I’ll readily admit that I’m a fan of Starbucks. Even so far as to collect the mugs from different cities, but while I salute their empire, there are times when you want to break away from the Moby Dick inspired namesake. When that time hits, try and check out some of these other great Xi’an coffee shops.
1) Maan Coffee, Waffle and ToastView In Map
This isn’t your typical coffee shop. First, it’s a huge two-story shop complete with a Beauty and the Beast inspired bookshelf and a dash of Narnia if stained glass had been more commonly used. All in all, the décor inside Maan is stunning. While it can seat a large number of guests, it still manages to feel cozy. Downstairs there are primarily tables, but upstairs you’ll find long desks to work at and couches to cuddle up on. On top of some truly mouth watering lattes, Maan also serves a variety of waffles, salads, and a worth the splurge bulgogi burger. Like most coffee shops though, the prices aren’t cheap. They are keeping up with Starbucks, whom we all know didn’t change their American prices when they ventured abroad.
Add: north side of Qujiang Dantang Buyecheng Pedestrian Street, Yanta District, Xi’an
Tel: 029 6368 2222
Opening hours: Daily, 10:00 – 01:00
Getting there: Go to the side of Dayan Ta with the giant monk statue. Walk away from Dayan Ta on the left hand side of the street. Maan Coffee is located on the second floor so take the large stairs just before the Vanguard to get to the entrance
2) Sculpting in Time View In Map
There are currently four Sculpting in Times scattered around Xi’an, but you can’t beat the laid-back college vibe you get from its location right next to Xisu and Shaanxi Normal University. They’ve got a good selection of Western foods and a relaxing assortment of drinks. While the chairs might not be the most comfortable, there’s a homey feeling that comes from the largely wooden scheme. It’s the kind of place you can grab a bite to eat with friends or bring your laptop and get some work done. They’ve also got a nice assortment of books and music you are free to peruse, and hold a variety of different events (movie nights, Chinese corners, etc.) over the course of the year.
Add: 41 Shida Lu, Yanta District, Xi’an
Tel: 029 8522 8182
Opening hours: Daily, 09:00-24:00
Getting there: Go south down Chang’an Lu, then turn left on ShiDa Lu. You should see Xisu on your left. Continue walking down the street and you’ll see Sculpting in Time will be on your right. The shop has a green cat logo.
3) Hello CoffeeView In Map
If you want a more secluded coffee shop where you can feel at home, go to Coffee Time. It’s easy to find, but not many people venture there so it gives the entire place a very personal feel. It also helps that the small shop looks like it could be a well-decorated version of your living room. It’s a nice place to escape the rush and take some time to relax. They’ve also got an eclectic set of music playing so you’ll want to have Soundhound or Shazam at the ready.
Add: 6 Huanta Nan Lu Dongduan, Yanta District, Xian
Tel: 029 8557 3669
Opening hours: Daily 10:00 – 22:30
Getting there: Go to the side of Dayan Ta with the monk statue. Look across the street to see the bus stop and Subway, which Hello Coffee is directly above. You need to go inside Subway to find the stairs to get up to the shop.
4) Weeble Café View In Map
Weeble is a small café with a big personality. The setting makes you feel instantly comfortable, and you will probably find yourself wandering around the shop inspecting all the different art scattered around. One of the shop’s owners is a recently graduated and very talented art student. She personally decorated the place so it has a very unique feel. They also have resident shop cats who are more than happy to play with you or sleep on a nearby cushion. The menu is in Chinese so if you want to read the specifics of the drinks you’re out of luck, but whenever I wanted something outside the communicable latte and Americano the close your eyes and point tactic has never lead me astray.
Add: 6 Xiamaling, Beilin District, Xi’an
Opening hours: Daily 14:00 – 00:00
Tel: 158 2973 8967
Getting there: Get to Wenchangmen city wall exit, and take a left along the inner wall. Continue down this street for a while until you see the artsy wooden entrance to Weeble. It can be a bit of walk, but it’s nice in good weather. If you hit the next city wall exit, you’ve gone too far.
5) Caspian CaféView In Map
Caspian is the kind of place I’d expect to find the sophisticated elite back home. It’s laid back with a great staff, but fashionable at the same time. The shop itself may be large, but it’s laid out to make you feel like you and the folks you came with are they only ones there. One of Caspian’s key features is a huge wall filled with lamps. It’s a nice backdrop to any conversation held on their couch-seated tables. Their drinks are translated into English on the menu too. The rose latte is amazing, just be careful not to swallow a petal.
Add: 2F, Building 1, south east corner of Xingyuan Square, Beilin District, Xian
Opening hours: Daily 11:00 – 23:00
Tel: 029 8765 9263
Getting there: Head south from Zhong Lou. Turn right on the walking street in front of Starbucks and continue until you see Xingyuan Square. Take the outdoor escalator up a level to put you above Burger King and Caspian will be on your right.
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