As a blogger on the go and a coffee fanatic, I am always on the lookout for the best independent coffee houses. Internet and plug sockets are certainly a bonus, but if the coffee is good enough, I’m willing to sit in a cramped corner to enjoy a good blend and brew. Soho is forever introducing new and quirkier cafes, as the city’s centre for good food and drink, I thought it was about time I compiled a list of my top Soho coffee hang-outs.
1. Nude Espresso, Soho Square: Cute and cool, many believe Nude Espresso offers the best coffee in Soho. I was impressed by the silky smooth flat white and the indulgent hot chocolate.
2. Rapha Cycle Club, Brewer Street: For coffee and cycle lovers alike… careful and precise baristas make unrivalled espressos and in the shop trendy cycling gear hangs ready for the more athletic foodies to admire! Huge and light venue ideal for relaxing and reading a book.
3. Tapped and Packed, Wardour Street: My favourite place to write and think… a hazily lit, lazy lounge with low hung lights and wooden benches. Plenty of space to stretch your legs, open your laptop and wile away the afternoon browsing the net. T&P offer a wide range of coffees, so there is variety for picky customers.
4. Flat White, Berwick Street: Another tiny venue and a real coffee destination. If you can bear a crowd, the delicious coffee here really is worth fighting for. Serving a very moreish Square Mile blend.
5. Speakeasy, Lowndes Court: Hidden away behind Carnaby Street, Speakeasy is a fun venue. Great coffee, cool crowd, shame about the lack of plug sockets and internet access (bloggers beware this is not the ideal writing venue). Groovy neon artwork on the walls by Benjamin Jamie.
6. Foxcroft and Ginger, Berwick Street: Filled with arty types F&G serve flavoursome food and good coffee. I love the mismatched chairs and eclectic decor. The welcoming chatter and friendly staff make this cafe a great place to spend time alone or with friends.
7. Milk Bar: This place is hip and happening and has a following of loyal fans. Like its sister branch Flat White, Milk Bar offers a balanced blend of Square Mile coffee. The interior is cosy and familiar, a lovely place to gossip with friends.
Do you love cycling and coffee? If the answer is yes, Rapha is the place for you, a shop-cafe that specialises in both.
I am definitely not a cyclist, and my lack of road awareness has led family members to ban me from becoming a regular bike user. Although I will admit after one trip on a Boris Bike, I did find the exercise exhilarating. If I was given some suitable (and fashionable) gear and a foolproof helmet, I could be persuaded to ride more.
Rapha create fine cycle clothing and accessories for elite road racers. Designed without compromise for the most discerning rider, Rapha products blend style with optimum performance. A passion for road racing means Rapha is more than just a product company. It is an online emporium of performance roadwear, accessories, publications and events, all celebrating the glory and suffering of road riding.
Looking round the smart venue in Soho, I became particularly attached to the neon pink lycra gear (functional and stylish). I also loved the Grand Tour Gloves – fingerless padded white leather, which would look great with my leather jacket. The classic cycle clothes at Rapha are not cheap but, let’s be honest, looking good whilst exercising is priceless.
After exhausting yourself looking round the range of high tech apparel, sit at one of the communal wooden tables to enjoy a small glass of expertly roasted and brewed coffee. Made to staggeringly precise specifications, this milky mixture is one of the best coffees I’ve tried in town and should put Rapha on the map for this reason alone. Appetising artisan food is also on offer if you’re feeling a little peckish after cycling to the shop, I’d got the tube so didn’t feel I deserved the fat almond croissant staring at me temptingly.
Rapha is the coolest coffee and cycle concept club in the city. And though I may not be returning for cycling gear anytime soon I will definitely be stopping by for my coffee fixes.
Follow @RaphaCycleClub on Twitter with the hashtag #ldncc for news, commentary and group ride info from the London Cycle Club.
Or visit the website here.