One of the five venues that were chosen to stay open permanently after Design Hop: Dashilar Alley during Beijing Design Week in the autumn, Soloist Coffee is a treasure trove of old, interesting furnishings.

You can spend the entire afternoon lounging around, listening to jazz, and appreciating an attention to detail that extends from American lockers and lamps from the 1920s, to ornate Chinese cinema chairs from the 1980s and a piano from England also from the ’80s. To steep it even further in history, the space itself was a public bathhouse in a previous life.

The cafe offers specialty coffee with beans roasted in-house and approved by a licensed Q grader from Coffee Quality Institute who ensures the highest standards. Coffee prices hover around RMB 35 while the menu regularly changes based on stock. The Ethiopia Aramo (RMB 55) had a crisp and fresh taste, while the cappuccino (RMB 40) was incredibly smooth.

For those with a sweet tooth, their homemade cheesecake (RMB 35) should not be ignored. With a prominent taste of cheese, it’s thick, but not too rich and made from imported French cream cheese. No flour is added – it’s the real deal.

Soloist Coffee
Daily 11.30am-8pm. 39 Yangmeizhu Xiejie, Xicheng District (5711 1717)
600m southwest of Qianmen station (Line 2)

Also try: Knewzaba, Beiluo Bread Bar

A version of this article appears in the February 2014 issue of the Beijinger

Photos: Ken