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.
No event here now.
User reviews of Soloist Coffee
Went there with a friend today after reading positive sentiments about the place. We arrived at around 2.45 pm and was told by the waitress that the barista was not in so they couldn't serve any coffee! They expected him to come back in 30 mins to an hour. While I appreciate the subtle irony of a coffee shop unable to offer coffee, it seems very unprofessional on the barista's part to leave in the afternoon where most people actually buy coffee. Anyway, it's a new place and I won't let this incident affect my review of their products.
While waiting for the barista to return we deicded to order two cups of black tea (35 RMB per cup). The tea they serve is basically just a cup of hot water with a Lipton tea bag floating around in it. For 35 RMB? You gotta do better than that! Disappointing.
Finally Mr. Barista decided to return from his hiatus and we got our cappucino and americano. You can't get a better cappucino in Beijing, I promise you that. Very smooth, excellent beans, just perfect. My friend said the americano was also top notch.
The place itself is does have a very nice ambiance despite the slightly strange location near Qianmen. The vintage decor is nicely done and it's very quiet inside (especially on the first floor) so pretty ideal for getting some work done or chatting with friends.
Apart from the barista incident and the tea bag this place really sets the standard for good coffee in Beijing.
The coffee scene in Beijing is dismal and most coffee hunting trips end in disappointment. I'm almost brain washed into thinking that a coffee from Starbucks is as good as it gets...almost. You can imagine my delight and satisfaction then in finding a boutique cafe that serves great coffee. They roast their own beans and are not stingy with the grind and that in itself almost makes this place unique. The fact that they know how to brew it is icing on the cake.
Aside from the grind, they use Australian milk which is another big plus in my books. As for food, they serve a small range of pattiserie (various croissants) and cakes.
The atmosphere is comfortable with background jazz music and good service, wifi and is kept well cleaned and tidy.
I almost want to be selfish and keep this place to myself but I would be doing an injustice to all other coffee lovers in Beijing.