Tired of tourist crowds and overpriced fake-a-ccinos? Same here. With truly chilly weather just around the corner (it’s got to come sooner or later, right?), it’s time to grab a book or your best caffeine-addicted pal and try out these alternative, super-cosy coffee shops.
This little joint, tucked away just far enough from Waterloo, is a café by day and a bar by night – otherwise known as a win-win situation. The décor recalls 1950s Italy, and is faintly reminiscent of your grandma’s living room (that is if she’s really into Vespas and old junk). Mismatched furniture and the smell of proper Italian coffee invite you in; stronger tipples and awesome vibes make you stay. And return. 132 Lower Marsh, SE1 7AE. 7620 1421. Tube: Lambeth North.
2. Books for Cooks
You don’t have to be into cooking to cosy up at Books for Cooks – the guys behind the counter do that for you. Besides testing recipes and serving up new menus daily, they have over 8,000 foodie tomes for you to browse – and offer up mean cakes and coffee to boot. After visiting, you’re more than likely to head home and binge on ‘Bake Off’ for the rest of the day. 4 Blenheim Crescent, W11 1NN. 7221 1992. Tube: Ladbroke Grove.
3. Pavilion Café
The Pavilion has a huge advantage: once you’ve climbed Greenwich Park’s hills you’ll probably be too tired to venture anywhere else. A good thing too, because the coffee is great, the views are green as can be – aim for the mezzanine level – and both sweet and savoury bakes go down with a bang (crust haters need not ap-pie). Not to mention the trek down is much easier. Charlton Way, SE10 8QY.8858 9695. Greenwich rail.
4. Fleet Street Press
Although at first it might seem like you won’t fit inside, head down to the basement to find comfy sofas and armchairs just begging for you to spend the rest of your day there. A special house-blend coffee, a huge selection of loose-leaf teas and friendly staff make the place truly great – though the herds of attractive uni students aren’t necessarily a disadvantage either. 3 Fleet St, EC4Y 1AU. No phone. Tube: Temple.
If you’re not drawn in by the vegetable porn displayed outside, you will be by the – lo and behold! – dedicated cake counter. Not only does the Shoreditch branch of Albion cater to all your fanciest fancies with a huge selection of teas, coffee and food that even Waitrose could only dream of, it’s also situated on a fairly quiet street away from the bustle of Shoreditch – a must for lounging. 2-4 Boundary St, E2 7DD. 7729 1051. Shoreditch High Street Overground.
Vera Sugár, 25, is a Time Out reader and has contributed this piece as part of the TO reader takeover. An editor and writer living in Woolwich, she’s in a long-term platonic relationship with high tea, hoping to take it to the next level someday.
Caffeinate your day the correct way – with our list of London's best cafés and coffeeshops.
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