Hong Kong is an expensive city to live in, which means that for cafés and coffee shops in the city, they often have to take things to a new height – literally. Tucked away above ground and away from crowded streets, upstairs cafes provide sanctuary for city dwellers looking to escape the hustle and bustle. From trendy spots that offer seriously Instagrammable dishes and décor to joints like that double up as vintage stores, here are some of the best upstairs cafes our city has to offer.
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Hong Kong’s best upstairs cafés
For an upscale dining experience that won’t break the bank, Cafe Zense is the place to be. Situated in the heart of Causeway Bay, this small but well-loved café allows you to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and simply unwind. Whether you want to enjoy the calming ambience of al fresco dining or catch up with your bestie over a glass of wine, the cafe’s spacious patio allows you to do just that. The food here isn’t shabby either, with dishes like cheesy fries and crab and mushroom linguine as well as delicious iced smoothies. Make multiple trips so you can sample everything – it just makes zense.
Ok, technically this cafe isn't located upstairs, but it is definitely well hidden. Located just below a sex shop – as most respectable coffee shops are, Café Corridor is one of Causeway Bay’s best-kept secrets. Offering some of the best java in town, you can reach this secret hideout located just opposite Times Square. Squeeze past the narrow corridor decorated with ads of massage parlours and sex shops, and caffeine lovers will be welcomed with a variety of black and white coffee, as well as specialty Melbourne-style brews like Magic and Dirty (specific coffee to milk ratio).
Nestled in an old industrial building in Cheung Sha Wan, this unassuming café provides an excellent hideout for those who are in desperate need of a little me time. Come perch yourself on a swinging chair, snuggle up to a hot cuppa in the lounge area surrounded by pillows, or better yet, treat yourself to the cafe’s dreamy range of crepe cakes that taste just as heavenly as it looks. And if you’re still not satisfied, Healing, Go Yard also boasts a small, but nonetheless beautiful selection of clothes and accessories to shop from. With everything you need under one roof, there’s no better way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Whether it’s insensitive or satirical to decorate the walls with caricatures of Osama Bin Laden, Kim Jong-un and Saddam Hussein, it’s undeniable that Loyi Faateng is unique in the Hong Kong café scene. This shabby-chic café is decked out in vintage décor – we’re talking classic green-and-white floor tiles, old sewing machines, vintage cameras and an impressive collection of nostalgic toys and gadgets. Serving a variety of Italian dishes and smooth coffee, Loyi Faateng has a casual and relaxed vibe that makes it the perfect place to rest up, eat up and catch up with a few friends – and dictators. Loyi Faateng is already in the progress of setting up their second location, Sicklyland. More details to come later.
Tucked away in an unassuming commercial building on the skirts of Causeway Bay, this quirky cafe is anything but “mamaday”, which literally translates to ‘so-so’ in Cantonese. From the Secretive members-only door (to apply for membership, The applicant must be able to touch their elbows with their tongue) to the many, many bright decor and quirky quotes, there are surprises around every corner. Mamaday has also recently opened up a second location aptly named OMG Mamaday in Tsim Sha Tsui that’s just as, if not more, fun and wacky. We could go on and on all day about how much we love this place but we still wouldn’t do it justice. So really, just go and check it out for yourself!
One step inside this joint and you might find yourself asking if this is a café, an art gallery, a thrift store or a whimsical secret garden. Why not all of the above? Before you start going camera-crazy and snapping pics for the ’gram, take in the café’s beautiful hand-drawn menu and have a go at their unique variety of tea and cakes. Crowd favourites include the rose and mixed berry cheesecake and the butterfly pea lime cheesecake. The owners of this kooky-yet-loveable shop are always travelling around the world, so if you’re planning to visit, be sure to follow the cafe’s Facebook and Instagram for opening hours.
This place isn’t just a coffee shop, it doubles up as an antique store and a co-working space, where they sell pretty much anything: teacups, typewriters, bags, you name it. It’s crammed with old-timey furniture and knick-knacks, dried flower bouquets, and even vintage fashion. Their food and beverages are no less exquisite, serving colorful teas and cakes on fancy china. They have hand drip coffee from countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, Colombia, as well as ice drip coffee and ice drip sparkling coffee, which you can also get with special lavender flavor.
Hidden deep inside an industrial building in Kwun Tong, School Café is the stomping grounds for not only foodies but local celebrities too. Transporting you back in time to your childhood days – think wooden school tables, chalkboards, old books and vintage toys – it has everything you need to feel like you're back in primary school. Not only does the café serve a wide selection of Taiwanese comfort food, it also regularly holds handicraft markets, selling everything from handmade soap to fashion. Come for the ambience and stay for the shopping.
Hidden in an old and unassuming building, this relaxing spot is a warm and inviting space adorned with wooden décor, dried flowers and fresh greenery. It’s the perfect place to sit back, enjoy delicious cakes, calming floral teas, and snuggle up in the company of the café’s cute and friendly felines.
Although primarily a furniture workshop, 廿一由八 Pantry (also known as Twenty One From Eight) is home to a Le Cordon Bleu chef. Unsurprising then, the food and coffee here are of a high calibre. Grab a seat on the sofa or on one of the stools and indulge in treats like blackened fish with creamy lemon linguine or Black Forest ham with pesto linguine.