If you haven’t heard of the Rockbund area don’t fret, what is being built up as the next cool neighborhood isn’t directly in the spotlight yet. It’s a strip of refurbished historical buildings that house luxury stores as well as restaurants and cafes. Near the end of the long pedestrian street that is YuanMingYuan Lu sits Lyceum Cafe, a coffee house/art and design center that strives to be a place to mingle, chat, and expand ideas about coffee, art, books, etc.
Past a comfortable outdoor seating area lined with heaters and tables inlaid with tile pieces is the entrance, where a greeter will seat you. They are more than willing to tell you anything you like about the establishment and concept or the menu options. The decor is inspired by art and architecture so it feels like a cafe that should be attached to a museum. There is a long wooden table centered in the room, surrounded by couches and seat of varying shapes and styles. The light fixtures that hang overhead are glass spheres containing a single light bulb, there’s also neon lighting snaking along the bare pipes in the ceiling. The storefront is floor to ceiling glass which offers an abundance of natural lighting on nice days.
Their menu isn’t extremely long but the choices are tasty. They have the normal coffee choice like Espresso (single, 25RMB) and Cappuccino (hot, 38RMB) as well as special options like espresso con panna (32RMB) meaning with cream in Italian. There is a long list of teas for those would don’t need a boost at 9 in the evening and smoothies for the anti-caffeine population. They sell freshly squeezed juices like Grapefruit & Apple or Cucumber & Pear (all 45RMB) but they also allow you to mix and match your own favorite juices (48RMB). Those who need a little something extra with their fix can order a coffee cocktail with Scotch, Bailey’s, and more (65RMB).
Quiet, tranquil avenue and serving good coffee, Lyceum makes for a decent cafe in my book. Explore this new area and see if you glean the same vibe.
Lyceum Cafe – First Floor, Lyceum Building, 185 Yuanmingyuan Lu, near Beijing Dong Lu, Huangpu district, (黄浦区圆明园路185号兰心大楼1楼, 近北京东路). Hours: 10am-10pm daily. Closest metro stop: East Nanjing Road, line 2.
See a complete list of our cafe reviews here.
By Noelle Albert
Noelle Albert is a contributor for the Shanghaiist Food desk. Email tips, recommendations, and news updates to [email protected]!