Although London is home to a wide array of excellent speciality coffee shops, sometimes the field can feel somewhat homogenous, with the occasionally uninviting aesthetic of industrial chic becoming the norm. Whether you’re in Hackney or Marylebone, tones of grey, concrete and industrial lighting fixtures predominate.
If you have a penchant for interiors and are looking for something a little different (whether it be a little bit of luxury or retro, neighbourhood charm) here’s our list of 5 cafes serving speciality coffee without the exposed ceiling beams and weathered wood.
Claridge’s – Brook Street, Mayfair, London W1K 4HR
The iconic Claridges has been a bastion of luxury since 1856, and is well known for its plush Art Deco design as well its impeccable and highly tailored service. One of the hotel’s lesser known strengths is its bespoke single origin brews provided by one of London’s best roasters, Workshop Coffee. For those who love a bit of pampering, but also do not want to compromise on the quality of their coffee, Claridges is an ideal destination.
Moko Made – 211 Kingsland Rd, London E2 8AN
Specialist coffee shops can sometimes be cold and unwelcoming spaces, carefully designed but lacking warmth and personality. Mokomade café in Hackney is the rare exception: a wonderfully charming and eclectic café that is a “junction of space and small stories”, as its owner Tomo Furikado puts it. The excellent Vagabond coffee, vintage crockery and delicious homemade japanese food are all part of the charm.
Glow Bar– 70 Mortimer St, Marylebone, London W1W 7RY
Scaffold boards and exposed brick seem to be almost obligatory features of third wave-coffee coffee shops these days. The Marylebone-based Glow Bar London, however, seems to be part of a rising trend which favours more pristine interiors, with pastel hues and shiny marble tops. Such places can sometimes skimp on the quality of the coffee, but not here: the venue serves up excellent brews courtesy of Alchemy Coffee Roasters. Also be sure to try the beautiful buddha bowls on offer!
Palm Vaults– 411 Mare St, London E8 1HY
Palm Vaults, located in Hackney, immediately draws you in with its explosion of retro prints, jazzy furniture and glitter. The brews also thrill: delicious Allpress coffee and a delightfully funky range of alt-lattes. Palm Vaults provides the ideal tropical escape from the dreary grey tones of London.
Arlo & Moe– 340 Brockley Rd, Brockley, London SE4 2BT
Arlo & Moe, a Brockley favourite, enchants with its warm, friendly atmosphere, comforting home cooked food and endearing 1950’s-inspired decor. The Mission Coffee Works espresso drinks are excellent too (be sure to try the Bombon!). Arlo&Moe truly delivers on providing excellent specialist coffee as well as the authentic neighbourhood feel which has sadly dissipated with the arrival of third-wave coffee shops.
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Written by Thomas Cury