I just moved into the area (right near Tower Bridge Road and Tooley Street) and I was looking for a good comfy coffee shop to go read. I'm a PhD student, so my day pretty much consists of reading books, drinking coffee, and sitting around thinking; now I just need a place to do it. Every college town in the US has a bunch of places named "The Daily Grind" or "Common Grounds", etc. and I am hoping that there is one near where I live. I am just looking for a place with beatup, overstuffed chairs where you can get a good coffee and read your book all afternoon. Starbucks is expensive (and terrible) so I am hoping there is a place around here.
Not a huge fan of that [email protected] personally - feels like an old school classroom: but each ot their own. Its been a few years since I was a student so I might just be out of touch. Best in the neighbourhood in my view is SOBO further up Tower Bridge Road - a very cool and local vibe. For a fifferent feel I also like the cafe in Tower Bridge Plaza which does great mugs of tea and toast. It has great seting outside if its sunny.
If you don't like those, there's one or two more on Bermondsey Street I think. And if you don't like those either, you could try the Bridge Lounge on Tooley Street. They're nice enough, make a good stong cup of coffee, have a comfy couch and depending on the time of day may not mind you lounging around but who knows, they might. They have a nice big window with a river view. After that you should try the Cat & Cucumber on TBR & Druid Street. I've never been there, I just like the name and the shabby, well-loved looking building. The reviews make it sound appealing and who knows, maybe they make good coffee and don't mind people sitting around for hours?
my two faves for lounging around and reading are Cafe Arlington (this has got to be the most ethical coffee in SE1- fair trade, organic, social enterprise, helping the homeless, these guys seem to be super fluffy-types and really friendly) and the Cafe Nero on clink street (upstairs for undistracted reading and thinking space)