Please help me find the anti-Starbucks
October 4, 2010 6:31 AM   Subscribe

Your favourite north-west London cafes.

So I'm on the hunt for a new favourite cafe. Ideally somewhere where I can sit undisturbed and read or work on my laptop for a couple hours in the evening or on weekends. I like quiet cafes, or at least busy cafes with a few quiet corners, with nice decor and good food and coffee. Wi-fi would be a plus but not a must. Basically, somewhere where I wouldn't feel hurried into drinking up and leaving, and not someplace so open-plan that you can't really curl up and forget about the world. Something like the Legal Cafe in Hampstead maybe. That's the only cafe fitting the bill that I know of but there have to be more, right?

(Some great suggestions here, but mostly central London based.)
posted by Ziggy500 to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
posted by The Lady is a designer at 7:03 AM on October 4, 2010

No recommendations (I lived in South London when I was a Londoner), but have you tried a postcode search on Qype? Good place to get a broad overview of cafes in a particular area.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:05 AM on October 4, 2010

LoveFood in West Hampstead is good. They have the best pan au chocolat on West End Lane, and it's a pleasant, quiet environment. I sat there for an hour or two with my laptop the other day and never felt pressured to move along. No WiFi, although it is pretty much across the street from the West Hampstead library, so you can always nip across the road to use the library's free WiFi if you need it.

By the way, there's an iPhone app called Worksnug, which will show you the nearest place with free WiFi for any given location, and will even rate them by noise level (using user data from the iPhone's mic.) It didn't give me any particularly useful suggestions for my particular corner of NW London, but you might get luckier than I did. Plus, it's free, so if you have an iOs device, you could give it a try.
posted by yankeefog at 7:25 AM on October 4, 2010

Gracelands Cafe in Kensal Green is nice.
posted by insouciant at 7:30 AM on October 4, 2010

Bizarre seeing the Legal Cafe on the blue as my better halve used to work there. Anyway Trojka is an awesome Russian cafe a 10 minute strole down Haverstock Hill to Primrose Hill.
posted by numberstation at 8:36 AM on October 4, 2010

On the green even.
posted by numberstation at 8:37 AM on October 4, 2010

I know you asked for cafes rather than pubs, so I hope you don't mind a slight derail, but with winter not too far away and you around Hampstead, I can't not mention The Holly Bush for open fire cosiness. Has lots of nooks and crannies so you could probably hide away for ages on a quiet evening with just one drink.
posted by penguin pie at 11:52 AM on October 4, 2010

Correction: I just walked by Lovefood and, at least according to the sign out front, they actually do have WiFi. I didn't pick up a signal when I was inside before, but I didn't know to ask, so perhaps they just aren't broadcasting their ID. So if you go, it may be worth asking.
posted by yankeefog at 5:14 AM on October 9, 2010

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