to keep to themselves - when hanging out at one of their haunts, you can often feel like an awkward new kid who's trying to crack into an already-intimate group of friends at a house party.

With this past weekend, the cool crowd can add another bar to their short list with the opening of the new bar from the Cafe des Stagiaires team - La Pétanque.

(I'm not sure if they're spelling it with the pretentious little accent my iPhone keeps giving it - making me look like a bit of an ass in texts - but it kind of makes sense considering the demographic).



This new spot seems to be the older sibling to the Cafe des Stag series scattered around town - it is set up like someone's living room, complete with a kitchen island for a bar (perhaps better in theory than in practice), artwork dotting the walls, and a large living room-like lounge area. It seems more ripe for a boozy brunch than happy hour, and so somehow much more inclusive, like you're just having un petit verre de quelque chose at your terribly chic French friend's flat.



Please note Mr. Tour de Fripster (French hipster, DUH) at the fore.

The foremost appeal and apparent pièce de résistance of the bar is the pétanque court ("lawn"? "alley"?) that runs along its front windows. Unfortunately, I think this is again a case of theory vs practice, as not only does it remove valuable floor space, especially within such a fantastic glassed-in area, but I couldn't even capture a picture of the court/lawn/alley/situation as I was trying to avoid boules being thrown at my head by some screaming children. I dread to think what their drunken parents will do.

With its namesake as an exception, La Petanque is merveilleux - their drink deals are pretty unbeatable, with house wine for 20 rmb and pastis for a dangerous 10, and their menu of small plates (geo-confusingly referred to as tapas) just as reasonable. They also seem to have lunch sets and dinner-time bistro fare.


So come down, and actually join the party -

This enfant terrible is all growed up.


La Petanque
139 Tai'an Lu, near Huashan Lu
Shanghai Library

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