The prettiest cafes to work from in London when you’re a freelancer and need to feel inspired.
Matilda Goad is the cool girl’s source of scallop edged, pastel-hued interior decor inspiration. The London-based creative’s designs range from playful cutlery to contrasting planters: essentially all the little bits and bobs you need to make your home look just so.
So, with such an eye for in-vogue interiors, it stands to reason that Goad knows a chic surrounding when she sees one and is the perfect person to direct us to the coolest cafés in town.
Goad herself loves to get out of her studio and hit up some of London’s best cafés for working, seeking out independent coffee shops with inspiring views and a creative vibe. And what does every freelancer need, when thinking up some world-class ideas? A beautiful notebook to pen their ideas in, of course.
Goad has been working with Papier on an adorable range of notebooks that are ideal for this, and so to celebrate the launch she let us into her four favourite cafés to work in London to hatch some brilliant plans (armed with a notebook, of course).
The Towpath Café
One of the wondrous things about East London is the picturesque Regent’s Canal, which runs down from Angel through to Haggerston and beyond. If you’ve ever taken a sunlit stroll down this way you’ll know that the waterway seems to have a calming effect, induced by the living walls of lush greenery that line some of the buildings there, and the boats that bob along to their own rhythm.
So it makes sense, then, that if peace and quiet is what you need to get some work done, this is a wonderful place to head. There’s also lots to see, and the view from The Towpath Cafe is one that Goad says gives her lots of creative inspiration.
“I wouldn’t advise someone to go there if they’re wanting wifi, but The Towpath Café is an inspiring place to watch the world go way with a sketchbook,” says Goad.
The café is a bit of an institution as far as locals are concerned, having been there for years and reaching people mainly by word of mouth (you won’t find much of an online presence) – and this all adds to its charm. Long, rustic sharing tables sit in and outside of the open plan café, which has a seasonally changing menu using quality ingredients.
Address: 42 De Beauvoir Crescent, Haggerston, N1 5SB
Allpress Espresso Roastery & Café
You might have seen the name Allpress pop up in some of your other favourite cafés and coffee shops already, not only around London, but possibly on your travels in other countries. That’s because this globally-recognised roastery is already a pretty big deal in the world of coffee.
Allpress makes its coffee exclusively using the Allpress Hot Air Roast Method, designed to get as much flavour as possible out of the beans. There are two dedicated Allpress cafés in London, but Goad likes the Dalston branch because of its pretty outside area.
“Allpress does the best coffee,” starts the designer. “I love the outdoor area, it’s such a nice spot to sit on a sunny day.” And she’s right, in front of the warehouse style building that the café has made its home in, the seating area is adorned with colourful flower beds and plants.
Due to the café only staying open until 4pm, you won’t be the only one sitting on your laptop. All throughout the day it’s full of freelance workers and professionals, which is motivating in itself – the snacks and cakes are pretty good, too. After all, no one can produce their next masterpiece without sustenance, right?
Address: 55 Dalston Ln, Dalston, London E8 2NG
Remember what we said about sustenance? Well, Pophams is known for being a master of the best type of sustenance: pastry. Here you’ll find every kind of flaky, buttery creation that you could possibly dream of, pumped full with fillings that will have your mouth watering, just from scrolling through their Instagram page.
Hidden away down a small street in Islington, the on-trend decor also helps make this a nice place to spend your working day. A mix of industrial high ceilings and open pipework with smart tiling, Pophams certainly looks the part.
Goad says: “Pophams is such a sweet little cafe, and there’s always a queue for the array of delicious croissants.” Personally, we like the look of the sugar-dusted almond number above.
Address: 19 Prebend Street, London, England, N1 8PF
The moment you lay your eyes on Violet Cakes, it’s clear why Goad (a designer known for her whimsical, pastel-drenched designs) has put it in her list.
The pale pink facade and matching chairs that sit outside the café are the epitome of good colour blocking, making a statement in this otherwise unassuming street. Inside, space is sparse so you might have wait to get a table, but once you do it’ll be worth it. Goad says: “Claire Ptak who owns the café has previously baked for the Royal Family,” and we figure if her cakes are good enough for them…
Ptak specialises in baking with organic and low intervention ingredients, like Madagascan vanilla pods and pure cane molasses, with which she creates treats such as cinnamon buns, fresh ginger and molasses cake, chocolate rye brownies and fruity spelt cake.
Address: 47 Wilton Way, E8 3ED, London
Images: Papier / Instagram