Zhangzizhong Lu’s Such A Café Is Poised to Be Your New Favorite Hutong Hangout

After 2017’s Great Brickening laid waste to so many of our favorite hangouts, loafing around in the hutongs certainly ain’t what it used to be. And yet the alleys are still giving rise to hidden gems where you can while some time away over a warm cup of coffee with friends or pop open your laptop for some remote working in stylish, relaxing setting. Specifically, in this instance, we’re talking about Such A Café.

This low-key and cozy little coffee shop opened with little fanfare this past summer in a small alley off Zhangzizhong Lu, just as the area’s renovations and closures began in earnest and many flashier businesses toppled at a dizzying rate. Considering the stylish digs and quality beans on offer at Such A Café we were surprised that it didn’t make more of a splash before now, though it makes sense once you get a feel for its easygoing vibes.

Rather than employing the peppy and overly earnest ambiance found at coffee aficionado targeted spots like Soloist (which goes the retro route in that regard) or Bracket (which takes a slicker, futuristic angle), Such A Café’s staff prefer an ethos of “less is more.” That means bare concrete walls contrasted by a few glowing neon signs, pots of colorful flowers, woodgrain tables, and white back porch-style metal chairs, giving the place a laidback vibe that suits leisurely sipping.

The specialty brews on offer currently include Ethiopian, Kenyan, and Columbian varieties, each costing RMB 40. All are satisfying enough, though they're unlikely to blow you away to the same extent of what you might find at the aforementioned venues.

But that's not the point. Like its cutesy, humble name, this spot is about making you feel at home. If they were to offer more specialty coffees, Such A Café may become quite formidable, but for now it remains an approachable space to hang out or settle in for some work. In a decimated neighborhood in dire need of a replenishment of such quality venues, we're simply happy to have stumbled across it.

Such A Café
Tue-Fri 11am-7pm, Sat-Sun 11am-10pm. 39-3 Zhong Jian Zi Xiang (off of Zhangzizhong Lu)

Photos courtesy of Such A Café, Kyle Mullin