London’s new Owl Bar has caused a lot of online hype and tweeting (pun intended), this month. Over 70,000 people have already entered the ballot in the hopes of getting a ticket to the much talked about pop-up where they will be able to enjoy a drink and spend time with a group of owls.
If you’re looking for a quirky café experience, Annie the Owl might not be your safest bet… Check out these 9 other concept cafés for a memorable experience where you don’t have have to compete with thousands of people for a spot
Words by Stefanie Packard
1 Cereal Killer Café
This Brick Lane café is one big nostalgic sugar high. With over 120 types of cereal, 30 choices of milk and 20 toppings, your sweet cravings are sure to be cured here. The cereal range spans the globe with choices from America, France, Australia, South Africa and Isreal, just to name a few. This café may not be part of the healthy brunch craze that we’ve all been following lately, but it is definitely satisfying.
139 Brick Lane, London E1 6SB; cerealkillercafe.co.uk
2 Porridge Café
When a place specialises in one kind of food and one kind only, you know its going to be pretty good at it. The guys behind The Porridge Café searched far and wide for the best grains, flavours and porridge cooking methods from around the world before opening their café near Old Street Station. The results? An all porridge and risotto menu with sweet, healthy and savoury offerings. The choices on the menu change depending on the day – for example, on weekends you might find spelt and barley porridge with maple syrup, bacon and a poached egg, while on Thursdays it’s all about banana, blackcurrant and peanut butter porridge made with millet. The Porridge Café is open seven days a week so check out the website to see which day you’d like to head in.
70 Paul Street, Lonson, EC2A 4NA; porridgecafe.com
3 Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium
Relax with a cup of tea and spend time with cats – that’s the concept behind London’s first cat café. As a home for rescued cats, Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium has the happiness and wellbeing of the cats at the top of their priority list. You’ll be charged £6 to get in and bookings are essential. After that you can watch these feline friends play to your heart’s content. Head to the website to meet the cats and book a spot.
152-154 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 6DG; ladydinahs.com
At Ziferblat anything goes – have a tinkle on the piano, hold a meeting, read a book from the collection or learn a new skill – the only thing that’s set is the price… 3p per minute. You don’t pay per biscuit or coffee, but you’re given an alarm clock on arrival and give it back at the end when you pay for how long you’ve been there. Located in Shoreditch, the guys at Ziferblat invite you to “create, collaborate and play”. Think of this place as more of an extension of your own living room, with a couple of extra hipsters and creative types thrown in for good measure.
388 Old Street, London EC1V 9LT; london.ziferblat.net
5 Drink, Shop & Do
“Café by day, bar by night, fun things to do” – this is how the team at Drink, Shop & Do sum up their multi-talented café. There’s so much going on at this place, it’s difficult to pick which event to go to. On top of coffee, food and cocktails, it has paper maché sessions, dancing every Friday and Saturday nights, and a competition called “Lionel Rich Tea” in which punters attempt to achieve the greatest likeness to Lionel Richie’s face by decorating biscuits. It also put on events like corporate functions and hens parties, and you can be assured that they’ll be anything but ordinary.
9 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX; drinkshopdo.com
6 The Attendant
Having your morning coffee in an old Victorian toilet doesn’t sound too appealing… Until you mention the sustainably grown coffee beans roasted daily, the family run milk farm and the delicious snacks like soups, salads, pastries and granolas. In 1890 it was built as a public toilet, but in recent years it’s been transformed into a very unique specialty coffee and food bar. The original tiles and urinals are still there and now form the benches from which patrons sip their lattes – unusual but in no way unappealing!
27A Foley St, London W1W 6DY; the-attendant.com
Quality, inexpensive hairdressing and authentic Korean food…Two things combined with great success at Hurwundeki. The hairdressing is quick, stylish and very well priced (starting at £9 for men and £14 for women). The food is a fusion of traditional and modern Korean with no MSG or other additives, and they even blend their own soy and chilli sauces. Both the haircuts and the dining are fresh, simple and thoroughly affordable.
198-299 Cambridge Heath Rd, London, E2 9HA; hurwundeki.com
8 The Legal Café
“I never discuss love on an empty stomach” goes the famous North By Northwest quote, and the same goes for legal matters. To this end, The Legal Café offers coffee, food and legal advice in their Haverstock Hill venue. Open seven days, this is the place to grab a bagel or panini, a smoothie or coffee and chat with a lawyer in a relaxed café environment. It has a flat rate for consultations, a law library and a document review service.
81 Haverstock Hill, London NW3 4SL; 81haverstockhill.com
Remember how great it was when you were a kid and meeting up with friends meant getting together for a board game? Draughts offers that experience again, with a choice of over 500 games from around the world. Improvements on the experience as an adult include craft beers, ciders and wines. Draughts also offers light meals and snacks, so you won’t get hungry if Monopoly takes hours or Risk gets too competitive. There’s a £5 cover charge, and after that you can use as many games as you want for as long as you want, with Game Gurus to help with making choices, understanding rules, and those inevitable disputes that come along with board games.
337 Acton Mews, Haggerston, Hackney, London, E8 4EA; draughtslondon.com