Add: 99 Yandang Lu
Tel: N/A for the moment
Hours: [Sober Cafe] 8am-1am [Sober Kitchen] 5pm-12am [Sober Society] 7pm-2am
Price: [dishes] 55~190 rmb [cocktails] 85-130 rmb
Visited: Feb 2017
Since opening in 2014, Speak Low has been one of Shanghai’s hottest (+ one of my personal favorite) bars, and its popularity grew even wilder after they won #2 in Asia’s 50 Best Bars last year. In the meanwhile, its owners have been preparing for a grander project – whimsically named “Sober Company” – which soft-opened earlier this month. If you know anything about the team, you’d chuckle at this name…because you know that there is no way you are walking out of here sober.
Speak Low 自 2014 年開幕以來一直是上海最紅（以及我個人很喜歡的）酒吧之一，而在去年得到亞洲 50 Best Bars 第三名後更是一座難求 － 我最近有一次在周四晚上前往，結果直接被擠了出來（明明不是周末…）。在 Speak Low 人氣爆表的同時，老板們在這個月低調地開了家名爲 Sober Company 的新店。Sober 意爲 “清醒的、未醉的”，想想實在是個很幽默的名字…你覺得你來 Speak Low 老板開的店，能夠清醒地走出去？呵呵。
I’m doing a bit of pastry consulting for Sober Company and so was lucky to get a preview of the place before it opened. The location is at the crossroad of Yandang Lu and Nanchang Lu. Its storefront, donned in a charming grayish-blue, reads Sober Café, Sober Kitchen, and Sober Society. That’s right, this place serves more than just alcohol.
This two-storey, New York-inspired establishment is orchestrated by Shingo Gokan, champion of the Bacardi Global Legacy cocktail competition in 2012, as well as the man behind New York’s Angel’s Share for the past 10 years.
打造 Sober 的是自 2012 年得到 Bacardi Global Legacy 調酒大賽冠軍後一炮而紅的日本調酒師 Shingo Gokan 以及他的團隊，店的靈感來自他住了十幾年的紐約。
Let’s first take a look at Sober Café on the first floor. It serves not only the typical espresso, latte, and cappuccino, but also coffee cocktails (Coffee & Tonic, Espresso Martini, Caffe Negroni etc.) and aperitifs (Martini, Vermouth Spritz, Pimm’s Cup etc.), starting at 4pm everyday.
先來看看一樓的 Sober Café。不同于一般的咖啡館，這裏除了有意式濃縮、拿鐵、卡布奇諾等常見款之外，從下午四點開始也提供咖啡調酒 － Coffee & Tonic, Espresso Martini, Caffe Negroni 等，以及 aperitifs 餐前酒 － Martini, Vermouth Spritz, Pimm’s Cup 等。
Coffee at Sober Café is consulted by famed Taiwanese barista Van Lin and should be consistently good. On this afternoon, I went for a double espresso (35 rmb) with a slice of olive oil cake (30 rmb).
Sober Café 的咖啡由台灣名咖啡師林東源做顧問，水准應該會維持的很不錯。這個下午，我點了雙份意式濃縮（35元）搭配一塊橄榄油蛋糕（30元）。
Truth be told, the olive oil cake recipe was developed by me at the request of Sober. I haven’t seen olive oil cakes around Shanghai, though apparently it’s quite a popular item in New York. I can’t say it’s my creation because I simply tried to recreate a cake that Shingo has brought back from New York, and what we came up with is a moist, dense pound cake with an alluring olive oil flavor. Quite tasty, if I dare say so myself ;) I recommend pairing this with a double espresso or Americano.
不瞞你說，這個橄榄油蛋糕是 Sober 請我幫他們研究出來的食譜。橄榄油蛋糕在上海似乎沒有見過，不過聽紐約的朋友說在那裏很受歡迎。後來我根據 Shingo 從紐約帶回來的蛋糕出了食譜，細膩的橄榄油香氣、濕潤濃郁的口感，據說完全就是他想念的口味。建議搭配一杯雙份意式濃縮或者美式咖啡享用 ;)
This is Sober Café’s manager Roger, a Japanese barista who has just moved to Shanghai from Taiwan, where he lived for the past two years. He speaks excellent Chinese and is a really funny guy – strike up a conversation with him and you will see.
這是 Sober Café 的經理 Roger，日本人，曾在台灣住過兩年，中文好得驚人而且說話很有喜感，大家可以找他聊天。
Cappuccino (35 rmb).
And as it gets dark…shall we start with the drinking?
There isn’t really an aperitif culture in Shanghai, though I personally have picked up the habit of sipping a drink or two in the late afternoon, and continuing that during and after dinner (my years in Paris have certainly shaped me well). If you are also the same, then Sober Café would be the perfect place to start drinking, perhaps with a refreshing Vermouth Spritz (55 rmb).
在上海，大部人比較常在吃飯時或飯後喝酒，我自己則是在巴黎時養成了餐前就先開喝這個（不知是好是壞的）習慣。和法國朋友小聚時，經常是先在酒吧喝一杯之後，再去晚餐（繼續喝），再去酒吧（繼續喝）。如果你也和我一樣，那麽不妨先在 Café 來一杯清爽的 Vermouth Spritz（55元）開個味。
I haven’t had a chance to try the food at Sober Café, but the menu is looking very enticing – wagyu teritama burger with beef pâté, terriyaki mayo and fried egg, chicken wings marinated in tamari and gochujang, Japanese fries with yuzu kosho ketchup and miso aoili…In the future, they will also be serving all day breakfast and ice-cream in some pretty wicked flavors, definitely something to look forward to.
目前還沒機會嘗試 Café 的菜單，不過上面的照燒和牛煎蛋漢堡、韓國辣椒醬雞翅、日式柚子胡椒薯條…聽起來都超美味。這裏日後還會推出全天早餐以及風味獨特的霜淇淋，讓人有點期待。
After you are done at Sober Café, there are two options (no, leaving in not one of them) – head to the right for a dinner at Sober Kitchen, or go upstairsfor some (more) drinks at Sober Society .
在 Sober Café 告一個段落後，有兩個選擇 － 從這個樓梯右側的通道去 Sober Kitchen 吃頓飯，或者直接上這個樓梯到 Sober Society 喝杯酒。
Sober Kitchen. The neon chopsticks and Canal Street sign on the wall, the mahjong tiles on the dining tables…Chinese, no doubt.
進入 Sober Kitchen，光看裝潢就可以猜出這裏的料理和中國脫不了關系。牆上有霓虹燈筷子和 Canal Street（紐約華人街）路牌、桌子上還有麻將…
Head Chef Tokuma Ka, second from the right in the photo below, is Taiwan-born, Japan-raised, New York-trained (most recently at Sakamai). His cuisine is “New Chinese”, with sprinklings of Japanese and Western influences here and there. Take a look at the dishes below and you will have an idea.
主廚河得明 Tokumei Ka 是下圖裏右二穿著圍裙的那位。台灣人、日本長大、搬來上海之前在紐約下城有名的 Sakamai 餐廳工作。他做的 “新中式料理” 裏融合了日本以及西式的元素，有自己獨特的味道。
The menu is still relatively short during soft-opening, but more dishes will be added soon, desserts included (Toku and I have been working on a black sesame crème brûlée and an Amaretto panna cotta, which will both be on the menu by next week). For now, let’s try the savories, starting with the Tipsy Shrimp (85 rmb) marinated in Cointreau, tamari (Japanese soy sauce), and Chinese yellow wine – great texture, though flavor-wise it was slightly too salty for my palate.
試營業期間 Sober Kitchen 的菜單僅有十幾個選擇，不過下周應該會再增加，甜點也會陸續出爐（最近我們試做了一個黑芝麻焦糖烤布蕾，可能下周就會推出了）。先嚐了 Tipsy Shrimp 醉半紅蝦（85元），做法是將生的大蝦在君度酒、tamari 日本醬油和黃酒裏腌制。醉蝦的口感Q彈鮮美，不過調味對我來說稍有點鹹。
KFC, or Ka’s Fried Chicken (90 rmb) with harissa soy vinaigrette, garlic chips, and lemon brûlée. This is going to sound a bit cliché, but this fried chicken is indeed nicely crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside. With the harissa soy vinaigrette, perfect.
KFC 河得明雞（90元）：外脆內嫩的炸雞搭配哈裏薩酸汁（Harissa soy vinaigrette)、炸蒜片、檸檬布蕾。這道菜的英文名字比較有趣，因爲主廚姓 “Ka”，所以 Ka’s Fried Chicken 就變成 KFC 了（笑）。
Foie Gras Mapo Tofu (140 rmb) with ground pork, red beans, and peanuts. Slightly spicy and excellent with a bowl of rice.
Uni Ban Mian (190 rmb), chewy thick noodles mixed with sea urchin, bone marrow, bottarga, and bamboo shoots. Yes, it tastes as good as it sounds, a must try.
Tianjin Rice (120 rmb) with ikura, crab, omelet, and ankake sauce. Tianjin Rice is a typical Japanese-style Chinese dish composed of rice, crab meat, and omelet, and the Sober version also comes topped with salmon roe. Beautiful, delicious, and not too heavy, a dish I’d happily eat everyday.
天津飯，鲑魚子、蟹肉、蛋包、芡汁（120元）。天津飯又名蟹玉丼，是日本中華料理的一種，一般是蟹肉炒蛋燴飯，而 Sober 的版本另外再點綴上鲑魚子，非常漂亮。炒飯和芡汁的口味都不會過重，是可以天天吃都不會膩的好味道。
And how can one not drink while dining at Sober? First cocktail: Canal Street (100 rmb) – chrysanthemums pisco, lychee, pomegranate, and lemon – light and well-balanced, a great one to start off the evening. It’s served in a tea pot, so if you don’t say, others might very well assume that you are drinking tea…
在 Sober 吃飯，怎能不喝酒？先試了 Canal Street（100元），由菊花茶 pisco、荔枝、石榴、檸檬風味組成的清爽調酒，酸甜平衡，酒味不重，夜晚從這個開始剛剛好。容器是茶壺茶杯，別人可能還以爲你在喝茶呢…
Also tried a glass of Newport (90 rmb) – gin, scotch, pineapple & seaweed shrub, lemon, ginseng liqueur, and black lemon bitters, served with stone candies.
也來了一杯 Newport（90元），由琴酒、威士忌、鳳梨海藻 shrub、檸檬、人參酒、黑檸檬 bitters 調成的奇妙風味，搭配長得像石頭的糖果。
These cocktails are created by Russian bartender Elizaveta Evdokimova (or just call her Lizzy), champion of the Bacardi Global Legacy cocktail competition in 2013. Other than crafting excellent cocktails, she also manages Sober Kitchen operations.
這些調酒來自 Elizaveta Evdokimova（Lizzy），這位俄羅斯調酒師是 Bacardi Global Legacy 酒師大賽 2013 年的冠軍，也是個相當厲害的人物。她現在除了調酒之外，也負責管理 Sober Kitchen 的運營。
On another note, the hallway leading to the restroom looks like this. I hope no one gets too drunk and mistake this as the toilet…
Lastly, we enter the third space of this establishment, Sober Society, and here it’s really all about the alcohol. It feels kind of like the in-between of Speak Low’s second and third floor – it’s got the elegance of a Japanese bar when things are not too busy, and picks up the convivial vibe of an American bar as the room fills up.
進入另一扇門，就來到了 Sober 的第三個空間，Sober Society。這裏，不用懷疑，就是喝酒的地方。它的感覺有點像 Speak Low 二樓和三樓的中間地帶，人少時有日式酒吧的優雅，人多時則變成美式酒吧的熱絡。
Managing Sober Society is head bartender Kazuhisa Harai, champion of Jameson Bartender’s Ball in 2016.
主理 Sober Society 的首席調酒師是 Kazuhisa Harai，日本人，2016年 Jameson Bartenders’ Ball 的冠軍。爲了 Sober 這個項目從東京搬來上海現在還不到四個月。
First round at Sober Society: on the right is The Second Flush (120 rmb), composed of Darjeeling, Sauternes, elderflower, rosewater, grapefruit, soda. Refreshing, with a lovely bitter sweet balance. On the left is Blue in Green (120 rmb), composed of Bacardi Carta Blanca, green tea, Dewar’s, blue cheese, vanilla, milk, clarified. I was curious about adding blue cheese in cocktails, but the note is actually very subtle (and in retrospect I personally wouldn’t mind a stronger blue cheese flavor). Complex and intriguing.
在 Sober Society 的第一輪，右邊是 The Second Flush（120元），由大吉嶺紅茶、Sauternes 甜白酒、接骨木花、玫瑰水、葡萄柚、和蘇打水構成的調酒，很喜歡它苦甜平衡的風味。左邊是 Blue in Green（120元），裏面有 Bacardi Carta Blanca、Dewar’s、藍紋芝士、香草、牛奶。複雜得很微妙的一款調酒（個人不介意芝士的味道再明顯一些），名字是 Blue in Green 因爲 “藍紋芝士在綠茶裏面”。
So interesting that it deserves another shot to itself.
Whisky Sour (120 rmb): Japanese whisky, yuzu, caramel, egg white, brûlée. The two guests next to me who ordered these seemed to have really enjoyed – will give this a try on my next visit.
別人點的 Whisky Sour（120元）：日本威士忌、柚子、焦糖、蛋白、布蕾。 聽說很好喝，已決定下次就是它了。
Kazu also let me try a Mazatlán, which is not yet on the menu but can be ordered if you like. It’s much more spirit-forward than the previous cocktails and has a really particular smoked capiscum aroma that got me a bit hooked. You might have also noticed that none of the cocktails at Sober have any overly-fancy garnishes – everything is presented simply and elegantly. Like.
Kazu 幫我做了一款尚未推出的調酒 Mazatlán，煙熏唐辛子的味道非常特別，酒味也比剛才幾杯都重。另外注意到的一點是 Sober 的調酒沒有多余的裝飾，presentation 簡約優雅，是我喜歡的風格。
Last drink for the night, God Father III (130 rmb): Laphroaig 10 Years, hojicha, apricot brandy, bitters, candied prosciutto. If you have seen God Father the movie, you can understand why this cocktail is what it is. It’s not uncommon to see candied bacon with cocktails, but candied prosciutto was a first for me, and it was so yum that I wish they’d put three pieces of it in my drink (just kidding) (not really).
當晚的最後一杯，God Father III（130元）：Laphroaig 10年、焙茶、杏子白蘭地、bitters、糖漬意大利生火腿。有看過 God Father 電影的人可以理解爲什麽這款酒以此命名 － 煙熏味，意大利…你懂的。話說，調酒配糖漬培根挺常見的，配糖漬意大利生火腿我還是第一次嚐到，非常對味（可不可以來三根？）
And last but not least, allow me to present you Mr. Shingo Gokan, the mastermind behind Sober. You will also see some other familiar faces here, like Atsushi Suzuki, previously the head bartender at Speak Low and now heading up general management at Sober Company.
最後給大家看一下幕後的 Shingo Gokan，看這張照片就知道他完全不是個嚴肅的人。在 Sober 你還會看到一些熟面孔，比如之前在 Speak Low 的首席調酒師 Atsushi Suzuki，現在負責 Sober 的整體運營管理。
Pssst….though it’s not completed yet, there will be an ultra small and private hidden bar somewhere inside Sober Company, aptly named “Tipsy”. As for how to get yourself in there…I’m sure if you go to Sober often enough, you will hear about it through the grapevine.
透漏一下：雖然目前還未完成，不過之後在 Sober 會有一個更私密的空間，名字是 Tipsy（微醺）。至于據日如何進到這個僅有幾個位子的隱藏酒吧，我們就耐心等著瞧吧。
Sober Company will officially open its door on 2/14, and before it gets super packed (you know it’s just a matter of time), why not go and try it first? I know I’ll be hanging around here for quite a bit…so see you very soon, probably ;)
Sober Company 2/14 正式開業，在它還沒有爆滿之前（這只是個時間問題），要不要先去看看呢？我最近應該會經常出現在這裏，巧遇的話一起喝一杯吧 ;)
營業時間：[Sober Cafe] 8am-1am [Sober Kitchen] 5pm-12am [Sober Society] 7pm-2am