By: Esme Banks Marr
This is part of a three part series. First, coffee shops. Think new business meetings, client catch-ups, discussing sensitive topics with colleagues and touching base with contacts – the casual, relaxed atmosphere, with just the right amount of noise that you can talk but aren’t overheard. They all also double up as a great spot to refuel and check your emails.
For tips on where to head for wining and dining, dinners to impress, places to pitch business, celebrating promotions, sit tight and watch this space.
Last week, Alice and I got slightly caught out by presuming the layout of one coffee shop in Clerkenwell would be the same, or at the very least, similar, to it’s sister establishment near Oxford Circus…
Needless to say, it was not. And it was not suitable for a discussion with a new business lead about a company we knew very little about. Being the PR whizz kids that we are, we arrived extremely early and had time to scope out another caffeine corner nearby. Both the one we initially had in mind, and the one we then preceded to find have made it onto this list.
Sometimes it can be hard to find somewhere in the hustle and bustle of our beautiful capital, so, to save you the trouble of marching around huffing and puffing in your brogues, or heels – here are some tried and tested spots we can vouch for:
- Workshop, Clerkenwell
Workshop has a few haunts around London, but only one is an actual café! The other three are coffee ‘bars’. You’ve now been warned… On the Clerkenwell Road, this one is a great spot a few minutes from Farringdon Station that can double up for breakfast and brunch as well as having enough room to have private conversations, business chats at the main bar area and group brainstorming at their large table – expect an expertly made flat white, homemade almond milk and lots of exposed brick and wooden tables.
- Borough Barista, St James
If you’re anywhere near Piccadilly Circus, this is a light and airy coffee shop with beautiful cakes, fresh juices and room downstairs to have quiet time with your emails and to-dos. Their coffee is to die for and roasted in the UK. Smoothies are a nice edition, and the basement has lots of large tables and a few comfy sofas to spread out on, whereas upstairs has more of a one to one vibe.
- Notes, Trafalgar Sq
Not just a coffee shop… But a wine bar too! The occasional showing an old film on its pull down screen – wins points for this instantly. There is heaps of space for meetings – large tables and small. Nice high ceilings and good lighting make for a productive atmosphere. Closest tube station is Charing Cross for this one – but other sites can be found in Canary Wharf, Kings Cross and The City.
- Shoreditch Grind, Old St
Not for the faint hearted, this is a pretty ‘out there’ coffee shop, maybe one for your younger and hipper contacts, of the start up variety. Housed on the silicon roundabout it has become a bit of an institution in the East. Be warned, it’s a strong roast, which comes from the Grind HQ, quite literally around the corner. They have long tables for working on, or even making new contacts. There’s always good music on, but it can get a little lively towards the end of the day when your martini may join forces with your espresso.
- Kaffeine, Fitzrovia
They get their coffees right every time. Your cappuccino will be perfect, as will any latte art. It’s a very bustling stop off, with either high up or low down stools it’s perfect for a catch up with friendly clients, colleagues or someone who thinks they’re as equally cool as the baristas who will be serving you. It’s not huge, and it’s quite intimate, but if you can get a space, it’s worth it.
Any more? Add your comments / recommendations for best coffee spots in London!