Shanghai nightlife is sprinkled with homeless children and hunchback grannies who linger in the shadows of pricy venues and beg for a few bucks from drunken tourists and expats.


At night, the lights on The Bund illuminate Shanghai’s famous Pudong skyline. Exploring the city’s nightlife is like déjà vu. With each new venue, I think to myself, “Wait…this is just like New York. Did I really fly half way around the world?”

Windows Too is a meat market with a dirty dance floor bar and cheap beer. The terrace at Attica, one Shanghai’s more exclusive clubs, is rimmed with sleek, cozy sofas and an incredible view of the Huangpu River. Bon Bon is an all-you-can-drink debacle. For a ¥100 cover, liquor is on the house all night, every night.

The guidebooks do a great job highlighting these hot spots to foreigners who can afford the pricey cover charges and alcoholic beverages. What the books don’t mention are the hordes of children beggars and hunchback grannies who linger in the shadows of these venues. They wait patiently for foreigners to pat their bellies and leave these upscale shindigs before they emerge from the darkness to shake their dirty woven baskets for a kuai or two.

Monica reflects on her travels by sharing her thoughts on A Cup of Moca. She writes about her journey as she experiences the destination to encourage others to marinate in the moment instead of just checking things off a bucket list.