7 Community Cafes
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The humdrum London life can really get to you. Everyone else in this town is a dick, so it's ok for you to be one too right? Wrong!
If you know where to look you'll find little pockets of pleasantness; heartwarming good deeds; local, wholesome and ethical edibles; and people just choosing merriment over the deep dark hole of despair we all know so intimately. Pop in for a cake and you'll soon notice all your chakras aligning.
A lovely little haven on the edge of Shoreditch: Paper & Cup is a charity book and coffeeshop set up to help homeless people in the community. The cakes are delicious, the decor is bright and airy, and the staff are very welcoming. Perch on the benches outside with a good book and a cuppa knowing your money is doing good close to home.
In the middle of the urban wasteland of King's Cross lies the green haven of Camley Street Natural Park, and in the middle of that sits this adorable community cafe. The focus is on veggie dishes using ingredients grown on-site and cooked using biogas. Yep that's some real eco-living right there. Food is simple and homely, think toasted sandwiches, cooked veggie breakfast and Thai green curry.
Spend enough time in The Hornbeam and you might just purge yourself of all the ailments of modern life - the place is solar powered for Christ’s sake. The seasonal menu (spelled out in fridge magnets by the lovely Kat) is primarily vegan and always tasty (pumpkin and kale tart?), the music is straight-up soulful and they even host classes. Heck we're community converts.
Set on Brick Lane, Kahaila Cafe is a not-for-profit coffee shop serving ethically-sourced coffee, homemade sandwiches, and cakes. Every month, their walls are filled with new works from local artists with every penny made from the artwork being ploughed back into the local community. With a chilled out vibe, excellent coffee, and a conscience, what's not to dig about this place?
Diddy's (run by the super-friendly Diddy herself) is an all-day cafe/bar that's quickly become a local favourite - the kind of place where you'll overhear a convo going on next to you and feel compelled to join in. They're not trying to do anything too fancy here, simply provide a colourful, chilled spot to unwind, chat, and feel at home. And we're big fans.
Ruth Rogers - actress, puppeteer and founder of the award-winning body positivity charity Body Gossip - opened this 'happy cafe'. It holds all sorts of free events to encourage positive thinking and inspire self-expression (relaxation workshops, body confidence classes and a drop-in choir). If all that fails, their healthy grub is sure to make you smile.
This little bundle shows just what can be achieved when communities pull together. Run by volunteers and populated with up-cycled furniture, The Cornerstone sells local artworks, hosts live music events, whips up delightful cakes, and serves good quality coffee. Expect to see lots of locals chit-chatting over lemon drizzle.