Tianzifang is definitely worth the visit. Not to mention only 15min walking from where I live (who knew?!). Quaint, and in a city like Shanghai that is extremely difficult to come by. Located between Taikang Lu and Jianguo Lu, it is filled with little boutiques, galleries, and restaurants and is situated in the traditional tiny backstreets that are massively giving way to apartment complexes elsewhere in this urban jungle. The locals still live in these streets, so it is somewhat strange to see the little old lady washing clothes in a sink next to modern art galleries (last picture).
Tianzifang still has a real feel, whereas Xin Tian Di (a more well-known and remodeled version of the backstreets) gave way to über expensive restaurants and bars. Xin Tian Di still holds a notch in my record books for most expensive beer I have ever bought ($20.29 for 1.0 liter of Paulaner Lager at the Paulaner Bräuhaus), beating out a 1.0 liter of Würzburger Pilsener for $12 from Zum Schneider in NYC and a $14.50 bottle of Stella Artois from the New York Palace Hotel, plus tip.
I ended up having a Long Island Ice Tea for 35RMB (same price of a Heineken) at an Indian restaurant called Lotus Land… my new-found friend is planning on opening an Indian fusion bar & grill in the very near future, so we were testing out the competition.