3, 2, 1 – Jump! Night-Out in China

2nd November 2018

The pedometer on the health app shows that you have covered a two-digit number of kilometres in the last 24 hours. How is this possible?
Of course we walk a lot in the urban area, but how does this number come about on a Saturday morning?

On the past Saturdays in Ningbo we had already asked ourselves this question twice and found a simple answer: We were dancing!

During the week we discussed and developed strategies and graphic concepts for our practical projects. In the evening on the weekend, we decided to explore the nightlife in the Chinese metropolises Shanghai and Ningbo.

Kick-off of our evening excursions was the impressive metropolis Shanghai, which we had visited on the first weekend as part of a weekend trip. The agony of choice was not long in coming: Which club or bar should we visit? The choice seemed almost endless. In order not to despair completely, we decided to approach the matter in a structured way and looked for bars with particularly good reviews in attractive locations.

A German proverb says “who searches that finds”.
After some search engine queries and browsing through forum entries, we came across a small bar that had made a name for itself as a meeting place for students and young people. The location was also quite promising, as the location was very close to the famous Shanghai skyline. We were not disappointed! The Captains Bar was located on the fifth floor of a rather inconspicuous building and could score with a roof terrace due to its attic location. All well and good, but what could you see if you look over the wooden balustrade into the distance?
I want to tell you: the Shanghai skyline, more beautiful than it could have been from the ground. In a cosy sitting area we ordered some long drinks and tasted local specialities and mixed drinks. The plans for the later club visit were also discussed here in the open air.

Due to good contacts in the local party scene we were able to gain access to a member club in Shanghai’s party district with the help of a promoter.
The MYST Club made a very high-quality impression on us and the differences to the German party scene quickly became apparent. Chinese clubs attach more importance to using the available space for lounges. This means that the dance floor is smaller and the actual group formation and mixing of all party guests is rather missing. The dance floor, which is usually located directly in front of the DJ, is always filled with all guests who have not afforded the luxury of a lounge. The rest of the guests stay among themselves and dance in the lounge. The number of staff in the club is also much higher than in German clubs. Each table has its own waiter, the large lounges even have their own security staff. The party guest looks in vain for several bars, only in the entrance area is a counter. The remaining guests are served and do not have to organize their own drinks.

Back in Ningbo we thought that we had seen everything in terms of “clubbing” and from now on nothing could surprise us anymore.
Of course everything came differently and so we visited the SIRENA Club in the north of Ningbo on Saturday of the second weekend.
Our Chinese friends had used their vitamin B this time and were able to book a lounge at the club for an affordable price. From Germany we were used to the fact that for seats in the club outrageous prices are demanded and you don’t really get anything out of it.
Also here we should be taught better, because we had nine seats and at the beginning two bottles of fine Hennessy Whiskey at our disposal. Our waiter was extremely helpful and even supplied us with fresh fruit, which was nicely prepared and served in small bowls. Perhaps at this point in my report the question arises why we need a lounge at all.
Let me introduce another innovation that we hadn’t seen before in Shanghai:
Imagine a dance floor built to be a kind of raised plateau. One climbs onto the sublime dance floor and experiences his blue or seesawing wonder! The dance floor was sprung and gave way to the jumps of the crowd, so that one felt like on a trampoline.

We asked our Chinese friends to rule out any structural defects. In fact, they confirmed that in Chinese clubs it was common for the dance floor to give way in order to increase the jump height of the Chinese party guests – how crazy is that?!

The evening was of course a complete success, apart from the fact that the high temperature in the club had caused us some trouble, we had a lot of fun, danced extensively and felt at one with the crowd – the desire for another club visit was born!

All good things come in threes! So the following Wednesday we went straight back to a club. This time it was the S86 Club, known beyond the country’s borders, in which many famous EDM DJs of our time had played.

A good Chinese friend could organize free entrance for us through her contacts. It was not the first time that we were admitted for free. The Chinese gave us the feeling every time we visited that they would appreciate our presence very much and this also corresponds to our general perception of the Chinese culture and society. Europeans are welcome and welcomed with open arms and a positive attitude.
In the S86 there was again our new favourite drink black or green tea mixed with Hennessy Whiskey. After a few drinking games in our lounge we euphorizedly populated the dance floor, which fortunately was not as sprung as the dance floor in the Sirena Club. That evening we got even closer to the Chinese than before and had a lot of fun!

A little anecdote at the end: I still don’t know how to sleep in the club. A few Chinese could do it – at 100 dB. If you are now curious, I can only recommend to everyone to dive into the Chinese nightlife on occasion. At this point I would also like to warmly thank all our Chinese friends who made these unforgettable nights even more legendary – you are great!

Thorge Wandrei

Thorge Wandrei

Brand Design B.A.
5. Semester