Lvyang Road, the quiet lane off Nanshan Road with the International Youth Hostel is becoming a nice area for cafés and bars where young travellers and local students can mingle. The latest opening, La Vita Bar & Back Coffee, occupies the spot at the end of the lane right next to the West Lake. In fact, it’s the closest bar to the West Lake at only 20m away. The second floor dining room has wrap around windows along the entire north and west side of the room, giving great views of the lake.
The speciality here is the fabulous cocktails (50-80RMB) created by bartender/manager Allen. He’ll ask you what kind of flavour you like, whether you want a classic or new style cocktail and then design a drink to suit your tastes. For our first cocktail, we requested something with cream and he made us a pretty pastel pink concoction served in a delicate glass goblet. The ladies at the table fell in love with it at first sight and the sour sweet taste was delightful. Since Allen just created this cocktail for us today, he doesn’t have a name for it. If you want to order it, just mention to him that it contains X-Rated liquor, vodka, cream and lemon juice.
Allen will then create more cocktails for you based on your reaction to the previous drink. He followed up with an orange cocktail made with vodka, wheat beer, elderflower essence, orange pulp and a sprig of rosemary. Lastly, we had a sweet and refreshing yangmei cocktail made with rum and topped with a fleshy berry.
For men, Allen will recommend cocktails with whiskey or aged rum as the base. Ice cubes are hand carved into different shapes to complement the different cocktail glasses.
Back Coffee shares the space with La Vita bar and serves western food like salads, soups, pasta, pizza as well as some Asian food like curries, baked rice and rice porridges. We really enjoyed the Salmon Porridge (35RMB), it was flavourful and comforting and the addition of ginger and green onions gave it a Cantonese taste. The Grilled Australian Sirloin (168RMB) with arugula and parmesan was also very nice, thinly cut beef cooked rare and liberally seasoned with salt and pepper.
Back Coffee is open from 10am-3am, with La Vita bar open from 7pm-3am. Parking is available.