Shanghai’s sochu lovers have long been guarding their much treasured serect – Mokkos. This tiny neighborhood bar is not the only place in town that offers a large selection of sochu, but it is definitely the most down-to-earth one, attracting an international crowd instead of seasoned Japanese aficionados. The only thing is it’s so tiny that you often have to wait for a seat when it’s busy; but now comes the alternative, Jiao Bar (if you're wondering about ther name, 'Jiao' means 'to mix' in Chinese.)
This new venue near the Bund is opened to accommodate more sochu lovers (as a matter of fact, the owner told us Mokkos would have a major change in its drink list). It’s much bigger in size, but the atmosphere is warm and relaxed as you remember it. A U-shaped wooden bar table takes the center, with plenty of tables spread out and three cozy tatami rooms hidden at the back. You’ll find two familiar faces behind the bar – cool-looking owner Eiichi Murakami and the ever-smiling Chinese male bartender from Mokkos.
The range of Japanese sochu here is not as wide as Mokkos at the moment, but Murakami says there will be more. Grab one of the menus (made from children’s cartoon books – cute!), and pick your favorite for order. Don’t hesitate to ask for advice if you are a sochu newbie; the staff will ask you a few questions before open a few bottles for you to smell and decide. You can choose to drink it neat, on the rocks or with hot water. Soon you’ll be coming back for more before you know it. – Stella Shu