Reading can be one of life’s most relaxing activities, but a dark and boring apartment is hardly the ideal location. To avoid distractions and get the most out of every word, consider visiting one of these venues the next time you want to sink into a good book.
In spite of its tiny size, CAVA COFFEE is seldom crowded. The dim and quiet atmosphere makes it the right choice for serious readers. The wooden furnishings, Latin paintings and upright piano set it apart from the city’s other quiet getaways.
We recommend the window seats at the front of the store where you can immerse yourself in the cool summer breeze.
Make sure you get a sofa seat instead of a bench, otherwise you will hardly be able to endure a half day of sitting.
The shelves are well stocked with books and magazines, many of which are hard to find for sale anywhere else. Graffiti is allowed if you bring a pen.
Room 106, 2 Gongti Dong Lu, Chaoyang
(010) 8587 5885
Located in Sanlitun, The Bookworm is a fixture in both Chinese and English-speaking readers circles. Most books in The Bookworm are in English and selected for an international audience.
An alley location helps isolate The Bookworm from the noise and bustle of Sanlitun’s bars and malls. Nostalgic patrons will appreciate the retro decor, which seems inspired by a traditional British library.
It’s easy to see why The Bookworm is such a hit among Beijingers. The spacious, interconnecting rooms with floor-to-ceiling books on every wall can easily inspire one to quiet down and read.
You might want to avoid stopping in on the weekends if you just want to read. The crowds can be intense. Thursday nights are out too, since those are when The Bookworm hosts book parties and talks.
Building 4, Nan Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang
(010) 6586 9507
The chain store Red Cuppa ranks high on the preference list of Chinese readers thanks to its soft lights and cozy sofas.
Coffee cabinets display the store’s collection of fragrant beans from all over the world, and on some nights the shop screens classic concerts on its big screen.
You can brew your own coffee on the second floor of Red Cuppa whenever you need a break from reading or a little refreshment.
If you are still reading at 8 pm, you’ll be there for when the store shuts off its light and switches to wax candles. While it may be hard on the eyes, the candlelight makes for a very romantic reading environment. Table lamps are available by request for readers who are prone to eyestrain.
Apart from the DIY space, the second floor features a grand French window that gives a great view of the outside street.
Friday is the night for live music, so avoid reading on that night unless you are into noise and crowds.
Red Cuppa is open from 7 am to 1 am the next day.
Building 23, Tianshui Xiyuan, Chaoyang
(010) 6599 6378