Shortly after my first visit, I was searching around online to see if there were any craft beer places in Shanghai other than the Shanghai Brewery that I had already found. I found a few articles about new beer places, and they all made comments about ‘now there is more than just the old favorite, Boxing Cat’ and I knew I had to find this Boxing Cat place. Just the name alone had me interested. On my next trip, I was able to find them in an area called Sinan Mansions.
I went right in and had one of the many bit of cultural confusion that you may run into while traveling. I was handed a paper list of what was available on tap at the moment, just a photocopied list.
A list like that is a good sign. If the taps rotate, they need something that can be updated often like a printed list, or a chalk board sign or something like that. If the list of beers is only in a glossy menu, then you’ll end up getting a lot of ‘no, sorry, don’t have that one’ when you try to order.
Anyway, I was reading the list, enjoying the details provided (descriptions of the beer, IBUs, and alcohol %) and asked for a schooner/half-pint of something. The waitress then proceeded to try to take my beer list, and I asked if I could hang on to it because I was likely going to order a second beer. They had a big pile of them by the door, but she still continued trying to pull it out of my hand. It was odd, but I hung onto it tightly until she gave up. If I could speak the language, I probably would have been able to better explain that I might have more than one beer :)
On future visits, I found another location on the same road, but in a different part of town, and just recently they opened a completely new place called ‘First Round’.
First Round is worth checking out, and it has all the same beers as the others, so if you can only pick one, that’s the location I’d suggest you visit. This location is designed to be all ‘self-serve’, and I had no idea what that meant, so I had to ask. Turns out you can order food using your WeChat account and a menu of QR codes, and you can get beer from a self-serve station all without any help. Or at least you can if you can pay using WeChat. I was limited to credit card or cash, so I couldn’t officially use the self-serve beer station, but I really wanted to see it in action, so I asked if the bartender could use the machine for me and let me film it!
All this talk of a brewery, I guess I had better talk about the actual beer. I have been very happy with the different choices available at Boxing Cat, from the TKO IPA (which is normally always available, and is what you’ll likely find at any other retail location) to the many varieties of stouts and porters (that come and go, I think I’ve only found their ‘regular’ Donkey Punch Porter on one occasion). I’m a big fan of the King Louie Imperial Stout, but check out this page for a full list of what they are making.
All of the locations have a full food menu, and while I can’t really speak to everything they have, the burger I had at one location was quite good. Think ‘american bar food’ and you won’t be disappointed.
How to find Boxing Cat in Shanghai
As of when I wrote this, there were three Boxing Cat locations in Shanghai: