Tipped as the new Xintiandi, the Cool Docks is in a prime location to take advantage of visitors moving between The Bund to the north and the World Expo site a shortway south along the Huangpu River.
The “Cool Docks” name is just marketing bluster, as the area is properly known as Lao Ma Tou, or The Old Docks. Like Xintiandi, this shiny new complex is a tasteful replica (as opposed to renovation) of the city’s traditional old quarter; and it’s full of a similar (if slightly thinner on the ground) selection of cafes and boutiques. For coffee opt for Caffein over the neighboring Starbucks; for Indian food look no further than Kebabs on the Grille; and if you want Greek food with a view, clamber up the white-washed stairs of Mythos. The bigest draws here though are Stiller’s, a world-class German restaurant with a wonderful roof terrace, and D2, one of the city’s few gay clubs.
While you’re there, take the time to explore the surrounding lanes, many of which remain untouched by the developers’ brush and bulldozer, and stand in stark contrast to the cobblestones and fountains inside the complex proper. Photos on our forum here.