27 August 2021

14 New Speciality Coffee Shops To Visit in London

The past two years have been among the most challenging for hospitality businesses, including speciality coffee shops, in London, and around the world. Keeping a speciality coffee shop in business in London is difficult even in normal times, let alone during a global pandemic, which has felt like a game of snakes and ladders with constant changes of rules, snap lockdowns and general uncertainty. Unfortunately, some coffee shops have had to close permanently (please come back, Black Swan Yard!), but it's been encouraging to see how many new — and often exciting — cafes have opened in London in the past couple of years. 

I created an Instagram Guide highlighting some of my favourite 2020 and 2021 openings, but I wanted to collect them together on this blog too. Scroll on down if you're looking for new places to explore and support throughout the city. My usual caveat is that this isn't an exhaustive list, but I have visited most of these coffee shops more than once and enjoyed the coffee, service, design and ethos, and met some lovely and talented people along the way. From hole-in-the-wall coffee bars to cafés with multi-course brunches, there's something for everyone. If you're looking for even more coffee-shop inspiration, check out my London speciality coffee guide, which now includes almost 150 coffee spots. 

Black Salt (Vauxhall)

Black Salt, the first cafe on my list, is also the last one I visited: Ant West's new zero-waste, vegan bistro in Vauxhall. It's a veritable urban oasis on Vauxhall Street with dozens of plants for sale, as well as vegan dishes (brunchier by day, with a set menu and BYO booze in the evening) and, of course, coffee. Dark Arts' Stonewall Riots was in my excellent oat milk flat white, while the tofu scramble (featuring the titular black salt) made for a very fine lunch. Ant sources everything within a three-mile radius — luckily, I live almost exactly three miles away!

Black Salt is located at 26 Vauxhall Street, London, SE11 5LG (Tube: Vauxhall). Instagram.

BUSI (Fitzrovia)

Style meets substance at BUSI, a gorgeous cafe a short walk from Oxford Circus. Anna and Emil's love of both coffee and design is evident throughout the colourful coffee shop. They offer a very well-curated selection of coffees, including rare and unusual varieties, which are frozen after roasting until it's time to brew them. There are also various special coffee and matcha drinks available, in hues to match the interiors.

BUSI is located at 42–48 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 7NB (Tube: Oxford Circus). Instagram.

Establishment (Farringdon)

About halfway along my cycle commute to my former office in King's Cross, Establishment is a great place for a quick coffee stop in the Farringdon area. The coffee shop has filter coffee and espresso options from a rotating selection of roasters, along with sandwiches and some excellent house-baked pastries and cakes, and there are a few seats outside too.

Establishment is located at 11 Saint Bride Street, London, EC4A 4AS (Tube: Blackfriars). Instagram.

Frequency Coffee (Angel)

Justo's original Frequency Coffee was one of my favourite openings in King's Cross during the time I worked in the area, and the second location, on Islington's Camden Passage, is just as nice. You can choose from espresso and batch-brew filter coffee, and various sandwiches and baked goods. Pay attention to the décor as there are a number of musical connections to be found, beyond the name.

Frequency is located at 13 Camden Passage, London, N1 8EA (Tube: Angel). Website. Twitter. Instagram.

Good as Gold (Brockley)

On a sunny corner in Brockley, Good as Gold is one of my favourite new speciality coffee openings in south-east London. They serve coffee from different roasters — there was a Leeds focus on my first visit, with North Star and Chipp Coffee Co both featuring — on espresso and V60. There's also an extensive food menu, with weekend brunch and weekday lunch and cakes.

Good as Gold is located at 209 Mantle Road, Brockley, London, SE4 2EW (Brockley Overground). Website. Instagram.

Intermission Coffee (West Hampstead)

Intermission is one of a couple of coffee shops on this list that I heard about through the lovely folks at Saint Nine Coffee, who also feature further down. The West Hampstead coffee shop opened at a time when we all felt as though we were in one long intermission — and also that we needed a bit of a break. A coffee break is a good start, and the care that has gone into Intermission, from the coffee to the design to the service, is very clear. Sustainability is a key focus, but so is connection and it's a very welcoming place to visit.

Intermission Coffee is located at Unit 2, The Hardy Building, Heritage Lane, West Hampstead, London, NW6 2BR (Tube: West Hampstead). Website. Instagram.

Lantern Coffee (Bermondsey)

In an area steeped in history, very close to where I live, Lantern Coffee has been a great neighbourhood coffee shop to visit when those days of working-from-home alone have become too much. The coffee is from Workshop and Square Mile, and there's plenty of seating indoors — laptop-suitable and comfier chairs — and outside in the courtyard at the back of the Little London coworking space.

Lantern Coffee is located at Little London, 8 Mill Street, London, SE1 2BA (Tube: Bermondsey). Instagram.

NOLA (Peckham)

NOLA is another speciality coffee shop with high levels of intentionality. Owned by Josephine and Anthony of Oh Wonder, NOLA is their way of creating a beautiful space for the local community with great coffee, food and gorgeous design. I tried a new-to-me brewing technique (the Rattleware cupping brewer), ate some of the best cinnamon buns in London and couldn't resist purchasing one of their cups made by Stick Ceramics. As their sign proclaims, "coffee is for everyone."

NOLA is located at 224 Rye Lane, London, SE15 4NL (Peckham Rye Overground). Website. Instagram.

Nostos Coffee (Battersea)

One of the newer openings on this list of (relatively) new London coffee shops, the siren song of Nostos lured me back to Battersea for the first time in a while. It was well worth the journey, as I tried several excellent coffees (from Round Hill, Ue and Kiss the Hippo) while enjoying the sense of community that Edison and Anna have created. As the name Nostos recalls the concept of homecomings, it's entirely fitting that I felt right at home even on my first visit.

Nostos Coffee is located at 10a Battersea Park Road, London, SW8 4FF (Battersea Park rail). Instagram.

Queens of Mayfair (Mayfair)

During last year's lockdowns, I sorely missed being able to go out for brunch, so when Queens of Mayfair opened, offering a multi-course brunch menu in a very elegant setting, I was quick to indulge. The coffee, from Difference, is great too — if you're feeling really indulgent, you can try their Ethiopian Cup of Excellence coffee (£50) or their Panama Gesha experience (£20). Cocktails, wine and beer take you through to the evening in this all-day spot. 

Queens of Mayfair is located at 17 Queen Street, London, W1J 5PH (Tube: Green Park). Website. Instagram.

Red Lion Coffee Co. (The City)

Red Lion's second coffee shop is one of those coffee shops in the heart of the City of London that are easier for me to visit on my lunch break now that I'm working from home. At the foot of the Scalpel Building, Red Lion serves coffee from Climpson and Sons (espresso and hand-brewed filter coffee), as well as sandwiches and salads. You can take your coffee into the outdoor seating area, where it will have an excellent view of the Lloyd's Building and the other surrounding skyscrapers.

Red Lion Coffee Co. is located at The Scalpel, 52–54 Lime Street, London, EC3M 7AF (Tube: Aldgate, Bank or Liverpool Street). Website. Instagram.

Saint Nine Coffee (Bankside)

I'm so glad that I happened to catch Rosslyn Coffee's recommendation of Saint Nine on their Instagarm Stories because over the past year, it's become one of my most frequently visited coffee shops. Go for the amazing wrap-around mural by Gabe Sapienza, but stay for the amazing hospitality and excellent coffee from Laith and Ashley. Located on Bankside's Southwark Street, the petite but perfectly formed coffee shop serves espresso-based drinks from roasters like North Star, Bailies and Round Hill. I usually get an Anzac biscuit or chocolate chip cookie to accompany my macchiato; you should too!

Saint Nine is located at 67 Southwark Street, London, SE1 0HX (Tube: Southwark or Borough). Website. Instagram.

WatchHouse Coffee (The City and Bermondsey)

Over the past year, I've particularly enjoyed visiting two of the new WatchHouse locations. The newest, at 70 St Mary Axe in the City, is perhaps the most stunning, set over three floors and with interiors to match the quality of the coffee served from the Modbar espresso set-up and the pourover brew bar. As I wrote in my original post, you may need to allow extra time for your visit if you enjoy photographing coffee shop interiors. As for the WatchHouse roastery, it's so close to home that I visit most weeks. They're serious about their coffee there, but it too has a beautiful design, with the curved, red-brick coffee bar front and centre in the railway-arch space.

WatchHouse Coffee is located at 70 St Mary Axe, London, EC3A 8BE (Tube: Aldgate or Liverpool Street), 36 Maltby Street, London, SE1 3PA (Tube: Bermondsey) and other locations. Website. TwitterInstagram.

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