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Art in Cafes

Art in Cafes

Photo by LT 

Artists and coffeehouses have long been associated with each other from Paris where Cézanne and Picasso hung out at La Closerie des Lilas, OK more of a bar/café than a coffeeshop or in 1950s London where the cluster of new espresso bars had to find a way to stand out from the crowd. Some found that by exhibiting artists work, and selling it, they had décor for free and added atmosphere and sophistication to their cafes. Dunne Frankowski of course led the way with their innovative collaboration with Protein. And, of course, many baristas are artists in their own right. 

Store Street Espresso and Continental Stores

On looking for art in contemporary coffeeshops, what better place to start that Store Street, home of a number of art galleries in London’s Bloomsbury district. Store Street, one of our favourite cafes, has long displayed art on its walls and the large skylight makes it a great viewing space. Recent exhibitions have included work by barista Kathlyn Pagador who works at The Espresso Room Holborn (formerly Free State) which displays her work 

Store Street Espresso Full Review 40 Store Street, Bloomsbury, WC1E 7DB

Continental Stores Full Review 54 Tavistock Place, Bloomsbury, WC1H 9RG 


Leyas has a very different feel to its Saint Espresso cousins but shares the welcoming, friendly atmosphere. It’s also a place that its baristas and former staff speak fondly of. One of those former baristas, Orsolya Karancz, has a photography exhibition currently at the Morning Crescent neighbourhood café. Staff like Ruta Outwalls and Stephanie Rebuli have helped the café present art exhibitions by the likes of Tim Shaw and others in the past  (and currently Orsolya of course). Please call in and visit the exhibition – details above. 

Full Review 20 Camden High Street NW1 0JH 

Daily Goods

Since first opening in 2014, Carter has always exhibited a range of art at his large Camberwell café. His wonderful café is a must visit and currently he is exhibiting ‘2 Brothers 1 Show’ with bold paintings from Thomas and Lawrence Slater. 

Full Review36 Camberwell Church St, Camberwell, SE5 8QZ 

Jimmy and The Bee 

Perhaps a less well known café, this spot in Clerkenwell serving Alchemy always has interesting art on the walls. At the moment they have some captivating illustrations from Michael Howard. We’d recommend you check this welcoming, unpretentious café. 

Full Review 135 Goswell Rd, Clerkenwell, London EC1V 7JY 

White Mulberries

The St Katherine Docks café has featured art prominently since first opening. A relaunch is due soon but the Tim Shaw mural on the bar will still be featured and we always look forward to the frequently changing art exhibitions here. 

Full Review D3 Ivory House St Katharine Docks E1W 1AT 

Curators Coffee Gallery

The clue is in the name. Artist Tim Shaw long worked as a barista here and Curators Coffee Studio features a number of his drawings. Currently Curators Coffee Gallery have a number of portraits up by Francis Charlton.  

Curators Coffee Gallery Full Review 51 Margaret Street, W1W 8SG

Curators Coffee Studio Full Review 9a Cullum Street, EC3M 7JJ 

Sharps Coffee Bar

Sharps Coffee Bar is now run by Al Wildblood, an accomplished illustrator and his coffee / music based adaptations currently adorn the walls: Born in Ethiopia by Brews Springsteen? Cradle of Filter? Whatever takes your fancy. 

Full review 9 Windmill Street W1T 2JF 

Flat White and Milk Bar

Both cafes display art on the walls, often by the baristas themselves. Currently Milk Bar is displaying four drawings and a painting from Phil Hale and a Peter Blake print. Flat White has historical fashion week photographs by Ki Price and is due a change soon. 

Flat White Full Review 17 Berwick Street, Soho, W1F 0PT

Milk Bar Full Review 3 Bateman Street, Soho, W1D 4AG 

Number 67 at SLG

While the Tate Galleries deserve the utmost respect for serving their own roast beans. South London Gallery attached cafe is a delightful spot for lunch – also serving Allpress coffee 

South London Gallery, 65-67 Peckham Road, SE5 8UH 

Small White Elephant

Also in Peckham, one of our favourite spots and one of London’s most characterful cafes, features art regularly. Currently they are displaying photography from around the world by one of their many customers turned friends Tash Shaikh, a retired engineer who loves to travel. 

28 Choumert Road, Peckham, SE15 4SE 

Carmelite Café

One of London’s spaces deserving to be wider known, the Carmelite Café, set as it is, in Bow Arts Centre is an ideal spot for coffee and art. It’s a very special setting inside a former nunnery.

181 Bow Road, E3 2SJ 


This unpretentious neighbourhood café features walls painted by local artists and coffee from Extract. 

82 Caledonian Road, Kings Cross, N1 9DN

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