Classic Cafes: Alpino, Chapel Market N1 #2

ICaff enclaves of the 50s & 60s


Only the stylish serif typeface above the door indicates anything special from the outside but special the Alpino most certainly is. Founded in 1959 this monument has held on to every ounce of its characters for the best part of a century. The interior is a wonderland of museum-quality tables and shiny, worn wooden booth seating. On top of this the fluted wall panels, teak-veneer Formica, glossed-over 1950s anaglypta, red lino floor tiles, period wall heaters, glorious lamp fittings and pendant lighting, coat-hangers, dark teak detailing make this a Top Ten destination. (The Alpino's plum-patterned plate n' saucer sets are ceramic perfection). Simon, the Alpino's owner, is a caff-master of the old school; a gent who knows how to handle the old place to best effect. NB: For the flaneurs out there, this is a favoured Iain Sinclair stop-off on his Regent Canal walks.

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