Boonna Cafe (Xin Le Lu)

On a small street, at the heart of the French Concession, there is this cafe that a friend mentionned over diner, Boonna Cafe. It’s not a bar, nor a French Grand Cafe type, but definitely kind of a Manhattan inspired coffee joint. About 10 meters by 5, with 9 tables and 25 seats, it’s not the biggest Cafe I know in Shanghai but it’s really friendly. Yellow and Red walls, giving light when the Shanghai suns goes away (i.e. most of the days). Lot’s of books, black and wait pictures on the wall… even a ganja leaf somewhere in a corner. Some blues notes playing in the background. This place has a slightly artistic, alternative touch. It’s not really Chinese, but these kind of places are so needed in Shanghai to make it more international. I love the atmosphere of a small place owned and run by a couple of friends. It’s just the opposite of big chains, the opposite of standardisation, though globalisation and media overexposure gives it an air of deja-vu. Starbucks has opened the way, now it’s time for more intimate places with a real atmosphere. Great place for a date, for starting a relationship, for closing one or meeting this friend perdu de vue since a few months… and last but not least, they have no smoking policy today… Definitely recommended for frequent visits.