Essential Architecture- The Bund, Shanghai

Shanghai Club

presently Dongfeng Hotel and Kentucky Fried Chicken




No. 3, The Bund, Shanghai, China






reinforced concrete. The large first floor dining room had black and white marble flooring, while the entrance staircase used imported white Sicilian marble.


Club- was the principal social club for British nationals in Shanghai.
  Above image ©Paul Pak-hing Lee - 1997
  Above image reproduced with the generous permission of Simon Fieldhouse. Copyright Simon Fieldhouse.
  Soldiers from different European powers at a war memorial service in the early twenties.
The Shanghai Club Building was a three-storey neo-classical building in Shanghai along The Bund. The structure is now empty.

The original Shanghai Club was a three-storey red-brick building constructed the British in 1861. The club was rebuilt in 1905.

The original Club was torn down and rebuilt in 1910 with reinforced concrete in a neo-classical design. The large first floor dining room had black and white marble flooring, while the entrance staircase used imported white Sicilian marble.

The club was a British men's club and was the most exclusive club in Shanghai during the heyday of the 1920s and 1930s. The membership fee was $125 and monthly dues were $9.

United States President Ulysses S. Grant was hosted there when he visited Shanghai in 1879.

The second-floor was famous for the "Long Bar." This was an unpolished mahogany, L-shaped bar that measured 110.7 feet by 39 feet. On one side of the bar was a smoking room and library, while on the other side was a billiards room. It was famous for being the world's longest bar at one time.

There were also forty guest rooms on the second and third floors. It later became the Dongfeng Hotel, and even suffered the indignity of housing a KFC restaurant from 1990 to 1996.

^ a b Jackson, Beverley. [2005] (2005). Shanghai Girl Gets All dressed up. Ten Speed Press. ISBN 1580083676
The Shanghai Club, at No. 3, The Bund, was the most exclusive club in Old Shanghai.
The January 13, 1911 issue of The North China Daily News reported that on its opening, there was "a guard of honor of armed Sikhs, the Town Band, and later a detachment of bluejackets arrived from the H.M.S. Flora ... and the British Consul General, Sir Pelham Warren, in his brougham escorted by a detachment of Sikh troopers, who presented arms."

The club building is a massive white marble building in the neo-classical style. The main marble-floored hall, over 40 feet high, has six Ionic columns which would have Click here to see a Shanghai Club "chit" from the mid-1930s.

fitted right in with London's club scene. On the upper floors were a card room, a writing room, dining room, a ballroom, and above that a number of bedrooms for resident members.

All floors were linked by twin elevators which ascended in the middle of the curving marble staircase. No expense was spared in making the club an elegant but comfortable refuge for its privileged members - male only, of course. The North China Daily News reported it was "lighted with 'Tungstoliers,' a new American method of illumination."

The club was most famous for its Long Bar, reputedly the longest in the world. There, the taipans (big bosses) and griffins (junior officers and clerks) stood in exactly prescribed positions, by rank and as minutely calibrated as on a ruler. Up front near the window would be the leaders of the city's most powerful hongs and down in the shadows on the far end the newest, greenest griffin. God help the new boy in town who did not understand and observe the subtle gradations.

So select was membership that an anecdote is told that, in the days right after the Pearl Harbor attack (December 8th in China), a young Briton was passing by the Club just as some incoming rounds were hitting uncomfortably close.

For protection he sought to dart into the door of the club only to be stopped short by a Colonel Blimp type who said: "Sir, you can not come in here, you are not a member."

Just then a round landed even closer. The club members consulted and decided to convene a quorum and voted in their unfortunate compatriot - but only as a temporary member.

Thanks to