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Saturday 24 June 2017

Shanghai Lil to reopen - on Karangahape Rd

Posted in: New Zealand Daily News
By Daily News staff - 6th January 2017

Shanghai-Lil, Auckland's camp oriental-themed piano bar, has found a new home and is likely to re-open on Karangahape Road in February in time for the Auckland Pride Festival.

Shanghai Lil first opened its doors in late 2004 on downtown Anzac Avenue. In 2006 it moved to to The Birdcage hotel at the bottom of Franklin Road and at the end of 2009 went across town to Parnell, where it had full kitchen facilities and functioned as a restaurant. In late 2014, in association with the owners of Family Bar it opened its doors on Ponsonby Road as a bar.

The much-loved venue is set to open up at 335 K’ Rd, the building which once housed the Vegas strip club upstairs featuring many transgender entertainers and Legend gay bar and nightclub downstairs. It's a larger space than Shanghai Lil's previous locations and will be both "bigger and brighter than before,” according to Family's Grady Elliott.

Shanghai Lil’s legends Russell Green, host, and Billy Farnell, pianist par excellence, will continue to front the venue and the “décor and vibe will remain much the same as prior venues”, Elliott says. But there will be extra décor features such as prop pieces from the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to enhance the “oriental theme of it all.”

The new venue will have more room, with plenty of space for a new purpose-built bar and a dance floor. Out front will be “completely redone, with cut outs so people can be out front without having to hangout on the footpath” and there'll be an 'Opium Den’ out back, which will be a private function room able to cater to 20 to 30 people.

The new Shanghai Lil is hoped to be ready to open in time for Pride revelry in mid-February. Elliott says plans at the moment involve opening Wednesday to Saturday with the potential to open more often if the new venue proves sufficiently popular.

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