As one of the longest-standing shopping areas of Beijing, Xidan is favored especially by university students, first-time travelers, and residents of west Beijing. The shopping malls along both sides of the Xidan Beidajie can take a keen shopper a whole day, and the abundance of great cafés in the area makes for a perfect break.
Located beside the Gangwashi Church, Await Café is a Mediterranean style café and restaurant with a blue and white interior and a delicious menu which will transport you to the sea in minutes. The café has a rather innovative dessert menu, which includes both Western cheesecakes and oriental double-layered milk puddings. This is an ideal place for shoppers who fancy a light meal or afternoon tea in between purchases.
The Story Café is inside the only Chinese branch of the Galeries Lafayette. The menu offers freshly ground coffee, flowery and fruit tea, and cup cakes that are both delicious and beautiful. Sit in one of their pretty pastel chairs and enjoy a cup of their famously thick and creamy latte – it’s an excellent break in the middle of a tiring shopping day.
Jianyi is more of a painting class than a café. The classes are beginner-level so you can feel free to join in even if you know nothing about drawing. One of the most attractive parts of the space is a long table, covered in a pretty floral tablecloth, set in the middle of the classroom, which is always laden with tea, coffee and cakes. Jianyi is also a popular choice for group gatherings.
Ca Coffee’s slightly strange name is photography themed, much like the rest of the café: in Mandarin, ‘ca’ is the sound the shutter makes as a photo is taken. Here you can enjoy a wide range of coffees, from the classic to the unusual, such as their marshmallow coffee, Chinese teas, dessert, and light meals, all while checking out their collection of analogue cameras.
Some people prefer reading to drinking, and for these bookworms, what could be better than a bookshop that also provides coffee and seats? In recent years, Beijing has seen the emergence of quite a few bookstores that provide such a service. Though Yufeng is neither large-scale nor one of the famous chain bookshops, it is nevertheless a good harbor for those whose main shopping experience in Xidan is books.
Located between the National Theater for the Performing Arts and the Beijing Concert Hall, Daisy’s Dream Coffee is an ideal chill-out place for those who want to idle around for a whole afternoon before the performance starts. It looks like a Parisian café from the outside, and has got all the elements of a stylish café, from the menu to the off-white interior and warm lighting.
Monkey Coffee is decorated like a Shanghainese café, with a giant tree that shades the whole yard, and sofas and appliances that recall the design of 1920s Shanghai. It’s got a good variety of coffee, yoghurt smoothies, and desserts, as well as a rather more surprising but still raved-about fried chicken selection.
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