I'm always looking at City Weekend or Smart Shanghai to see what's going on around town. This week I found the Friday night English Corner at Lingo Bistro. It was cold outside & I briefly considered staying home, but in the end I thought it would not only be a good way to meet people in town, but I might be able to practice some Chinese too. So I bundled up & headed out.
I took the bus to the metro station, then the metro to People's Square, the center of town. It took me about 45 minutes to get there. The streets were empty on this Friday night before Chinese New Year. I wondered if there would be anyone at the English Corner after all.
When I got to the restaurant, I was greeted by Rachel, a friendly Chinese woman (they all have English names) who gave me a name tag & led me to the back of the cafe where a large group was gathered. There were about 50 people sitting on couches around low tables, chatting up a storm. Though most of the group was Chinese, everyone made an effort to speak in English - it was English Corner after all.
I stayed there for about three hours. I didn't get a chance to practice my Chinese, but I did meet some nice people, so I'd say it was worth it. They hold the English Corner every Friday night, so I may go back again. They also have a Chinese Corner there, but it's on Wednesdays, a work day for me. I'll have to keep looking.