The Mid-Lake Pavilion Teahouse is situated in the middle of the ornamental lake nearby the Nine Zigzag Bridge that brings you to the entrance to the Yuyuan Garden, one of the hottest tourist spots in Shanghai. This teahouse is the oldest teahouse in Shanghai as well as the symbol of Old Shanghai. It is also one of the most famous teahouses in China.
So many stories about Mid-Lake Pavilion Teahouse are being told by older generations. It is said that before 1950s, teahouses were everywhere on the streets, gathering people to spend their leisure time. However, such teahouses which represented a slow life style started to disappear, especially in the central business areas in the city. There is one exception, though, the Mid-Lake Pavilion Teahouse.
The Mid-Lake Pavilion was designed to be an integral part of Yuyuan Garden when it was initially built during the Ming Dynasty. It has been serving as a teahouse since 1855. Over 150 years passed, the aroma of tea is still swirling around the peaceful two-storey pavilion. The all-wood construction doesn’t include even one iron nail. The jointing parts are fit together by bamboo wedges, which is quite astonishing.
The morning tea here is the most popular. Every early morning, regular guests show up at Mid-Lake Pavilion and prefer taking seats by the windows. Coming in small groups, they were strangers first, but they became friends after years of spending the mornings together. The window seats are so popular that the later-arrived have to sit and chat around the Baxian table (an old-fashioned square table for eight people). You will be amazed by the wide-ranging topics that are heated discussed around the tables. Though a little bit noisy, the teahouse is a beautiful morning view of the city.
When the seats on the first floor are all occupied, you can go upstairs. Same as the first floor, the second floor has the charming Chinese antique look, with rich old-fashioned air filling up the elegant spaces. Seats by the windows with a view of the lotus pool are placed next to round marble tables engraved with Chinese-style clouds and water. Opening the small window, you will get an entire view of Yuyuan Garden and the ancient pavilions partly hidden in old trees. Looking far, you will be impressed by the skyscrapers on the other side of Huangpu River. It is fantastic when the views of the old days and modern times both come into sight.
In the Mid-Lake Pavilion Teahouse, you can have high-class tea and taste delicious snacks such as preserved plums and small glutinous rice dumplings, while enjoying the tea ceremony or listening to traditional Chinese music. The reputation of the teahouse attracts not only the local tea-lovers, but also special guests from all over the world. Queen Elizabeth Ⅱ has dropped in for tea when she visited Shanghai in 1986.
(Queen Elizabeth Ⅱ paid a visit to the Mid-Lake Pavilion Teahouse in 1986.)
Add: 257, Yuyuan Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai.
Opening Hours: 08:00 am – 21:00 pm daily