“The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caff, decaff, low-fat, non-fat…”

With Tom Hanks’ coffee order ringing in our ears, we’re “going to the mattresses” and averting monotonous café chains in favour of independent coffee shops. From vintage furniture stores to renovated Victorian loos, these quirky cafés prove that a shot of individuality goes a long way.

Hackney Coffee Company Hackney

While many a gap year student has claimed to “find themselves” when backpacking around South America, the founders of the Hackney Coffee Company found caffeine instead. As well as bringing delicious coffee to East London, the café aims to explain and educate on the origins, the journey and the story behind your silky smooth brew.

The Peanut Vendor Bow

Interiors addicts and coffee dependents should make a beeline for The Peanut Vendor in East London. This vintage-furniture shop specialises in early to late 20th-century items, ranging from lamps and shelving to chairs and desks. Wander the showroom, with speciality brew and a pastry in hand, or alternatively buy a retail bag (and some brewing equipment) from the counter to enjoy in the comfort of your own home.

Workshop Coffee, White Collar Factory Coffee Bar Old Street

Inspired by the work of French architect and designer Jean Prouvé, this coffee shop is filled with metal countertops, a clientele armed resplendent with man buns and some great baked goods. Aptly named, this café in White Collar Factory provides a valuable and relaxed working atmosphere to professionals, with a penchant for the peculiar.

Kaffeine Fitzrovia

Situated between elegant Marylebone and bustling Fitzrovia, this Australian-inspired coffee shop is perfectly placed for a mid-shop pit stop. As popular for their flawless service and chill atmosphere as they are for their coffee, Kaffeine provides some much-needed respite in one of London’s busiest areas.

Attendant Fitzrovia

Situated in a renovated Victorian loo in the middle of Fitzrovia, this quirky café is nothing if not novel. Unique location aside, their food menu is seasonal, entirely sustainable and ethically sourced. While dining in a lavatory may leave something to be desired, Attendant’s endeavours to make permaculture the next big thing is nothing to sneeze at.

Browns of Brockley Brockley

A local favourite and great for a weekend unwind, Browns serves some of the best coffee in South London. Accompany your second cup of the day with a homemade sandwich or cake slice, and if your postcodes don’t match up, the company van drives around other London food markets.

Shoreditch Grind Shoreditch

The Shoreditch Grind emulates the area’s arty reputation by combining coffee with an international-grade recording studio. Make like Bob Dylan and have “One More Cup of Coffee” here – or if coffee won’t suffice, they also have an all-day food, wine and cocktails menu to tempt you.

Federation Brixton

Teaming up with similarly independent shops and bakeries across Brixton Village, Federation places local communities at its centre. If Federation’s sense of community hasn’t left you feeling warmer than a hot-water bottle, their grilled cheese sandwiches are sure to hit the spot.

Prufrock Coffee Clerkenwell

Coffee experts make daily pilgrimages to this caffeine hotspot in Clerkenwell, which is owned by two winners of the World Barista Championships. Learn from the proverbial best in the industry at the in-store barista school. For a superb but speedy coffee, grab one of their expertly brewed filter coffees or a silky-smooth flat white.

Timberyard Coffee Covent Garden

Built with creatives in mind, Timberyard provides relaxed work spaces for nomadic freelancers. Inspiring intellectual thought (cool it on the BuzzFeed quizzes for five minutes) with stimulating interiors, settling down for a productive day’s work at one of their London sites feels much closer to gaiety than to graft.

  • 020 3217 2009
  • Go to Website
  • TY Seven Dials
    7 Upper Saint Martin's Lane
    WC2H 9DL

The Watch House Bermondsey

One for history lovers, The Watch House on Bermondsey Street pays homage to the building’s legacy as a shelter for the guards of Saint Mary Magdalene’s Church by continuing to provide a sanctuary for locals. Snuggle up by the fire in winter with a coffee and a pastry, and admire the traditional Victorian tiles, limestone-washed walls and English oak counters decorating the building’s interior.

Brickwood Coffee & Bread Tooting

Amid the food, wine, haberdashery, crafts, vintage clothes and knick-knacks of Tooting Market, you’ll find Brickwood Coffee & Bread. Get stuck into a gargantuan Brickwood Burrito, or a sweet, toasted brioche with caramelised bananas and berry compote. Ttop it all off with a cup of Brickwood Blend, combining caramel body with soft, muted fruit notes.

Towpath Café De Beauvoir Town

Best suited to those with a no-frills, no-fuss mentality, this canal-side café is an ideal Sunday brunch location. Stop in for a quick cuppa or spend the day people watching and admiring the colourful boats that glide along the canal. If one brew isn’t enough, pop into any number of De Beauvoir Town’s neighbouring eateries; Proud East is a favourite.

Hackney Coffee Company

The Peanut Vendor

Workshop Coffee, White Collar Factory Coffee Bar



Browns of Brockley

Shoreditch Grind


Prufrock Coffee

Timberyard Coffee

The Watch House

Brickwood Coffee & Bread

Towpath Café

You May Also Like

City Guides

You know how you have that one incredible friend who knows their city inside out? That’s us. We take the world’s most dynamic destinations, hand-pick the best bits and give them to you in one place. This is the kind of guide that you don’t need to run by a local – it was written by one. Eat your heart out, shop until you drop, drink like a fish, dance your socks off, sleep – then repeat.


Curate your bookcase with the full SUITCASE library. From Volume 2 through 26, we've been around the world, explored uncharted landscapes and reexamined travel perceptions along the way. We invite you to do the same; grow your collection today.

Download Suitcase App
Learn More