Sit back and relax
The space is small. The decor simple. The menu unassuming.
That may not sound like a formula to create an Internet frenzy, but Lazy Coffee and Bar tops the list of the 10 best places for a tea-time break by netizens on Dianping.com, a popular website designed for people to rate dining service.
On the main street of Beijing’s Beiluoguxiang, the bar is an oasis of serenity, as opposed to the hustle and bustle at Nanluoguxiang, just a stone’s throw away.
The main area is no more than 30 square meters and home to several small tables covered with quadrilled cloth, wooden chairs, a small bookshelf with CDs and books, and a long, comfortable couch. A more private room in the back can accommodate three to five people.
The bar’s coffee offerings are all made from the beans of Italian coffee brand Illy. A tiny cup of handmade espresso, with its dense brown film on top, enables you to fully savor the essence of the coffee beans. The brewis moderately bitter with a hint of sourness, and we’re advised to drink it quickly — before it gets cold, and before the sour edge takes over and ruins the balance of flavors.
The Blue Love, a cold nonalcoholic cocktail, features a French blue curacao syrup mixed with soda water and lemonade made with homemade syrup on the bottom layer. The big glass gives a good first impression, and the nice balance of sweet, sour and soda refreshes without leaving a sticky aftertaste in the mouth, as many sweet drinks do. Mojitos and other alcoholic cocktails are available, too.
The banana-flavored smoothie boasts natural ingredients: a mash of milk, banana and homemade syrup. Nothing extraordinary but simple and healthy.
Another highlight of the bar is the desserts, especially the owner’s homemade waffles. Butter cream, blueberry sauce and fresh banana slices are poisedonthe side, ready to complement the thick, soft-centered waffle.
“We mix flour and milk together and don’t add any water in making the waffle,” says Wang Xiankang, one of the two owners of the bar.
The ball-shaped cookie, handmade by the owners, is also popular, says Wang. It has a strong granular texture, and a dotting of chocolate particles on the surface.
Other desserts are made by Wang’s friend Cao Kai, formerly a pastry chef with the JW Marriott Hotel. The brownie packs a load of walnuts and plenty of chocolate flavor.
Most of the bar’s drinks and desserts are no more than 30 yuan ($4.80).
Wang Xiankang and Zhang Sen were longtime DJs, and they opened the shop as a labor of love to keep entertaining friends from their music circle. They didn’t hire any waitstaff — they double as waiters themselves.
“We didn’t aim to make our small bar too commercialized and all foods are priced within ordinary people’s reach,” saysWang.
The homey atmosphere is also designed to drawin regular customers. Guests are treated as the shopkeepers’ friends.
“I often spend half a day here, sitting around and chatting with the boss,” says Chi Yu, a 27-year-old woman in the computer software service industry.
“It’s hard to find a place without chaos for us born and bred in Beijing, and Beiluoguxiang offers us a getaway in the noisy environment.”
People will automatically lower their voices once they are enveloped in the bar’s ambience, Chi notes, “so I never feel bothered”.
Wang Xiankang even banned card-playing at the bar, risking the loss of some customers to create a cozy and relatively peaceful environment.
“The boss is very nice, the food here is not too sweet, and drinks are freshly made,” says Xu Jing, a regular at the bar.
Xu especially loves the homemade cookies and will often purchase a bag of them to go. She usually spends time here reading books.
Both customers love to play with the dog. WiFi service is also available.
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