The Shanghai Jazz Era Lives On at New NJ Speakeasy

by Nicole Iuzzolino
Madison NJ Encore Speakeasy

With the new year just beginning, many are ready to add some excitement to their lives. We all desire to escape the pandemic that’s unfortunately still looming over our heads. This idea of escapism was the inspiration behind Shanghai Jazz Restaurant and Bar when it opened in Madison, New Jersey, during the summer of 1995.

This past December, they welcomed Encore speakeasy bar beneath the restaurant, pulling themes from the Prohibition era. From live jazz performances to specialty drink menus and “secret openings” that require a passcode to get in, you are sure to feel transported back in time.

About Shanghai Jazz Restaurant and Bar

Martha Chang, the original co-owner of Shanghai Jazz, studied Shanghai in the 1920s during her doctorate program. This was a time where a variety of cultures flocked to the city. The reason for this was to escape different world crises. Shanghai welcomed a multitude of different cuisines and music, only electrifying the jazz era even more.

For 22 years, Chang and David Niu ran the unique bar and restaurant. The business was even awarded “Top 100 Jazz Clubs in the World” by Downbeat Magazine during their ownership. Eventually, it was passed down to Thomas Donohoe. Donohoe is a chef with an 18-year career in some of the top kitchens across the country. Now under his control, Donohoe has focused on providing an exquisite variety of food for his guests, paired with entertaining live music.

A New NJ Speakeasy Emerges: Encore Bar & Lounge

At Encore, located downstairs, bar goers can try a number of specialty drinks not seen on the regular restaurant menu. Two of their most popular drinks are the “Ginger Solo” or the “Sexual Chocolate,” which is a take on an espresso martini with 90 percent cacao chocolate and Black Sambuca.

Shanghai Jazz oozes with the glamour and the glitzy ambience of Shanghai in its prime jazz era. From its themed drinks and lively jazz music, speakeasy lovers will instantly feel they were transported to the true “Paris of the Orient” while at Encore.

Shanghai Jazz and Encore speakeasy bar are open Tuesday to Thursday 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.. Then, on Fridays and Saturdays, it is open until midnight.

Main photo via @shanghaijazznj

About the Author/s

All posts

Nicole is a tea lover and aspiring journalist studying Journalism, Creative Writing, and Digital Video Production at Marist College.

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