Bel Ludovic wrote:Sobo is an interesting case. I believe it opened in 2003/4 and as such predates the vast majority of the coffee shops in a borough such as Hackney. When Sobo opened, there were actually relatively few such establishments in London. There was a strong emphasis not just on the standard of coffee but on design, too.
Since the change of ownership a few years ago, the service has got a lot friendlier, the coffee has stayed about the same - and in the past few years, standards in London have risen so much that Sobo's coffee can only be considered competent now, rather than excellent - while the food has become fairly standard caff food. It's quite conspicuously not of the so-called 'third wave' of coffee shops marching across London.
I don't necessarily believe you need historic or warehousey properties for characterful coffee shops to proliferate, although it helps. However, you do need affordable rents, so perhaps that's why SE1 seems to lack them.
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