Master shopper: The best of Taikang Lu’s Tianzifang
Even with new crowds pouring into the tiny lanes daily, we still love Taikang Lu’s bohemian charm.
As shops and restaurants seep into the alleyways’ farthest nooks, there are more options than ever. To help decipher today’s maze of possibilities, here are our picks for a day of shopping and eating.
Tianzifang stop no. 1: Balthazar
Eduardo Vargas’ French brasserie is tucked into a quiet lane with a tiny outdoor patio, a cozy dark wood interior, and a fourth-floor terrace. Try their lunch specials or brand-new brunch menu.
No. 7, Lane 155 Jianguo Zhong Lu 建国中路155弄7号, +86 21 6473 0820
Tianzifang stop no. 2: Rambler
The newest entrant to Tianzifang -- they just opened in late April -- is a juice bar with just four stools spilling onto the lane’s walkway. We predict summer success with a menu filled with smoothies, fresh juices and mojitos.
No. 25 Lane 155 Jianguo Zhong Lu 建国中路155弄25号, +86 150 0040 0411
Tianzifang stop no. 3: Zhen Cha Lin
Escape from the bustling alleyways at this relaxing oasis of tea, soft music and fruity aromas. Along with their own creative tea combinations, they also sell hand-crafted mugs from Jingdezhen, China’s porcelain capital.
No. 13 Lane 210 Taikang Lu 泰康路210弄13号, +86 21 6473 0507
Tianzifang stop no. 4: Cafe Dan
This cafe’s Japanese owner has studied the art of coffee making, from roasting the beans down to the hand-crafted mugs he uses. Stop by for a gourmet cup of joe to fuel your wandering.
No. 41, Lane 248 Taikang Lu 泰康路248弄41号, +86 21 6466 1042, www.idancoffee.com
Tianzifang stop no. 5: ChuQiBuYi
Cuddly fabric teddy bears hand-crafted near Hangzhou make affordable and adorable presents. We love their stylish black leather panda bear.
No. 51 Lane 248 Taikang Lu 泰康路248弄51号, +86 139 1855 4580
Tianzifang stop no. 6: Roger & Guy
This is a shop where you can buy all the things you didn’t realize you needed but now can’t live without, such as Double Happiness-inscribed, intertwined salt and pepper shakers. Upstairs, they sell funky home furniture.
No. 3, Lane 210, Taikang Lu 泰康路210 弄3号, +86 21 6445 7182
Tianzifang stop no. 7: Kommune
A cozy courtyard is the perfect spot to enjoy “The Great Ozzie BBQ,” an all-you-can-eat Australian-style cookout the restaurant occasionally hosts. Or, just unwind under the trees with a freshly-squeezed juice or iced coffee.
Bldg 7, 210 Taikang Lu, 泰康路210号7号楼, +86 21 6466 2416
Tianzifang stop no. 8: Shokay
This Tibetan brand combines high-end luxury wares with a sense of humanitarian mission. Yak from Tibetan herders are spun into a gorgeous array of scarves, gloves, hats and baby clothes.
No. 9, 274 Taikang Lu 泰康路274弄9号, +86 21 5466 0907, www.shokay.com
Tianzifang stop no. 9: Hi Panda
This ironic, evil panda icon stirs the inner hipster in all of us. Browse a variety of t-shirts, caps and bags.
Unit 8, No. 7, Lane 210 Taikang Lu 泰康路210弄7号8室, +86 21 6466 7009
Tianzifang stop no. 10: Platane
Located just outside the network of lanes, Platane is worth a detour. The stylish boutique is filled with exquisitely selected home goods, from fragrant Australian hand crèmes to bamboo bowls from Vietnam.
156 Taikang Lu 泰康路156号, +86 21 6466 2495, www.platane.cn
Tianzifang stop no. 11: Bell Bar
Once a tiny one-room alcove, this neighborhood bar has grown much taller lately. It still maintains its homey charm, though, thanks to the friendly owner Amay.
No. 11 Lane 248 Taikang Lu, 泰康路248弄11号, +86 138 1777 8890, www.bellbar.cn
Tianzifang stop no. 12: Duke Gallery
Take a break from knickknack shopping and enjoy contemporary Chinese art and sculpture here. Our favorite sculpture is the Ketchup red, chubby-cheeked child enthusiastically blowing a horn.
No. 8, Lane 274, Taikang Lu 泰康路274 弄8号, +86 21 135 6447 6358, www.dukegallery.cn
Tianzifang stop no. 13: Yinzifang
This store not only lets you buy custom-made glass and silver jewelry, but you can also make it yourself. Reserve in advance for a chance to cut and mold glass into a stylish pendant.
No. 35, Lane 274, Taikang Lu 泰康路274 弄35号, +86 21 5465 0447