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Photograph: Ziferblat

A café where you pay by the minute has returned to London

By Stephanie Phillips
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Relaxing on the clock feels ever-so-slightly contradictory, but one London café has been trying to make time-keeping a positive part of your day for a few years now. Sadly, Ziferblat, the first pay-per-minute café in London, closed its doors in Shoreditch back in 2018. But now, the ‘living room’ café where punters are on the meter has made a return to the neighbourhood at a brand new address.

If you’ve never considered how much every precious second is worth and how best to spend it, Ziferblat – which also has branches in Russia and Ukraine – attempts to break it down for you. Guests are charged by time (7p per minute in the first hour), with the price decreasing each hour you spend there. Everything in the café is free except the time you’re there – and you better believe that includes unlimited tea and coffee, biscuits, and bread and onions from the cupboards, when in supply.

In return for your minute-by-minute fee, you’re encouraged to treat the café as a home away from home (maybe reconsider roaming around in your pants, though). Supposedly, along with the copious beverages, your cash will make you a part of a thriving community where you can do all the things you always wanted to do, whether that's making art, learning to play the piano, cooking up a feast or just finding a new co-working space.

Try it – the clock’s ticking…

Ziferblat, 1 Vince St, EC1V 9HB (entrance from Staff St). Old St tube. Open now.

Looking for more spots to enjoy a good brew? Take a peek our list of the city's best cafés.

Do you really need to rent a desk in a shared office? We pick 17 of the most unexpected places for freelancers to work.

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