Tired of pretentious and expensive places?
by Afro (follow her on Twitter: @graphiclondoner)
See below for our favourite local places which will be a good starting point for you (this list will be updated as we continue to explore London 🙂
If at the moment you are A) applying for a job and spending all your days and nights in your pyjamas; B) freshly-graduated and on a tight budget; C) home-working; D) in need of a place to relax and work without a waiter stressing you for another order; or E) all of the above, then London has a solution for you, they’re called Community Cafes. Normally run by volunteers, these affordable coffee shops (in Departure, coffee costs £1 and you can refill for 50p) offer a relaxing atmosphere and homemade meals that will only set you back by a few quid, with a buzzing programme that brings the neighbourhood together.
See below for our favourite local places:
Husk Coffee and Creative Space (ex Departure cafe) (nearest DLR station: Limehouse) café offers free screenings of non-mainstream films on Fridays, a book club, arts and crafts classes and even conversational English courses, for those of you who just arrived in London. Additionally, they offer a selection of courses (knitting, sewing, poetry) at very low prices, which is great for those of you with an extensive New Year’s resolutions list and the need to pick up a new skill. They have a good selection of teas and offer home-cooked plates (with very generous portions!) on a daily basis.
Paper & Cup is another community café in East London and this actually has two different locations (Shoreditch and Mile End). We visited the Shoreditch café on a rainy Saturday morning. This is a smaller café than the rest of this list but what it lacks in number of tables, it has it in style and atmosphere. People behind the counter are really friendly and the cupcakes are not-to-be-missed!
There are books on display that you can buy for a couple quid and carry them back home or enjoy with a nice cup of coffee (paper + cup, got it?)
South East London
The Hill Station café on top of Telegraph Hill (nearest station: New Cross) enjoys some nice views of the city (and this is your reward for walking uphill for 10 minutes) and we just love the made-of-paper gigantic tree installation in the centre of the cafe! They do Marmalade Mondays where they focus on seasonal veggies and teach you how to cook delicious dishes. They host a Friendly Friday for the whole neighbourhood to come and watch a film, play some board games, discover fresh and cool music, meet someone new and enjoy a nice dinner (you will only pay for your meal and I promise you it will be good!).
Bonnington Cafe (nearest tube station: Vauxhall) is a 3-floor building that looks a mixture of french bistro meets community café. It is also one of the best vegetarian cafes in London. Every day, a different person is responsible for the menu. Tastes and menus change, the only thing remaining the same is the fixed price: £3.5 for a starter, £7 for the mains and £3.5 for the desert. It’s also BYOB which is my favourite acronym ever! We visited on a Friday night and we had an excellent 3-course corn-based meal (corn soup, dill quiche, corn pie and a peanut tart) and enjoyed a bottle of red wine all for the price of £14.5!
Remember to book a table as they get extremely busy especially on a Friday!
Have you discovered your local community café? We would like YOU to continue this list! So if you have a favourite community cafe that you would like to share, just go ahead and suggest it through the comment section at the bottom of the page. We will then check all the comments and update our main list including your suggestions!
p.s We will also create a handy Foursquare list! Yiha!
Read more posts by Afroditi.
You may also want to check The Top 5 Budget Restaurants in London.