13 of the Most Hipster Cafés in Shanghaiairport_transferbarbathtubbusiness_facilitieschild_activitieschildcareconnecting_roomcribsfree_wifigymhot_tubinternetkitchennon_smokingpetpoolresturantski_in_outski_shuttleski_storagesmoking_areaspastar

13 of the Most Hipster Cafés in Shanghai

Azahar Café 93, Bogotá
Azahar Café 93, Bogotá | © Pixabay
In Shanghai, “café” is nearly synonymous with hipster. Still, the discerning trendsetter should check out one of these 13 spots to find a truly authentic experience.


Cafe, Restaurant, Tea
Sumerian is one of the few cafés in Shanghai that roasts its own beans and creates its own blends. The resulting brews have earned this bright, centrally located café fans from around the city, drawn to the flavor-packed coffees. It is run by the same team behind neighboring bar Dogtown and bagel shop Boom Boom. Keep an eye out for their frequent and popular block parties.
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Mellower Coffee

Cafe, Tea
While Mellower Coffee has brews that will knock over even the biggest caffeine fiend, sometimes it’s just about the Instagrammability of the drink. Meet “Sweet Little Rain,” a delightfully photogenic Americano served with a cotton candy cloud floating above it. As the steam from the coffee evaporates, it causes the cloud to melt and drip into the drink, sweetening the coffee and creating your own personal rain cloud.
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Marienbad Café

Cafe, Coffee Shop, Tea
The interior of Marienbad Café
The interior of Marienbad Café | © 2 dogs/Flickr
Located at the junction of two high-foot-traffic Former French Concession streets, Anfu Rd and Wukang Rd, Marienbad Café is in the perfect position to welcome Shanghai’s yuppiest expats. Walking past, you will often find patrons with their furry friends sitting on the front porch watching the flower seller at her cart often parked across the street.
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The Cottage

Cafe, Tea , $$$
With its green façade, The Cottage is a visual highlight of cute Shanghai street Taojiang Rd, as well as a boho chic oasis with character in every corner. Here you’ll find an eclectic mix of antiques and travel books lining the walls, as well as vodka-spiked coffee, because sometimes you just need a little extra kick during the day.
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Old China Hand Reading Room

Cafe, Tea
It’s easy to miss Shaoxing Rd, but the historical street is packed with unique cafés, art galleries, bookstores, and publication houses. Combining the best of what the street has to offer is the Old China Hand Reading Room. This library-cum-café by photographer Deke Erh and historian Tess Johnston is the perfect place to bury your nose in an English book about China, all while enjoying tea and coffee.
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Brut Cake Cafe

Bakery, Cafe, Fusion, $$$
Brut Cake Cafe started life as a furniture store until enough people asked the question, “So where’s the cake?” The resulting East-meets-West café has quickly become the talk of the town. All the furniture is still for sale, but you can also eat delicious fusion treats like chicken and waffles, a steamed bun burger, or Chinese sausage Bolognese linguine. Coffee is also available courtesy of MQ Coffee.
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Mon - Fri:
8:00 am - 9:00 pm
Sat - Sun:
10:00 am - 8:00 pm

Essence Coffee

Cafe, Mediterranean, $$$
Located in Shanghai’s trendy Xintiandi neighborhood is the upmarket specialty café Essence. Essence takes its coffee seriously, dealing only in single-plantation premium coffees. If you’re a connoisseur, or just not sure what you like, the menu describes the flavor profile and body of each brew. The café also spins creative coffee cocktails. A light Mediterranean-inspired food menu is available as well.
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2nd Floor

Cafe, North American
The owner of under-the-radar spot 2nd Floor makes his own accordions, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get to hear him play one while you’re in the café. The shop focuses on house-made sandwiches but also promotes the local arts and music scenes. Flip through one of the photography books and look out on bustling Changle Rd., and you have yourself a perfect afternoon.
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