Site News: 2000

Reviews #1
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Reviews #3
Lost Cafes
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The New Rock n' Roll

Nov 25 2000
Alan Benett's TellingTales series is trailing a forthcoming reminiscence devoted to the cafes of Leeds. We hope to be able to run excerpts after the broadcast.


Nov 19 2000
The Evening Standard website This Is London has started running a desultory Keep Our Cafes campaign under the heading Save Our Sausages. On the back of this LWT have apparently been preparing a caff piece for their 'Seven Days' slot. Not before time. Two more significant vanishings in the last months: Serafino's old Italian restaurant in Mayfair's Mount St and the legendary Market Cafe in Spitalfields. Both have been ripped out so crap provincial theme bars can be installed for office drones. Click here for some new reviews of caffs in darkest Ilford. Still sorting through the Palma backlog and planning a new trip to Lisbon - heading for the atmospheric upper town. NEW Also in preparation...a personal memoir about the author's lifetime addiction to forlorn caffs, disparaged boozers and thickly sliced toast. Just to warn regular visitors - this will inevitably be optioned immediately, turned into a 'lad lit' classic and thence reworked sensitively into an LA based crypto-High Fidelity light romantic comedy. The film rights to this website have already been valued at a perky £250,000 but as the bidding whirrs up we hope to keep a steady head and do the right thing.


Oct 22 2000
The bi-annual Classic Cafes bash to Malorca is now completed. A vast new archive of superb Spanish 'old mens' caffs and bars has been amassed and will be posted in a Palma special shortly. Other good news...the mighty Pellicci in Bethnal Green Rd is now FULLY restored to its former glory. A quick chat to the staff revealed that months of work has gone into rebuilding the kitchens and painstakingly reassembling all the intricate interior woodwork. A full report and interview with the Pellicci family is pending. Also, a New Piccadilly interview and photo update will be prepared shortly.


Aug 20 2000
Good-ish news on The New Piccadilly front - the finest Soho caff survivor in Denman St. It seems the newly renegotiated lease will keep the place open for some time. But...the whole street is now under a planning threat for total demolition. Westminster Council inform us however the planners have not made a good case and the scheme could be held up for ages. This site has already made written objections and will be making further protestations via the Soho Society. The Pellicci now seems to have had the upper floors and windows repaired but the interior appears to have been knocked out completely. A shocking and worrisome state of affairs for all caff lovers. On a happier note...forthcoming photo specials are being prepared on Vinces [off Theobalds Rd] and Mr Lorenzo head of New Piccadilly. New reviews in #3 also. An arsenal of new pix is being prepared for the site and will filter through over the next month. Keep checking in.


Jul 11 2000
New reviews & pictures from assorted caffs dotted round the nether regions of the Hackney and Dalston death valley. This area actually IS pure Pinter territory - where the great man himself was born and educated. Whilst digesting this exclusive content acquisition, note also the debut of our startling and ingenious new homepage strapline alluding to the site's tasteful minimalist utility-build virtues: "Classic Cafes: A seemly digital sash in a crass uPVC velux cyberscape.' Building on our much lauded NO FLASH, NO JAVA, NO PLUG-INs stance we invite visitors to not only 1) comment on this catchy log-line but also to 2) suggest better ones! 'Keep 'em Classic' and keep 'em coming. Signed picture prize for the best suggestions. Or something.


Jul 7 2000
We plan to carry ongoing reports about the progress of Pellicci's as reconstruction work starts. Interviews with the family owners and pictures of the gutted interior will be posted shortly. The Pellicci is one of London's greatest classic cafes and we hope to keep a close eye on developments. The London Cafe Book [Vega £9.99] - which isn't about cafes and which is to be otherwise avoided at all costs - does however have great b/w pix of the mighty P. in its heyday.


Jul 2 2000
Sally is a Classic Cafes fan who has just sent this e-mail about a trip to Canada. Luckily a Classic Cafes snitch in Toronto may be able to send over pix to show what we're missing...

"I've just come back from a trip to Canada and thought classic cafes fans might like to hear about a remarkable place in Toronto (can't find any mention of it on the links to this site)

It's called the Lakeview Diner and is situated in downtown Toronto, on Dundas St. The story goes (and is apparently true) that, a few years after it opened in 1947, there was a dispute in the family that owned in. This resulted in the owners giving up on the place and locking the door of the diner at the close of business one day. It remained locked for many years.

Forty years later, a new owner unlocked the doors on this untouched 1940s paradise, and, basically, gave it a good clean and began serving food again, leaving all the original fixtures and fittings in place! This owner has now moved on but the current owners are keeping the faith.

It truly is like walking back in time when you enter this chrome and wood diner. The lunch counter is wooden, with a beautiful patina of age. Behind it, there are original soda fountains and chunky aluminium coolers for pop. Chrome and vinyl stools are fixed in front of the counter.

Further into the dark and shady interior, original tables and booths, with coat hooks, are all still in place. The floor is dingy linoleum, the radiators, light fittings, wash basins etc are all original. It's beautiful! The only thing I would change is remove some of the 'period' adverts and pictures which the current owners have put on the walls. There are a few too many to be authentic. But I am splitting hairs. Suffice to say, it is a gem. May it never change. Oh, the food is pretty average but who cares! (I'm kicking myself for not taking photos)

(Almost) worth a plane ticket to Toronto!!"


Jun 26 2000
Pellicci update: from the No. 8 bus, damage to the interior looks more extensive than thought. Nearly all the back walls of the cafe have been demolished and the upper exterior windows remain boarded up. Can this magnificent temple of vitrolite and dark wood be reborn? East End Life newspaper contacted Classic Cafes for comment about the fire and to tell us the place wasn't wholly lost to demolition.


Jun 7 2000
Caff masters in conversation! Three new exclusive interviews and pictures featuring writers, cafe owners and designers. Iain Sinclair is one of Britain's leading novelists and essayists [NB: included here is montage artwork by Sinclair of Alfredo's cafe N1]; Quentin Reynolds designed London cafe-style restaurants RK Stanleys and Alfred and Mr Burkeman runs the excellent Copper Grill at the back of Liverpool St. [Sinclair and Burkeman portraits by Phil Nicholls. More interviews to follow.]

Classic Cafes | Iain Sinclair interview [w/ montage]

Classic Cafes | Quentin Reynolds interview

Classic Cafes | Mr Burkeman interview


Jun 2 2000
The wonderful Pellicci in Bethnal Green has been closed due to fire-damage in the kitchens. Latest news is that some of the amazing interior panelling has been slightly damaged around the kitchen hatch and that some stained glass work has been affected. Despite some boarding up outside the Pellicci will re-open. Reports of its death are - thankfully - premature. Scares like this only confirm our resolve that the supreme Pellicci must be saved once and for all for the nation as a vital exemplar of British vernacular architecture.


May 20 2000
New section devoted to cheap cafes in central London accessed via link at the top of all the reviews pages. More pictures. Design refinements throughout site. Also, new 'return to top of page' links at bottom of all sections to help with longer scrolls. Music section extended.


May 1 2000
Feature recommendations in the weeks' issue of Time Out and Internet Magazine - Britain's largest web mag. Extensive site update. All new scans for clarity and faster loading. A new 'enclaves' section is in development under Extra in the navigator bar. Much miscellaneous editing and rewriting. New page design. An offer from London Arts to record a radio broadcast based round the site. Preparations for PR campaign.


Apr 28 2000
Double page caffs article in Evening Standard lamenting pace of closure of proper London cafes against the rise of the chain coffee spots.


Apr 19 2000
Exclusive and extensive interviews conducted with: master caff-interior conceptualist and designer Quentin Reynolds; Britain's leading psychogeographical novelist Iain Sinclair, and owner of the magnificent 'Copper Grill,' Mr Burkeman. scanner acquired for site pix and graphics. A sumptuous new archive of images is being prepared for every page.


Apr 1 2000
Classic Cafes exclusive: forthcoming interviews with top British author Iain Sinclair and leading UK interior designer Quentin Reynolds confirmed. Also...100 new pictures in preparation to be added this month. Original site pix were all scanned incorrectly taking too long to download. Over the next month all of them will be fed back in properly. Pictures for 'enclaves' section being prepared.


Mar 23 2000: First feature appears in 'Space' [Guardian 23.3.2000]
Within days of this site going live The Guardian architecture/interiors supplement did a rave quarter page feature prompting a deluge of e-mail.

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