In Cafetique, Shanghaiist reviews coffee shops and cafes around Shanghai that provide the two things our writers need most in life: caffeine and wireless internet. How does your neighborhood hangout spot stack up?
Where: Tianzifang, Lane 210 Taikang Lu near Sinan Lu; 田子坊泰康路210弄，近思南路
Atmosphere: A bustling mix of locals and expats frequent this “Kommunist” themed cafe. There’s red lighting beneath the couches and bar shelves, Mao memorabilia, wooden ceiling beams, and black and white Commie films playing on their TV. Kommune is one of those rare places that transforms smoothly from cozy coffee joint to local pub at night. Sure, it’s often described as bohemian but let’s not fool ourselves, you’re more likely to find a tourist there than a real creative type. Be warned, on weekends, it becomes butt-brushing, chock full of people. And yes, let’s get this out of the way: the tables at Kommune look horrifyingly small when you first sit down but they’re more functional than you think. The tables get even cooler when night falls and the staff flip them over on the side and presto, they become instant low lounge tables.
Music: A praiseworthy soundtrack – Kings of Leon, Jet, Jason Mraz, la Winehouse, La Roux, Passion Pit and other electro pop.
Food and Drink: The food on their broad-ranging menu is reasonably well done and they’ve got good specials going on the majority of the week. Aussie expats will feel at home with the fresh hot potato wedges served with sweet chili sauce and sour cream (RMB 38) and the Anzac biscuit of course (RMB 15). They’ve got everything from breakfast, sandwiches, wraps, tapas, and pasta. We recommend the Kommunety cake sampler, which gives customers a hefty slice of each of their cakes – chocolate, carrot, cheese (RMB 75).
But let’s talk about the coffee. Serious caffeine junkies have their addictions coddled by Kommune’s famous giant bowls of coffee (RMB 40). Or if you don’t particularly feel like having your heart beat faster than you can count, you might want to try the regular-sized soy milk latte (RMB 35) or the well-executed machiatoni (30 RMB), a double espresso shot in a latte glass with a layer of tightly foamed milk. Their smoothies are a winner too, helpfully designed to detox you from late Shanghai nights out. We like the Stand Up and D’liver – beetroot, apple, celery, pear juice, and the Wake Up – carrot ginger, apple and celery (RMB 35-48).
Wifi: Thumbs up. Thumbs down for the number and placement of outlets.
Overall: Wins major points for being able to transform itself into a completely different animal at night. Daytime coffee shop to cozy little bar? Who would’ve thunk it? But please leave the work and novel at home. Hogging a table for a few hours will only attract dirty looks from the hipsters who crowd into the place looking for a seat. If you come here, it should be for a post-night out recovery lunch and coffee pick me up with friends or for their happy hour deal and complimentary tapas.