Chun Feng De Yi Tea House, 337 Middle Fang Bang Street, tel: 86 21 6373 4860. This place takes its name from the Tang-dynasty poem House of Spring Breezes And Glee, and with its round-bellied, chortling patrons, and the constant breeze off the nearby Huangpu River, neither are in short supply. Traditional wooden bench tables encourage conversation between strangers, and waiters seemingly high on caffeine whirl about with steaming copper pots topping up glasses. There is no English menu but the house green tea, served with a side dish of salted peanuts for 10 yuan (HK$9), is recommended. Amon's House, 452 Fang Bang Street, tel: 86 21 5382 0416. Amon's softly spoken owner, Shong Zhi Ming, has a penchant for crooners such as Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole, whose songs he likes to play late into the night, letting his customers linger longer over their drinks than proprietors of other tea houses. Shong was a landscape gardener in Beijing before he threw in the trowel and travelled south to open a tea house in the Old City. Now he fills his days discussing books, authors and their philosophies with his customers, most of whom work in nearby shops or the Yu Yuan Gardens tourist area. Amon's crude-oil strength 'American' coffee is a hit. Old Shanghai Tea House, 385 Middle Fang Bang Street, tel: 86 21 5382 1202. Old Shanghai Tea house offers a taste of 'old Cathay' with its dreamy-eyed waitresses in silk qipao gliding across the room bearing lacquered trays laden with exotic teas and snacks of quails' eggs and 'Shanghai olives' (pickled plums). The menu is extensive and features everything from passion fruit green tea and roasted water melon seeds to cappuccino with 'amorous peanuts'. Prices start at 10 yuan for tea and 18 yuan for coffee. Curios, including 1930s tourist maps and yellowing photographs of Shanghai's heaving waterfront during its colonial 'glory days', line the walls. Huxin Ting Tea House, Yu Yuan Gardens, tel: 86 21 6373 6950. The atmosphere here is anything but local, but its location at the centre of the Yu Yuan Gardens Lotus Pool is perfect for a spot of spiritual reflection. Patrons must cross Nine-zigzag Bridge to reach the pavilion. Recommended is the longjing (or 'dragon's well') tea, which you can sip while taking in classic Chinese folk tunes played by the resident orchestra. Prices are higher than elsewhere, but for 15 yuan you can have endless refills, or watch waitresses performing an evening tea ceremony for 55 yuan. Tang Shong Di Jiu Jia liquor store (corner of Deng Feng and Fang Bang Streets). Not strictly a teahouse, but after you have worn out your shoes tackling Fang Bang Street's curio shops it proves a good place to recharge the batteries and sample the local fire-water. The speciality is home-made mao tai, that curious-smelling rice liquor whose taste is reminiscent of musty plums and molasses, and which is served by the ladle from torpedo-sized ceramic kegs. A bowl, at 15 yuan, costs the same as a packet of Double Happiness cigarettes, although as you drain the dregs you might think someone mixed up the names. Shing Shung Tea Bar, 195 North Huang Pi Road, tel: 86 21 6358 2682. Although outside the Old City walls, this cosy tea house-cafe, in the shadow of the wave-like Shanghai Grand Theatre near the People's Square, is worth the cross-town trek just for its chilled black apple tea and coconut toast. When lunch hour is over and the well-heeled corporate types have departed, the tea house takes on a more turn-of-the-century European feeling as huddles of Othello players and pensive smokers reclaim the chairs around the dark, wood-panelled room and try to make sense of the Edith Piaf tunes floating in from the kitchen.