:www.classiccafes.co.uki | The Very Best of London's Vintage Formica Caffs | iUpdated: Mar 10 2010

Often dismissed as 'greasy spoons', Classic Cafes are actually little gems of British vernacular high street design. This site celebrates their ambience and architecture with over 130 vintage London Formica caffs (and many others around Britain) reviewed, revealed & reappraised. But as Time Out Restaurant Guide noted, the site isn't simply: "a set of recommendations... it's a whole aesthetic!"; an immersive re-exploration of a cultural phenomenon that is fading all too fast. The Classic Cafes Book -- now long out of print -- has been acclaimed by the Royal Institute of British Architects as 'sumptuous... beautiful... breathtaking... deeply evocative...', and praised by the Twentieth Century Society as a work of 'genius... passionate... elegiac... '.

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'[One of the] Top 50 best London websites' Time Out
'***** [5/5] ...
will have you longing to return to a time before Starbucks' The Good Web Guide
'The Pevsner of mid-century cafe architecture' The Guardian
'Perfect... a brilliant guide' Evening Standard
'Genius... passionate, elegiac...' The Twentieth Century Society
'Brilliant' The Sunday Times
'A cult web classic' Financial Times
'Everything a cafe connoisseur could want... poignant... melancholy' Daily Telegraph
'Wonderfully evocative...' The Independent

'You can track the emergence of an [hauntological] elegiac sensibility through landmarks like... Classic Cafes' The Wire
'Too good to be true' Space
'An awesome achievement' Urbanomic/Undercurrent
'A total must'
LBC/News Direct
'Marvellous... death to Starbucks' Bob Stanley (Saint Etienne)
'The undisputed caff polymath... lyrical... vibrant' FX Magazine
'A great resource' New Economics Foundation
'Not just a set of recommendations... it's a whole aesthetic!' Time Out Guides
'Consistently brilliant' Londonist
'My all-time favourite website' Richard Lister
'A wonderful, enthusiastically compiled celebration (*****)' NyLonTai
'One of the most beautiful sites I have come across... full of care... elegant and touching' Feargus O'Sullivan
'Incontournable' Marche a Londres
'Superb' Die Zeit

All photos & editorial © Classic Cafes 1999-2008. B&W photos on this page by Phil Nicholls. Strictly no use without permission.