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Jim's Cafe
Photograph: Jim's Cafe/Facebook

An iconic 1960s biker cafe has closed its doors for good

It's the end of the road for cult fry-up peddler Jim's Cafe

Written by
Alice Saville

There aren't many traces left of 'old Hackney' – the pre-gentrification neighbourhood where working class Londoners toiled in garment factories and let their hair down in cheap boozers and unpretentious caffs. Now, another remnant's been lost, as Jim's Cafe closes its doors for good.

This joint started life as an Italian cafe and ice cream shop in the '60s. Then, it pivoted to serving fry-ups to hungry locals, cooked by a proprietor known only as Dave. It closed in 2008, and lay empty for six years. Then came a largely respectful reincarnation, masterminded by biker clothing and lifestyle brand Black Skulls London. They kept the original frontage and put hipster-friendly updates on the original menu: scrambled eggs came with a sprinkling of Gruyère, the full English now came with sourdough toast, and salt beef hash and vegan burgers joined the line-up.

Time Out's four star review drew attention to the vintage car parked out front, and the leather jackets hanging on the walls, writing that 'the food is interesting enough to overshadow all the biker stuff'. But keeping both seasoned locals and newer arrivals to the borough happy is a tough balance to strike, with some online reviews complaining about the elevated prices and loud rock soundtrack.

Jim's Cafe announced that it was closing its doors for maintenance in March. Now, a spokesperson has told Eater that it's closed for good. Why? Apparently, 'it's classified'. But there are plenty of possible reasons for its closure, including the current exceptionally tough climate for hospitality: whopping energy bills, staffing shortages, and rising food prices. Perhaps some quixotic caff visionary will come along to reimagine Jim's once more, but for now, Hackney locals will have to head to The Vincent to get their fried egg fix. 

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