The TMSK Restaurant & Bar in Shanghai is short for Tou Ming Si Kao, which means “transparent thinking.” From your first step into this exquisite place, it’s easy to see the transparency of the atmosphere the owners are trying to create. The bar is a gorgeous length of amazing art glass, lit from within. In fact, the entire place is softly lit and decorated with art glass, giving it a gallery feel as much as that of a restaurant or bar.
And hardly surprising – TMSK was conceived around an art gallery concept, Liuli Gongfang, which was started by actress Loretta Yang and director Chang Yi in 1985. In fact, in the corner adjacent to the TMSK bar and restaurant is Shanghai’s smallest art gallery, filled with this gorgeous art glass. In the dining and lounge areas, carefully crafted Crystal ceilings, tables and furnishings blossom in a reflective “river” that distills light throughout the rooms, making for a romantic and excitingly unique experience. Live music adds to the experience, and traditional platform performances are held here every weekend, truly an experience worth coming for.
When I visited, musician and movie director Gao Xiao was sitting at an outside table working on his laptop – TMSK, not surprisingly, attracts the creative crowd of Shanghai. “When I’m in Shanghai, I come here most every afternoon to polish my script,” said Gao. “You can spend the whole day here, and even all night long, eating, drinking and meeting people.”
Shelley Seale is a freelance writer based out of Austin Texas, but she vagabonds in any part of the world whenever possible. Shelley has written for National Geographic, Globe Pequot’s Insider travel guides, CNN, AOL, USA Today and Andrew Harper Traveler Magazine among others. Her book, The Weight of Silence: Invisible Children of India, follows her journeys into the orphanages, streets and slums of India where millions of children live without families. Her mantra is “travel with a purpose.” She can be reached at shelleyseale.com.
Check out more of Shelley’s work in her 52 Perfect Days stories: 1949 Hidden City: Beijing’s Hippest New Spot.