Home of bankers, musicians, artists, photographers, and creative types for whom nine-to-five isn’t an option — I love London for being so different!

The city’s hidden, independent coffee shops have such a nice, warm ambiance — old wood tables, chalkboard menus, light and airy rooms, crackling fires, soft-furnishings and paintings, the bitter smell of coffee, edgy music, and chocolate brownies. Finding one of these cozy cafés is the perfect way to spend a cold January afternoon or a hot July morning. I find so much inspiration in exploring East London, street-by-street, making notes for future photos and sharing great spots for late morning coffee, delicious lunch, or atmospheric dinner.

The love needs to be shared, so I’ve put together a list of 10 of my favorite one-of-a-kind coffee shops.

Treves & Hyde

On the edge of Whitechapel, you’ll find Treves & Hyde — a coffee shop and restaurant and bar, all underneath the trendy Leman Locke apartment hotel. Thanks to clean interiors, a pink staircase, and that magic light every morning, Treves & Hyde has become an Instagram hot-spot, but it remains one of my favorites because of its uncluttered counter and friendly service.

Morty & Bob’s

This place is everything I love in one. It’s local (just around the corner from my house), laptop friendly, and there’s always good coffee and food. But most importantly, Morty & Bob’s is well hidden — you need to ring the bell and wait to be granted an access before you can climb to the second floor of Netil House, a quirky coworking hub in the heart of London Fields. You can always find me here when I’m too lazy to go the extra mile into the office.

Nobu Shoreditch

This restaurant is an exciting addition to the East London dining scene. Like Morty & Bob’s, it’s very well hidden on a quiet side road just off of busy Great Eastern Street. Nobu is a nice spot, not only for brunch, but also for completing some weekly work  over a cup of well-made matcha.

Ozone Coffee Roasters

Ozone has become the main coffee destination around Old Street. It is always completely full, and since you can watch the roasters working while you wait, it has quite the view! Their coffee is consistently 10 out of 10, and I always find that I work faster here, probably thanks to perfect WiFi and a nice coworking vibe. 

Dark Arts

Dark Arts used to be a roastery before they opened to the public. Their remote location in Homerton under the railway arches helps discourage crowds, although it still can get a little busy at times. I love coming here for breakfast — these guys make a mean pastry, and they’re even vegan-friendly!

Little Duck Picklery

This charming, recent addition to Dalston neighborhood has a vibe so calming that as soon as I step inside, I immediately slow down and my thoughts find order. Little Duck Picklery has both an open kitchen and fermentation workshop and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner — though it feels more like a supper club than a proper restaurant. I just love those cozy window booths.

Climpson and Sons

I’ve been coming to Climpson and Sons since I moved to this area 10 years ago! My all-time favorite café has seen many changes over the years, but never fails to deliver quality coffee and foster a community of local coffee lovers.  

Sans Pere Broadway Market

A café devoted to desserts and cocktails on Broadway Market? Exactly what we’ve needed for so long! You can’t go wrong with the pink facade, grey interiors, and marble countertops. I always enjoy my food more if I get to watch how it’s being made, and Sans Pere just reads my mind.

Corner Room

The great food at Corner Room is second only to its iconic lamp wall. This café just proves that quirky interiors attract people again and again. I always get here early for the best light and their outstanding avocado toast. My favorite places are always hidden, and Corner Room is no different. Just ask reception and you’ll get access to the one-room restaurant on the second floor of Town Hall Hotel.  

Violet

Violet is a bespoke cake company that was recently chosen to bake the cake for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s  Royal Wedding! Their little coffee shop on quiet Wilton Way is a charming spot away from the busy roads of East London. I love coming here for their signature whoopie pies, enjoying the sunshine, and people-watching.

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Katya Katkova
Katya is a London-based photographer, passionate Instagrammer, and East London ambassador. She has lived in Hackney for more than 10 years and was a witness to the change East London went through over the years while becoming one of the trendiest places in the world. Being a freelancer Katya works and spends most of her free time in and around East London discovering new places and meeting people behind them.