Not only is the premium alcohol market blowing up in China, but the star-tender phenomena is still thriving in Asia as well. Enter a new personality driven bar. Steve Schneider (Employees Only, The Strangers Club) and Shingo Gokan (Speak Low, Sober Company, The SG Club) just announced a new partnership to open The Odd Couple, a new bar in the Xintiandi neighborhood of Shanghai, China.
The Odd Couple name is an homage to Gokan and Schneider’s seemingly oppositional styles; delicate, deliberate , and meticulous drink building vs. high speed, craft volume, respectively.
“Shingo and I struck up a close friendship over a decade ago and have guided each other through parallel careers ever since. We’ve had the pleasure of bartending all over the world together and thought it was about time to make it official,” Schneider explained in a statement. “With his meticulous technique and my fast pouring style, we’ve got a unique and dynamic recipe for something truly special that we can’t wait to share.”
The menu will follow the battling bartender vibe. Of course, there will be classics like highballs, but the heart of the drink list will consist eight different flavor profiles . Ordering a profile will get you two drinks based on the specified tastes, one created by Gokan, one by Schneider.
“The way Steve and the team at Employees Only are known to churn out cocktails at record speed, all while making guests feel truly at home, is a genre of hospitality I have always respected. We are looking forward to seeing what happens when we integrate the refined cocktail building techniques I have tried to perfect over the years,” reflected Gokan.
The interior will be designed by Atsuhiko Sugiyama of Tokyo firm The Whole Design. According to a release, the venue will feature “retro-funk nods, abundant neon, moving lights and limited seating to cultivate a vivacious bar room energy.”
Themes aside, the two bartenders bring a ton of silver to the venture. Their resumes are a list of awards like Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award for Best International Bartender and Nightclub & Bar’s 2015 Bartender of the Year. (Plus, you may remember Schneider from the craft doc, Hey Bartender.)
Photo courtesy Drink Magazine.