Notes from a pilot's kid

Cafes with Wifi in Chengdu

Here are a couple cafe recommendations in Chengdu for people who are looking for good coffee, good wifi, and an environment for working or studying.

The first three are all in a quiet residential neighborhood full of small restaurants, dessert shops, cafes, bars, teahouses, and mahjong rooms. If you go to any of the three and walk around a bit you will surely find more options nearby. The other recommendations are more centrally located (on a subway line) and convenient but don’t feel as independent or cozy.

Nu Cafe

Nu Cafe (纽咖啡)

Nu cafe is attached to a small studio/design building called Mintown 明堂. It seems to be set up as a place to drink coffee/tea, get some work done or chat with a colleague, and stay for a while. Not exactly a coworking space, but definitely a space designed for work.

If you come alone, there are two long tables with power outlets in the middle that make perfect spaces for using a laptop. Others come in groups and sit in reserved sections, spreading work out on the coffee tables.

Coffee is just average. Although it’s not great, they have American diner-style drip coffee which is fairly rare in Asia; order it and you get an empty cup which you can continue refilling from the carafe all day. They oddly call this 美式咖啡, which is usually the word for Americano, not drip coffee. Espresso beverages are made with a one-touch auto-machine, so don’t order them. Most people seem to order green tea in glass mugs that they sip and refill.

Wifi is free, fast, and very reliable.

Address: 奎星楼街 (not sure of the number, but it’s a glass building next to a giant panda mural, hard to miss)

Loft Hostel (4號工廠 or 四号工厂)

Loft is a hostel and cafe on an alley full of small teahouses, cafes, and bars called 小通巷 (xiao tong xiang). Most seating is group seating and relatively private. Most seats seem to have an outlet nearby. More people come here to eat and have a conversation than use a laptop but it’s definitely a place where you could get some work done.

Coffee is pretty good. It’s still not top-notch coffee but I’ve found that standards are pretty low for coffee in Chengdu. They roast their own beans, which is rare for anywhere in China.

Wifi is free and fast and supposedly has a router-based VPN that allows access to sites like YouTube, Google, and Facebook, but this did not work on the days that I went there.

Address: 同仁路小通巷4号

DouDou

Dou Dou Cafe (朵朵家咖啡馆)

Dou Dou is right next to Loft. It’s sleepy. It’s an older space without too much light inside and it’s not crowded. If you prefer to work in a cafe without many distractions, I’d recommend this one.

I tried a hot milk tea here, which was good, but they also have coffee and traditional tea. Dou Dou also has a full western food menu with salads and pastas.

Wifi here worked well.

Address: 中同仁路小通巷12号

Zen Cuisine

(Update: Zen Cuisine is now closed or has moved)

If the weather is nice, go to IFS, Chengdu’s shiny luxury mall on Chunxi Road with a panda hanging off the top, and look for Zen. Zen is a large Hong Kong style restaurant with a spacious outdoor patio that overlooks some of the Chunxi Road pedestrian area. Not many people would go here just to drink coffee and use wifi, but because it’s so big the staff do not seem to mind.

This restaurant has a full menu of dim sum, lunch sets, and all sorts of other things, and they serve Hong Kong style coffee and tea.

Wifi from IFS throughout the shopping center is great, and Zen also has its own password-protected network, so there’s no trouble getting online.

Address: Shop L618 ,Chengdu IFS, No.1 Section 3 Hongxing Road, Chengdu Access directly through Chengdu Subway Line 2’s Chunxi Road Station.

Bookworm

This seems to be an institution for expats in Chengdu, at least according to english-language blogs. When I first arrived and searched for cafes with wifi, Bookworm kept popping up. It’s a top-ranked location on Tripadvisor if that means anything. I went once and while I was satisfied I didn’t feel like the place was anything special.

Tall ceilings and a large selection of books give this place the feeling of a neglected university library room or dormitory common area, for some reason. There is plenty of seating and the staff has placed power adapters near many of the tables.

Coffee was just ok. Bookworm doubles as a bar and restaurant so there are lots of other drink options. If you’d rather work or read with a glass of red wine, you could do that here.

Wifi was great here, no problems at all.

Address: Yujie East Road, 2-7#, Ren Min South Road, 28 老书虫餐吧 人民南路四段28号玉洁东街2号

Starbucks

I hate Starbucks and would avoid it almost everywhere. However, I have not found an abundance of independent cafes in Chengdu, and some that I’ve listed above are not well-heated in the winter, so this convenient Starbucks off Chunxi Road has lured me back several times out of comfort and convenience. It has a second floor with benches that have power outlets underneath, too.

Coffee is Starbucks coffee. Tea is slightly better but it seems sacrilegious to order tea from an American chain when in such a tea-loving city.

Wifi access requires registration with a phone number, which is typical for major chains in China.

Address: 成都锦江区正科甲巷48号1楼