Afternoon Tea: Bridge Coffee House, Shoreditch

I hate Shoreditch with a passion.  It’s like tumbling into New York’s Lower East Side, except with more hipsters (read: posh kids from West London who’ve decided they want to be “cutting edge” and move East to live in a squat and spend their trust fund being “creatives”) and less exciting shops.

But the Bridge Coffee House is worth the trip.  Located on Kingsland Road (by a junction that holds a lot of fond memories for me), this coffee house gives more than a nod to opulent yesteryear.  The downstairs bar is tiny, but littered with vintage advertising, and the bar staff operate extremely Steampunk-looking tills (I want one).  There’s a mouthwatering cake selection, and a full range of caffeinated, soft, and alcoholic beverages.  A black coffee with Cointreau is quite reasonable, and you can get a full lunch here for about £8.

The Bridge cafe

Once you’ve chosen what to eat or drink, you have the option of taking your plates up a narrow wooden staircase to the upstairs lounge.  It’s a balancing act if you’re carrying more than two things, but a bit of tea spillage will be worth it.  This is the upstairs:

A cross between an opium den, a Victorian home, and Louis XIV sumptuosity (not a real word), it’s a gorgeous place to while away hours, chatting with friends, holding a meeting, or having a little snooze.  I’ve been here most often with the London Gothic Meetup Group, and I would certainly recommend dressing up a little to really sink into the ambiance of the place.  Suits, lace, and ornate jewellery go perfectly with this place!

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