Unusually Cosy Cafes
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If like us you're regular cafe dwellers, you'll know all about the ubiquitous artisanal coffee house - the kind with white walls, sourdough, hanging plants and flat whites. We've a place in our hearts for such style and finesse but sometimes you just want to get out of your comfort zone... and go somewhere even more comfortable.
From home-made cakes and cosy yurts to feline friends and London's first happy cafe, we've lined up some intriguing options that'll gently caress your curiosity.
This is what Arabian nights are made of: part souk, part bohemian lounge, Cafe Cairo makes the perfect sanctuary from the Clapham High Street drivel. A cosy den of dim lighting, snug seating and wayward musicians. Go for banging pizzas, cabaret nights, live music, free film screenings on Sundays, and unlimited free toast. This is one of the last true beacons of community in London - get here quick.
Converted from a warehouse into a multi-purpose space, Hatch's roomy and thoughtfully designed space houses an all-day cafe, juice bar and plenty of hot desks - perfect place to get those creative juices flowing. Food is more original than your usual cafe fare with treats like bean and roasted red pepper quesadilla. Even more exciting are the art workshops, talks, film nights and events put on by local creatives.
This cafe and bar is a bit of a gem in Waterloo, where rickety furniture and bits of old Vespas sit alongside vintage espresso machines and roaming cats. By day, it’s a cafe doing really nice coffee, tasty home-made cakes and with the rare treat of being able to bring your own food in from the nearby market (if you ask nicely). By night, things heat up with Italian beers and a generally old-school Italian pace of life.
If you're a self-professed crazy cat person desperately in need of a feline friend, this cafe could be what you've been looking for. The venue, which is designed with the emotional needs of the resident rescue cats in mind (what?!), provides plenty of furry friends to dote on. And to keep you going while you coo? Bagels, cheese boards, afternoon teas and scones - they've got all the cutesy cafe items you'd expect from somewhere named Lady Dinah's.
There's something about being in a fairy-lit yurt that just has us feeling warm, especially when the yurt in question is a super welcoming and friendly social enterprise café. Yurt Cafe, set up in a Mongolian tent near Limehouse Basin, provides a calm oasis, good coffee, a basic weekend brunch selection, home-made cakes (look out for the banana bread), beer and wine. The space itself also plays host to music, poetry and supper clubs sporadically, confirming itself as a community staple.
Our Ruth (actress, puppeteer and founder of the award-winning body-positivity charity Body Gossip) opened London’s first happy caff - The Canvas Cafe - meaning it holds all sorts of free events to encourage positive thinking and inspire self-expression. These include relaxation workshops, body confidence classes, documentary screenings and a drop-in choir. You can even write your own positive message on the walls. If all that fails, their vegan bottomless brunch should make you smile.
This café is hidden within an 18th-century church crypt, directly across the road from the National Portrait Gallery. Despite its central location, Cafe in the Crypt makes a nice escape from West End crowds and, surprisingly, West End prices. So you're here for the brick vaulted ceilings and tombstone floors rather than a particularly inventive lunch selection, but the menu is still pretty decent for tourist town. Check out their Wednesday jazz nights too.