11 Of The Best Cafés In East London

East London’s best cafés can be found in Hackney, Hoxton, Bow and further afield. Here’s our pick of the area’s top coffee shops (pastries included)

On the prowl for a great cup o' joe? Head to east London, where independent boltholes, brilliant bakeries and in-house coffee roasters are serving up some of the capital's best beans. Here's our favourites for a caffeine fix out east.

The 11 best east London cafés for a daily caffeine fix

Climpson and Sons Cafe, East London

Climpson & Sons


Roasting its coffee in London Fields, Climpson & Sons serves up speedy service in its Broadway Market surrounds to fuel the weekend crowds pacing east London's buzziest neighbourhood. Ducking in here is a morning rite of passage for Hackney residents, who pick up strong espresso drinks to sip outside on the rough-cut wooden benches attached to the old-school storefront. Take your tote: the brand's Midnight Oil range, which includes ready-to-pour espresso martinis and a smooth, vanilla-infused coffee liqueur, is an if-you-know-you-know addition to all east Londoners' drinks cabinets.


67 Broadway Mkt, E8 4PH

Ozone Coffee, London

Ozone Coffee


Coffee aficionados will leave this Leonard Street spot buzzing (and not from a caffeine overload). Experts in the coffee game, having worked the machines since 1998, these brewsters are some of the OG Shoreditch coffee crowd. Their beans (which you can grab bags of from their stores) supply London's finest cafés. Various coffee styles are on offer, from classic espressos to batch filters and even syphon and AeroPress offerings. The denim-clad team also serves breakfasts, lunches and all-day weekend brunches. Alongside the Shoreditch original, Ozone also has outposts in London Fields, Ludgate Hill and the City.


11 Leonard St, EC2A 4AQ

Cardamom Bun, Pophams, Victoria Park Village, London
Photo credit: Adrianna Giakoumis


Victoria Park Village

Pophams' pastries walked, so Camberwell's Toad Bakery could run. There, we said it. Another independent brand that's grown into a London-wide operation, this cult café now has branches in Islington, London Fields and, our favourite, Victoria Park Village. Alongside larger-than-life bacon and maple pastries, moreish yoghurt bowls and smooth brews, some branches offer ragù toasties and tomato tartines on lunch menus. In the evening, the London Fields site also plates up fresh pasta paired with natural wines. The effortless interiors offer another feather to the brand's bow, too: Pophams devotees can shop for the clean-girl café aesthetic online.


110A Lauriston Rd, E9 7HA

Mae+Harvey, Bow, London

Mae + Harvey


In the fight for east London's edgiest districts, Bow often gets ignored - but the East End's original heartlands hold their own. Located on Roman Road, just a hop and a skip from Victoria Park, Mae + Harvey is where to head for breakfast or a coffee before exploring this lesser-visited corner of London. Take a seat in the blonde-wood café to enjoy casual plates of scrambled eggs, slow-roast tomatoes and in-house-cured salmon over toast, as well as lunch dishes such as red lentil daal and chicken pie. At weekends, the brunches take things up a notch: think, compot-doused drop pancakes and picture-perfect breakfast bowls. Coffee comes courtesy of Assembly, and there's a mini larder of London-sourced treats behind the counter, including Pump Street chocolate and London Borough of Jam conserves. Note that laptop users aren't welcome.


414-416 Roman Rd, E3 5LU

Third Culture Deli, Broadway Market, London

Third Culture Deli

Broadway Market

When does a café become a restaurant? In east London, the lines frequently get blurred. So it is at Third Culture, a plant-based deli spot on Broadway Market. The easiest way to describe this Orangina-hued eatery is to use the café's own window decals, which read "vegan cheese, fermented foods, gourmet groceries and speciality coffee". It does what it says on the tin. Obviously, it's the coffee we're interested in, specifically, the icy nitro cold brew and hot pours of London-based Dark Arts beans. Take a seat in the "groovy, baby" dining space (white tiled tables included), sip a coffee and order a vegan Reuben sandwich, if you like.


29 Broadway Mkt, E8 4PH

Rastro, Bethnal Green, London


Bethnal Green

New kid on the block Rastro, in Bethnal Green, opened its minimalist, pleasingly perfect coffee shop in April this year. Open every day, the shop's slick, simple offering is speciality coffee, freshly baked goods and sandwiches inspired by the company's Madrileño roots. Food comes ready for Instagram, with jamón serrano sandwiches tucked tightly into gift-like boxes and a smart showcase of indie snack brands lined up along open shelving. If you're a follower of the Real Housewives of Clapton instagram account, you (and your anxious sighthound) will feel right at home: the Torres black truffle crisps associated with London's hottest social account are part of the shop's £12 sandwich deal.


475 Bethnal Grn Rd, E2 9QH

Breakfast, Long White Cloud, London

Long White Cloud


Those en route to pick up bunches of eucalyptus and lilac blooms from Columbia Road Market should stop by Long White Cloud for a Sunday brunch. Located between Hoxton overground station and the famous flower market, this cosy café pairs the familiarity of London's old-school caffs with the aesthetics of the city's speciality coffee scene. Brunch dishes are colourful, flavourful and piled generously high: a full English starts from just £8, and there are ample vegan options, too.


151 Hackney Rd, E2 8JL

Pavillion, Victoria Park

Pavilion Café and Bakery

Victoria Park

It's not often we recommend a national chain on SUITCASE, but then Pavillion is a bit of an anomaly. The success of this independent east London coffee shop has seen it open branches across the city's edgiest areas, starting in Victoria Park, and expanding into Broadway Market, Columbia Road, Leyton and Spitalfields. Then, they opened a yellow-awning-covered spot down in Newquay, Cornwall. At all, the promise is the same: excellent bakery items and some darn good coffee. Make like London's Dickies-wearing crowd and head to any of the cafés to grab a flat white and moreish cardamom bun, or stock up on pantry essentials such as organic eggs, sourdough bread and city-made honey. The Victoria Park site also serves salads, toasties and larger plates of Sri Lankan-inspired food. The best seats in the house? The tables on the lakeside terrace.


Victoria Park, Old Ford Rd, E9 7DE

Dusty Knuckle Bakery, London

The Dusty Knuckle Bakery


A social enterprise, bakery and café? It's got east London written all over it. Bread connoisseurs claim that The Dusty Knuckle's sourdough is some of the best in the capital, but it's the do-good mentality of the team behind this Dalston bakery that makes it a shoo-in for our favourite east London cafés list. The bakery hires young people facing significant barriers to employment in its kitchens and cafés (there's a second Dusty Knuckle in Haringey). In Dalston, an airy, industrial dining space - with ample seating inside and out - is open all day, serving buns, coffees and thick sandwiches. It's also got a wood-fired pizza oven that the team fires up every Thursday to Saturday for evening sourdough slices. Can't get to the café? Keep an eye out for the bakery's roving milk float, which visits numerous locations throughout London, delivering bakery favourites and pre-ordered loaves. Oh, and you'll notice plenty of other cafés in the capital serve Dusty Knuckle baked goods, too - they're just that good.


Abbot St Car Park, E8 3DP

Well Street Kitchen, London

Well Street Kitchen


Homely Well Street Kitchen plates up café classics: smashed avocado, breakfast baps and pastries from The Dusty Knuckle. Distinctly un-urban (in a "we're not painting the walls off-white and installing globe lighting" way), it's the kind of café where you can nurse a hangover, linger over a long Sunday breakfast, or read a book while sipping a black filter without feeling the pressure to move along. The neighbourhood café serves brunch, lunch and Allpress espresso, and the food menu keeps things interesting, with regularly changing dishes such as pikelets with sage butter mushrooms and egg, cornbread and fried chicken, and breakfast daals. It's open from 8am to 4pm every day, but keep an eye out for the killer chef-led supper clubs that go down occasionally here, too.


203 Well St, E9 6QU

E5 Bakehouse, London
Photo credit: Carlotta Marangone and Florencia Bertram

E5 Poplar Bakehouse


This Docklands coffee shop, which opened in 2017, is the sister café to E5's original London Fields café. Tucked away on the edge of Bartlett Park, the airy second iteration keeps the socially minded ethos of the first micro-bakehouse going, with the same refugee training programme in collaboration with Hackney Council running at the Poplar address. Beans are ethically sourced from producers that put all profits back into the supply chain. And the pastries? Two words: cinnamon buns. Pick up some sourdough while you're here, too, and location-specific recipes, such as the Hackney Wild loaf, are top-notch.


8A Cotall St, E14 6TL

Gladwell's in Camberwell, London
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