Are you triggered by any or all of these words? Such as Pyjamas, blank email, boring days, long work hours. If yes, then congratulations, you know what it’s like to work from home.
There is a reason why cafes and coffee shops exist: to make all of the above things interesting. Aside from a good coffee, you need a comfortable place, a good wifi, and a lot of the sacred plug points. These are the best cafes in London that have everything you need to get your work done and have a good time.
Esters is all about seasonality, sustainability and experimentation – and we love it. It only sources its coffee from roasters that it trusts, and all tea comes from plantations of less than six hectares. Along with eggs-and-sourdough classics, this lends itself to an exciting range of breakfast and lunch options, done really well. It’s big on supporting local suppliers and sources whatever it can’t make in-house from as near as possible. You can’t reserve a table here, so you’re going to have to be prepared to wait or get here early to beat the queues but visiting this one of the best cafes in London is going to be worth it.
Casual vibrations, an ethical approach to sourcing ingredients and spacious, industrial-chic interiors combine to make Stoke Newington’s Jolene something special. The team keeps things fresh with menus that change daily and elevated dishes made from sustainably sourced seasonal ingredients. The options range from beautifully prepared small plates (Tuscan salami, freshly made focaccias and pickled anchovies) to more substantial meals such as cannelloni cooked pork and whole mackerel.
Pavilion Café & Bakery
Hackney’s tiny Pavilion Café and Bakery doesn’t overstretch oneself. Instead, it chose a few specialties and practiced them to perfection. Sourdough bread, pain-aux-raisins and spiced cardamom buns are what the punters are waiting for, along with the well-loved brunch options on offer. There are outposts on Columbia Road, Broadway Market and West Boat Lake in Victoria Park – a beautiful spot for brunch when the sky is blue and the sun is shining. It is surely one of our favorite cafes in London.
You’ll find Hackney’s E5 Bakehouse spread across three railway arches – an atmospheric location for this popular bakery and café. E5 Bakehouse bakes all its delicious handicrafts on-site, so you’ll struggle to find a fresher Danish anywhere in the city. Its scalded loaves and cinnamon buns are rightly revered by a diverse local crowd of families, couples and groups of friends who come here to slow down, relax and enjoy a cup of coffee or two before heading out in the afternoon.
Trailblazing Dalston spot Snackbar offers seasonal, upscale coffee fare influenced by global flavours. There’s nothing like that in this part of town, and if you’ve ever wondered what an upscale McMuffin might taste like, it’s worth falling in. The décor is airy and sleek – perfect for lunch with someone special or for a spontaneous treat. Menu choices include Asian and European flavors, plus some refurbished coffee classics – think of chicken caesar salad made with roasted chicken, chicken skin, parmesan, egg and nori.
London Borough of Jam
A café dedicated to jam – what’s wrong with that? Sounds like one of the most unique cafes in London? Back in 2011, Lillie O’Brien, former pastry chef at St John’s Bread and Wine, set up this hybrid jam-shop-café in Clapton. Whether you’re here for home-made specials or to pick up a jar or two (take your pick from greengage and fennel pollen, blackberry and cocoa nib or apricot and verjuice), you’ll find the atmosphere warm and inviting. She’s also offering jam-making workshops for those who want to get more hands-on – perfect for taking on your own creations.
A regular food-winning shortlist in London, Stoke Newington’s Haberdashery offers classic brunch dishes and brilliantly prepared lunch options. The full English, French toast, benedicted eggs and crushed avo are all there, taken up by the cafe’s emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients and a cook-from-scratch mentality. Soup, sandwich and cake options are switched on a regular basis to keep the menu fresh. Natural woods and strips of bunting create a pleasant vintage feel, and outdoor seating, too.
London wasn’t the first UK city to open a café entirely dedicated to board games-that title belongs to Thirsty Meeples in Oxford-but this disused railway arch-turned temple to tabletop gaming is still one of the most ingenious ideas to hit the city in recent years. There are shelves packed with more than 500 games, staff trained to explain the rules, and once you’ve paid a 5-pound charge, they’re happy to keep you playing until the kick-out time. There are also a number of cakes, sandwiches, salads and charcuterie dishes, but be careful not to spill any of them on the games.
The Canvas Cafe
Few things are as smiling as a great cafe – But the brains behind this East London venue have taken that concept and turned it into a happy place. The mission to ‘improve self-esteem and trust’ of the local community is to host kitschy retro film screenings, feel-good singalongs, self-esteem workshops and lunchtime yoga sessions. And of course, there’s a menu of sweet treats, including blackened banana muffins, apple upside down cake and chocolate Guinness cake. A literal piece of happiness at these one of the most popular cafes in London.
Unlimited toast peanut butter. That’s probably the most important thing about this hang-out for artsy guys (it’s called ‘a treehouse for adults’ rather than a café). Instead of paying for what you eat or drink, you are charged 5 p a minute to be there, making you a ‘micro tenant’ who is free to use the facilities as you wish. There’s a full kitchen with an espresso machine, teas and other sweet snacks plus a selection of play records and books to read. The fun, creative crowd that it attracts makes it a bit like hiring an Airbnb property that comes with its own supercool live-in buddies, but we wouldn’t think too hard about it if we were you. Why? Why? It’s unlimited peanut butter and toast for you.
This minimalist Shoreditch coffee shop was London’s first 3D printing café when it opened in August 2014. But right now? Yeah, it’s always the only one. The lampshades are printed in 3D, the window display is a machine that rotates three-dimensional objects, and on the back there is a counter where you can pay for printing or laser engraving the object of your choice. It’s all about encouraging creativity, so along with your latte, you might also find yourself handed a leaflet urging you to brainstorm an idea and then get it printed in 3D by the staff. But hey, you don’t often get to take a casual cup of coffee to another dimension.
If DIY used to be as fun as they were in this pretty boutique-café, we could actually bleed our radiators once in a while. You buy one of the seasonal range of biscuits (say, flowers and hearts for springtime), the waiter or waitress quickly explains the basics of icing, and then you’re free to use the colorful range of sugary decorations to decorate your biscuit. Be warned, though: to walk past the phenomenal range of chocolates, cakes and sweet treats upstairs in the beautiful neo-Parisian boutique. Good luck resisting buying the whole shop up.
We are sure you won’t be disappointed by any of these cafes in London. Every place is worth a visit!