A few weeks ago, I took a day off work to indulge in my two favourite Cs — coffee and cinema — and although I already had a couple of coffee spots on my itinerary, including the [H]AND by Has Bean pop-up, I spotted a promising new coffee shop a little closer to home. Chapter 72 on Bermondsey Street occupies the space vacated by patisserie Southerden. They serve coffee from Bristol-based Extract Coffee Roasters and quirky coffee cocktails in a cosy, intimate cafe.
I've been into Chapter 72 a couple of times now and was impressed with the quality of the coffee; my brother, who works just around the corner, also sung the praises of the cafe's coffee. The coffee menu consists only of espresso-based drinks for now, so I had a piccolo (£2.50) on both visits. The first time, they were technically still in soft-launch phase, so it was even more noteworthy that the piccolo, made with Extract's Original espresso blend, was so smooth and well-balanced. Second time round, it was just as good. I just think they need to get some piccolo-sized cups!
The seating area of Chapter 72 runs along the wall opposite the very tactile coffee bar, with a combination of low stools and comfier bench seating. A dark wooden structure reminiscent of Tudor (or at least mock-Tudor) beams cuts through the centre of the cafe — if you're taller than me (not difficult) you may need to mind your head as you pass through to the back room. I think the best seats in the house are next to the front windows, of course. Bermondsey Street always presents some particularly fine people-watching opportunities.
If you're in the mood for something a little harder, the cocktail menu includes seven coffee cocktails, all priced at a reasonable £8; there are also a few wines and beers on offer. The Fake News Flat White has a catchy name, but the Chapter 72 Old Fashioned sounds more my kind of drink. Most of the others involve Tia Maria, which, despite my love of coffee and cocktails, isn't my favourite liqueur. I could be tempted by the Dark Arts Negroni, however. I haven't been to Chapter 72 for cocktails yet but they were serving a sample of the Netflix + Chill (Tia Maria, espresso, milk and popcorn syrup) at the True Artisan Café section of the London Coffee Festival this year.
I've long been fond of some of Bermondsey Street's other coffee shops — in particular, Black Swan Yard, The Watch House and Hej — but it's always good to welcome another to my neighbourhood, especially one that transforms, Cinderella-style, at cocktail o'clock — and of course, precisely when cocktail o'clock begins is a matter of opinion...
Chapter 72. 72 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3UD (Tube: London Bridge). Twitter. Instagram.