It’s a hot summer, no doubt, with an extra touch of humidity. Some days are so humid that it feels more like Guangzhou than Beijing. This kind of weather probably makes you want to minimize your time outdoors and spend more time indoors. If your children are off on a play date, with their babysitters, or at a summer camp, and you have some free time to spend with your friends, get some rest and respite from the café scene in Beijing. Both in the heart of the city and outside the third ring, there is a myriad of cafés to choose from, offering different styles and settings, from modern and minimalist to casual and comfortable. Whether you’re looking for tea, coffee, or desserts, you’ll be able to find someplace to spend an afternoon and catch up with those you haven’t seen face to face for a while. Below we’ll highlight three cafés, three in the Dongcheng District, in the center of the city, and one in the Shunyi District.
Located in Wudaoying Hutong of Dongcheng, He Kitchen and Co. has a relatively simplistic and polished-looking interior. Offering a number of drinks and desserts, the café may be better appreciated for its interior décor than for its food. Setting it apart from many of its neighbors in Wudaoying Hutong, it has a geometric and well-ordered style instead of the warmly cluttered and randomly decorated style featured by others. Its second floor offers a wooden-planked terrace that’s ideal for soaking up the sun while enjoying a cup of coffee.
Right next door to He Kitchen and Co. is Shi Jiu Ri Dessert Café (see their Weibo here), much smaller and simpler compared to its neighbor. The interior design is not so modern and sleek, but rather informal and casual in an almost bare way. The tiramisu, decorated with a minimalist cat silhouette, is quite light and a good choice if you’re already feeling somewhat full or not in the mood for anything too sweet.
Are you a plant lover? If you have a green thumb and tend to your own garden, or if you just like fresh flowers and being surrounded by greenery, then another pleasant café to spend an afternoon in conversation with your friends is Peking Café (click link to see photos on their Douban webpage), or Bei Ping Ka Fei 北平咖啡 (you can access their Weibo and Dianping websites respectively here and here). Peking Café officially opened in the winter of 2012 in Nanluoguxiang, according to their WeChat official account, and after opening quickly gained popularity and attention. It features a porch doubling as a garden, some basic Italian fare, illy coffee, and a lush surrounding of various potted plants and flowers.
On top of this café, Peking Café also operates another coffee shop in the Shunyi District, in the Zhong Liang Xiang Yun 中粮祥云 shopping area. Furthermore, the franchise also includes a garden named “My Peking Garden” and three hostels respectively named “Peking Youth Hostel”, “Peking Yard Hostel”, and “Peking Station Hostel”. Detailed addresses can be found below, and you can follow them via their official WeChat account: PekingCafe.
As the summer draws to a close, exploring these as well as others of Beijing’s hutong cafés could be a great way to get out of the house and still stay out of the heat as you pass the last few truly hot days of the year.
He Kitchen & Co.
9am-11pm. 48 Wudaoying Hutong, Dongcheng District 东城区五道营胡同48号 (5245 1039)
Shi Jiu Ri Dessert Café
Closed on Mondays. 48 Wudaoying Hutong, Dongcheng District 东城区五道营胡同48号 (6402 1016)
Peking Café – Dongcheng District
113-2 Nanluoguxiang, Dongcheng District 东城区南锣鼓巷113-2号 (8403 9198)
Peking Café – Shunyi District
Antai Street, Zhongliangxiangyun South, Shunyi District 顺义区安泰大街中粮祥云国际生活区南区