These are the best of the classic cafes
left standing largely unharmed in London. Note that most keep
odd early closing times at the weekends - and often during the
week for that matter. Few open more than a couple of hours on
Saturdays. In the long-term all are under threat. Catch 'em now
whilst they're still standing.
Click here > for an at-a-glance Top Ten cafe guide.
Click here > for Central London
Click here > for the abbreviated No. 8 bus London
Also, here's the full unexpurgated
London Cafe Tour
that was put together for Architecture Week June 17 - 26 June
Coffee Bar (RIP), Haymarket WC1
Regis Snack Bar [Leadenhall
Place - behind Lloyds building] NEW
The City is a truly terrible place
for Aroma style coffee cesspits so stumbling across this fine
frontage in the shadow of Richard Rogers' monument to Mamon is
an especial treat. This has completely escaped the ravages of
other local establishments - all viciously subjected to high-finance
make-overs. The sign is large and brown with a period font and
boasts an old illuminated Coke sign. Inside it's 50s stools all
round with a couple of nasty modern silver tables providing the
only proper seating. This is a great place just to look at from
the outside and then move on. Heartwarming.
Barely noticeable amongst the French
brasseries this little hideaway has decent seating but a rather
nonedescript interior. Not as good as the nearby Sidolli [opp.
Goodge St tube] but it breaks up the monied monotony of Charlotte
St now the plucky little Venus Kebab House has been shut at the
lower corner of this boulevard of broken expense acounts.
Cafe [Holloway Rd] NEW
Despite the awful frontage this
has some charm. A good selection of solid wooden tables and chairs
[featuring worn tartan patterning] plus a back section with six
booths and powder blue formica panels make for a pleasant surprise.
Good rosewood wall fittings and cheapo portions. Most refreshing.
[It's maybe also worth a visit to the Trevi Italian restaurant
next to The Garage. This has a mini-lounge feel with booth seating
Hope Workers Cafe [Holloway
The name is better than the actual
establishment but for the brilliant array of polished wood chairs
and tables alone this is worth inclusion. All of them in full-on
classic mode and proudly displayed. Like the Highbury above it
has decent wall panels but an utterly bland interior otherwise.
Pity about the wretched metal doors and window surrounds.
Workmans Cafe [off King St Market
Tiny. Standing only but excellent formica interior.
Market Cafe [Fournier St] RIP
Gilbert & George's local! V.
Rough. odd int. composed of mismatched second hand seats and
odd junk tables. Open only from 1.00am to 1.00pm. G & G live
opposite down a few doors in a massive Huguenot house. Occasionally
they have been known to serve in the caff. Also thought that
they pumped money into keeping the place going through hard times.
Euston Rd Snack Bar [Opp. Gt Portland
Good ext. sign. is all that remains.
Criss Cafe [187 Balham High Rd]
Good plain cafe
Odd Spot Cafe [Opp. Riverside Centre
Good plain cafe features
in TFI Friday
3 Star [Salsbury Rd Queens Pk]
Good local cafe with plain int.
Jack's Cafe [Boundary Rd opp. old
Small plain rosewood & simple
good chairs - rarely open
Sergios [Eagle Place SW1]
Useful little cafe off Piccadilly.
Good sign and a few booths. Worth a look. But eclipsed by the
glories of The Euro Snack Bar nearby.
Continental [Kentish Town]
Good local cafe opposite the Forum venue. Good n' dingy - fair
Sidoli's Buttery [Alfred Pl WC1]
Good seats ext. sign and walls. Nr Goodge St tube. Seems to have
some sort of club running in the basement so very noisy and unrelaxed.
Still, a good find in this otherwise bereft area
Dino's [Spitalfields nr. Christchurch]
Good Italian - great brown formica banquettes and great specialist
chips! Once part of a mighty local family chain. Right next to
Hawksmore's masterpiece church in Spitalfields.
Pembroke Cafe [Warwick Rd W8]
Fair interior. Fine seating but
naff outside sign - opposite large Homebase store.
Conduit Coffee House [Lambs Conduit
Good beige booth seats in a fine little enclave off Holborn.
Large back section and good counter and tea machine.
A1 [Kings Cross]RIP
Hole in the wall in the lost dusty Cross. Good dark brown moribund
interior that is always too hot. Pleasantly scatty old lady runs
[Brunswick Centre nr Russell St tube]RIP
2 very good 70s style lounge-ish emporia one with excellent and
extensive mustard coloured leatherette seats and open all week
very late. Very Americanno in feel.
Rosemont Cafe [Rosemont
Rd NW3] NEW
"Alive and well and has apparently been here for 66 years!
Typical menu, Formica tables, value for money... a little find.The
lady who served us said she's been there for 30 years. £3.60
for full English." (Andre Millodot)
Windmill [Westbourne Pk Rd]
Good sign; great old couple rudely
taking orders; dirt cheap but so-so interior only! Stupendously
Electric [Norwood Rd/Tulse Hill
Bang opposite the Fire
Station. Smashing beige and horror-brown decor. Old pinball
machine and ramshackle kitchen. Right on the main drag of Norwood's
nightmare alley. They don't make them like this any more. Owner Stavros
Tsoukkas says: 'my family have been running the Electric for
over 30 years. We are very much still open for business, unchanged
in our smashing beige and horror brown decor.'
Mary's [Camberwell New Rd] RIP
Magnificent chairs and tables -
ugly view onto Walworth Rd - pensioner action guaranteed.
Cafe On The Green [Camberwell Green]
Small and scuzzy but good seats.
Endlessly arguing staff. Poor ext. sign.
Boggi's [Topham St EC1]RIP
Nice hidden family restaurant expansive
upstairs eaterie. A Guardian fave.
Five Stars Coffee Lounge [North
Row/Park Lane W1]
Great logo sign - unappealing average
70s int. Weird mirror walls - intriguing downstairs section
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