HACKNEY CAFÉS

OUR FAVOURITES BY AN ABSOLUTE MILE

Bread station at a Hackney café

Things Hackney does well: arts, community, food, championing creativity. Oh, and coffee. It does coffee and café culture very well. Two of us live here. We’re those Hackney coffee shop types. No regrets.

Here are our favourites spots – some well-known Hackney cafés, along with some lesser-knowns that’ll be on the tip of Londoners’ tongues not before long.

The London Butler signature in black

Also check out our go-to spots for a Hackney brunch.

Dusty Knuckle

EAST LONDON KINGS
DALSTON


A quick-fire quiz: what does a 40-foot shipping container, gigantic sourdough loaves, and a social enterprise have in common? Answer: they’re all synonymous with Dusty Knuckle, one of the most loved bakery-come-café brands in London. I know this sounds like classic blogger overhype but it isn’t – most Londoners know about Dusty Knuckle and the stellar rep that precedes it.

Talk to me about the space:

Having proved in a shipping container, the bakery has risen to doughy heights with locations in Haringey and Dalston. In fact, its Dalston site has replaced what was the original shipping container and now plays home to a baking school, bakery and a beaut of a café with plenty of outdoor seating.

The space pays homage to Dusty Knuckle’s humble beginnings with an industrial feel, featuring natural materials and exposed brick, contrasted by steel light fittings. Shelves brim with huge crusted sourdough loaves (everyone raves the potato sourdough, and for good reason), while a glass counter houses glossy buns and intricate pasties that always have me salivating at first sight.

What about the food?

We’re talking bigger-than-average toasties, oily focaccia, sweet buns and a shed load of buttery, delicate pastries. You can also choose from an ever-changing menu that includes bacon sarnies on their beloved potato sourdough, homemade granola, egg chilli cheese on that oily focaccia, soups, salads, and lunch items that constantly evolve (I last had a cheddar and onion chutney toasted sandwich). Note: lunch starts at 11.30am.

Why we love it:

The bread is so damn good. The coffee is great. The pastries and buns look divine and taste better than they look. And the sarnies are spot on.

Unsurprisingly, this once-undiscovered gem is now a bakery-café powerhouse. We adore it.


The London Butler tip: There’s limited seating inside but they’ve got loads of outside space. Don’t dilly-dally though – tables go quickly, as do the goods. They’ve also started serving oven-fired pizzas from 5.30pm Thurs-Sat.

Pophams

THE POPULAR PASTRY KID
LONDON FIELDS


The concept was to put innovative spins on traditional pastry classics. With multiple locations and over 125k followers on the Gram, suffice it to say, Pophams Bakery has risen to acclaim.

Talk to me about the space:

A stripped-back and spacious industrial-like hall, with a huge open kitchen where Pophams’ pastry chefs work their flaky magic. The space is dotted with industrial finishings, wooden tables and the occasional minimalist artwork. Here, concrete reigns but it doesn’t feel cold – they’ve somehow created a warm and soft space that invites many a conversation.

How about the menu?

Pastries, obviously. They’ve got classics like croissants and pain au chocolates alongside Pophams staples like their Bacon & Maple Danish pastries and Marmite, cheese and spring onion Schlossbergers.

Coming for lunch? Hit up a toastie (they’ve got ham, potato, savoy cabbage and cheddar; curried root vegetable and gooseberry chutney; charred sweetcorn, jalapeño cream cheese, red onion; and more). If toasties aren’t your thing, grab a delicious slow-roasted pork shoulder sandwich.

You can check out their full menu here.

How’s the coffee?

Very good. Not the best on this list but a very decent cup. Their coffee has been developed and roasted by their own baristas, so if you’ve got questions, you’re in good hands.

Why we love it:

It plays home to lashings of starch, carefully crafted with unique and complementary flavours – who doesn’t want helpings of that? Pophams has gotta be high on your list of Hackney cafés.

The bakery opens 7.30am Mon-Fri and 8.30am on weekends.


The London Butler tip: Pophams turns to pasta come evening – and they do it well. Hand-shaped in the open kitchen and cooked to a perfect bite. It opens at 6pm, and you can check it out here.

Hackney Coffee Co.

COFFEE & COURTYARDS


Hackney Coffee Co is known to many, but it’s still low-key enough to be considered a well-kept East London secret.

Starting as a wee shop on Hackney Road, the team quickly gained a reputation for being purveyors of high-grade specialty coffee. Not content with this title, they branched out to create their own range of coffee inspired by the area itself, and have since expanded their operation and Hackney café to a larger upcycled spot next door.

Talk to me about the space:

Exposed brickwork. Soaring ceilings. Industrial chic. It’s pure, unadulterated East London vibes. We’re smitten.

The café is fairly cosy and leads onto a huge, airy space basked in light (double-height ceilings with massive skylights do the trick), along with some beaut pendent flora hanging from the ceiling. It’s exactly what you’d expect a trendy Hackney café to look like, in the best possible way.

How about the menu?

Delicious cakes, salads, toasties, pastries and alike. Amazing coffee. Refreshing smoothies. And a raspberry and almond cake that’s just divine.

Why we love it:

The courtyard garden. It’s the perfect spot for a sun-soaked catch-up with mates, and there’s plenty of space for the popular people among you. Oh, and the coffee – we can’t not mention the coffee. The team earned their reputation for a reason.

So if you’re after a bright and airy space to work, relax or catch up with friends, Hackney Coffee Co is the one.


The London Butler tip: There’s a cosy bar area come the evening, so feel free to outstay your welcome.

Healthy Stuff

A NUTRITIOUS NOOK
DALSTON


Healthy Stuff has been serving the Hackney area since 2010. It has survived five Prime Ministers and a global pandemic, so it must doing something right. Having visited, we totally get it.

Talk to me about the space:

This is a health food shop and café, and the decor is very much on brand. The green walls and wooden flooring instantly disarm. It’s a space that feels warm, relaxing and convivial; one that captures the art of being a good café.

How about the menu?

My favourites include their salmon & avo on rye toast (I’m a lover of rye – I’ve jumped onboard the gut health train and its the hero we all need) and a wonderful goat’s cheese sandwich with roasted peppers (one of many sourdough goodies). They also serve a bunch of wholesome salads and tempting treats for those craving a lil’ sweet (think brownies, lemon drizzle slices, etc.)

As for drinks, expect plenty of fresh juices and smoothies to choose from, not to mention delightful coffee (they use Climpson & Sons beans – more on them in a mo).

Why we love it:

Healthy Stuff is a Hackney café that offers an escape from the hustle of city life, a chance to switch off, and an opportunity to catch up with friends over a decent cup of coffee. In other words, no OTT showmanship, no ‘photo moment’ for socials, no prioritising style over substance. Just a bloody good café that nourishes the soul.


The London Butler tip: Not so much a tip, but enjoy the service – this is a café with hospitality running through its veins. It’s refreshing.

Snapery East

THE ART OF BAKERY-BRUNCH
LONDON FIELDS


When a renowned bakery turns its hands to breakfast and brunch, smashes it out of the park, and then proceeds to become more popular than long-established cafés in the area, you call it The Snapery East model.

Talk to me about the space:

Housed in a London Fields railway arch once home to The Bread Station, the vibe is pretty similar to many others on this list: rough and ready, industrial chic, that sort of thing – though this shouldn’t come as a surprise, we’re in Hackney after all.

At the front, you’ll find a coffee station and long glass counter housing intricate pastries, brioche loaves, focaccia, pizza, and sweet goods. To the side, you’ll find The Snapery’s much-loved loaves that grace elite establishments. Spoiler: they’re massive.

As for seating, grab a pew in their large courtyard space – it gives a sort of farm-to-table feel despite being nestled in the heart of Hackney. And it’s heated.

How about the menu?

At the time of writing, Caravan Coffee is their caffeinated weapon of choice. I’ve never been the biggest fan of Caravan (I feel there are better local roasters), but it’s still a bloody decent cup.

Food-wise, The Snapery East will have you asking whether it’s a renowned bakery or brunch spot. Probably both now. Expect stars like Mumbai toasties (masala potatoes, cheddar, chutney, cucumber pickles in a beaut loaf) and sausage breakfast muffins (say hello to sriracha ketchup), along with some surprise delights like their smokey tempeh rosti breakfast which is just phenomenal.

We’ve still got plenty left to try on the menu, but every visit so far has been disgustingly good.

Why we love it:

It’s in a calm spot away from the chaos of East London, the team prioritise farming that puts soil health first, and the food is delicious. All in all, it’s a fantastic little bakery-brunch-café spot.

HACKNEY COFFEE SHOPS

Take yourself for a coffee fiend? Sack off the cafés and get yourself to these Hackney coffee shops…


Dark Arts Coffee

ONE OF OUR FAVOURITES
HOMERTON

London’s coffee scene exploded and hasn’t looked back, and not necessarily for the better. There are a tonne of bang-average coffee shops and run-of-the-mill roasters. They tend to look the same, give the same old spiel and taste meh. Every now and then, though, you find a roaster with genuine talent and personality – enter Dark Arts Coffee.

I could wax lyrical about why I love them so much, but it boils down to this: they roast better quality coffee than most others I’ve tried and continue to try. They don’t rest on their laurels, either, and continually release belting roast after belting roast. Their Hackney Coffee bar serves two espresso and two batch brew options. Oh, and the place smells insane. If that doesn’t scratch your coffee itch, f**k knows what will.

Inside Dark Arts Coffee, Hackney

Paradox Design + Coffee

CAFFEINE CURATORS
MARE STREET


Located in a lil’ space on Netil Market, Paradox is the creation of husband and wife team Katherine & Zain. The duo are all about championing variety, showcasing the best of independent roasters as part of their ever-evolving roastery lineup – and earning them a reputation as some of the finest coffee curators in the country.

Again, it sounds extreme but it’s true – some of us Butlers have ordered from roasters based on Paradox’s selections, and we’ve never been disappointed.

One Butler was excited that Paradox made the list and with it, a response that read, “too right – they served one the best espressos I’ve had in the city”. We can’t say more than that.

Open Tues-Sat (from 9am) & Sun from 9.30am


The London Butler tip: Less of a tip, more of a fact – their coffee lineups have included Kiss the Hippo, Hard Lines, Onibus, Curve, and Bubbly Batch, to name a few.


13 – 23 Westgate Street, Netil Market, E8 3RL; Paradox
View on Google Maps | View on Apple Maps

Climpson & Sons

ESTABLISHED
BROADWAY MARKET


If you’re into coffee and familiar with London, you probably know why Climpson & Sons is on this list. For the unaquainted, chances are you’ve had their coffee in one of London’s many coffee shops – and most likely loved it.

What started off as a stall on Broadway Market has evolved into a coffee bar and roastery that serves plenty of London’s restaurants, cafés, bars, etc. Their Hackney coffee shop has a wide selection of roasts and an excellent reputation for pleasing the masses.


The London Butler tip: This is one to visit on a weekend when Broadway Market is in full swing. Grab a cup, relax outside, then explore what the market has to offer.

Let us know if you’ve visited any of these Hackney cafés or coffee shops and what you thought of them. And feel free to throw suggestions our way.

See our guide via: Google Maps | Apple Maps


And if you’re after more advice on the area, check out our guide on the best brunches in Hackney, as well as the best pubs in the area. Wanting something a little healthier? We’ve got a list of decent Hackney gyms, as well as the best spots to get a massage. All tried and tested.

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