Steve Schneider and Shingo Gokan to open Shanghai bar

24th September, 2018 by Nicola Carruthers

Leading bartenders Steve Schneider and Shingo Gokan have teamed up to open a new Shanghai bar called The Odd Couple.

Shingo Gokan and Steve Schneider will open The Odd Couple in November (Credit: drinkmagazine.asia)

Shingo Gokan and Steve Schneider will combine their bartending styles to open The Odd Couple (Credit: drinkmagazine.asia)

Opening in November 2018, The Odd Couple will be located in Taicang Lu in the heart of the Xintiandi neighbourhood in Shanghai, China.

The “high-energy” cocktail lounge will feature a “cheeky and retro” 80s theme. The venue takes its name from the pair’s “complementary but opposite bartending styles”.

Schneider, of Employees Only and Panama-based The Strangers Club, met Gokan during his time at Japanese-style speakeasy Angel’s Share in New York. Gokan later went on to open renowned Shanghai venues Speak Low and Sober Company, and most recently The SG Club in Tokyo.

The duo reconnected this year to “combine their talents of quality, precision, speed and hospitality”.

“Shingo and I struck up a close friendship over a decade ago and have guided each other through parallel careers ever since,” said Schneider, principal bartender at New York-based Employees Only.

“We’ve had the pleasure of bartending all over the world together and thought it was about time to make it official.

“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.”

Gokan and Schneider will create a dual menu consisting of eight pairs of signature cocktails, each revolving around a specific flavour profile and featuring a version from each bartender. The list will also feature classic serves such as Highballs.

The venue has been designed by Atsuhiko Sugiyama of Tokyo-based firm The Whole Design. The Odd Couple will be “a reimagining of the future from the past” and will include abundant neon, moving lights and limited seating to create a vivacious bar room energy.

The Odd Couple will incorporate a fast-paced and energetic style of service, with a particular focus on engaging with guests.

Gokan added: “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.”

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