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Yona Cafe
    • ADDRESS:
      116 Nantangbang Lu,
      near Dapu Lu
    • PHONE:
      138 1744 7794
    • WECHAT:
    • AREA:
    • METRO:
      10 mins walk from Dapuqiao
    • HOURS:
      Daily, 7pm-4am
    • CARDS:
      Alipay, WeChat
    • WEB:
    • Editor's Description
      A technicolor blend of bar, restaurant, cafe, house, and otaku museum, Yona Cafe is one of the city's finest hidden gems. A few blocks south of Dapuqiao, inside a xiaoqu, and around a few corners is this dimly lit place one could easily spend hours in. There's so much to dig, from the Fritz the Cat and Superfly posters to the video games and toys to the well-curated rock, punk, and soul to R&B coming out of the speakers. The drinks are cheap and good and they serve up some truly beautiful Japanese and fusion dishes that look like a pro chef cooking at a house party. You can tell right away that a lot of details and a lot of love went into this portal. One note: This is a small operation, so be prepared - service can be slow. Don't come here starving.
    Photos by BRANDON MCGHEE
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    • Yona Cafe is hidden, but it's not a speakeasy. It's way too cool to be a speakeasy.

      Part bar, part technicolor cafe, part otaku museum, Yona Cafe feels more like a home than a business. That's partly because their plates look like souvenirs from trips to secret worlds, and partly because it's in a xiaoqu. Down a quiet road south of Dapuqiao, behind an art shop, and around a winding corner, the smiling neon green guy sitting on the entrance sign is your first sign of good vibes here.

      On a rainy December night, a couple came in searching for draft beer and a snack, settled into a private booth next to a Fritz The Cat poster, and accidentally stayed for hours enjoying draft beer, highballs, Japan-style shrimp crackers (must order), vintage toys and video games, and a DJ's mix of funk, soul, rock, and early 2000's R&B. With only two employees, foods emerged slowly and with the detail one expects from a pro chef hosting a house party. After apologizing for the long wait times, a waitress presented two bags containing Yona Café glasses of the highest quality, to take home.

      The amount of detail and fun here is rare, and it feels like this place genuinely cares about its patrons. Instead of some Instabait neon sign with a trite slogan, the sign in the bathroom asks something much more real: "Is your date going bad? Is someone making you feel uncomfortable? Please tell us. We can call a taxi. We can help."

      There's a lot more to this portal, but that would be like reading the strategy guide instead of playing the game. Enjoy!

      Read More

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