Twee rooms: Themed cafés are everywhere, and they’re really lame
How hygienic is it to stroke a cat while sipping a chai latte?
Over the last few years, a new niche has emerged in the dark world of hipster cuisine: the themed café.
Found anywhere they can fit their over-sized Italian espresso machines and even bigger egos in, these sickeningly contrived marketing exercises are taking over London.
From Cat Cafés to re-purposed public toilets, nowhere is safe from the blight of the Instagram friendly, Shoreditch sprawl.
You can’t help but question the poor misguided souls who piss away their cash for these mediocre experiences, under the illusion their decision to pay an extra two quid for their cup of Java is improving the life of the average exploited Colombian.
Because let’s be honest, it probably isn’t.
The rise of the vomit inducing, organic tea – or rather twee – shop is unstoppable, so we went to some of the most cringe-worthy examples to find out why buying a morning coffee has become an eco-friendly, Kale fuelled nightmare.
Theme: Former Victorian toilet
Cost of cappuccino: £2.80/£3.00
Cost of cake: £3.50
Twee rating: 4/5
First on our list was The Attendant, a relic of a time when you had to do your public pissing underground. Without a trace of irony, the establishment describes itself as “one of Europe’s most unique Espresso & Food bar spaces”.
This aggressively twee little room boasts “green coffee beans from single estates and farms where the focus is on quality, provenance, sustainability”.
As the inoffensive indie soundtrack washed over, employee Ross, 25, told The Tab: “Coffee goes on an incredible journey from bean to cup and the big chains don’t care about preserving the quality.
“Everything we do is about keeping the integrity of the coffee. I don’t care if all coffee shops aren’t in old public toilets, but I care a lot if they’re serving shit coffee.”
Aside from the entirely predictable ramblings of this paid up member of the Tweester elite, the rest of the experience was the real world equivalent of signing a Change.org petition, giving you a warm feeling, but of no real value to anyone.
The coffee, while perhaps a touch better than a bog standard Costa, was nothing to write home about, and their brownie, ft. Twee favourite salted caramel, was a violation of consumer rights at nearly four quid.
Look Mum No Hands
Theme: Bike repair shop
Cost of tea: £2.75
Cost of smoothie: £3.75
Twee rating: 3/5
High off the fumes of ethnically sourced ground beans, we ventured to our second stop on the Café au Lame trail.
“Look Mum No Hands” is the bike repair shop stroke hipster café, complete with saddle covers and red berry smoothies. Charging £2.75 a cuppa and almost £4.00 for a glass of whipped up juice, our bill came to £6.30 and we really needed the loo.
Selling themselves on the premise of having in-store mechanics to fix your bike while you sip on a “Chocolate Assam”, Look Mum No Hands would make more sense being called Look Mum No Point.
Ok, so we didn’t maximise the café because we turned up on foot. But if you’ve used your bike to avoid a busy commute, what’s the likelihood of you stopping off for a quick paint job and a macchiato?
Theme: Global cereals
Cost of diet tangerine and lime: £2.00
Cost of cereal: (large) £4.40
Twee rating: 5/5
Our next stop was the controversial Cereal Killer Café. Situated in the borough with the highest child poverty rate in the UK, this glorified cereal aisle will take £4.40 out of your pocket for a large bowl of Sugar Puffs.
Reeking of pretence and milk, the waitresses, with their pin-up girl tattoos and 50’s style glasses, serve up average but expensive portions of your bog standard breakfast cereals on silver trays with jars – of course.
With a choice of toppings and toast added to the menu, you can’t help but wonder why people are fussed by this fad when there’s free Ready-Brek at home. Though arguably unique, there is surely nothing clever about charging people the equivalent of a good meal for some soggy Bran Flakes.
And for their piece-de-resistance, Cereal Killer even have their own non-alcoholic Cereal Cocktails. With names like “Feckin’ Nut Case” and “Mint Chocolate cHipster”, not only will they make you question humanity, but also won’t get you drunk.
It’s naff, it’s overpriced and you can get it all at Asda.
Theme: Russell Brand
Cost of latte: £1.80
Cost of toasties: £5.00
Twee rating: 2/5
Drug addict turned promoter of social justice Russell Brand’s latest venture, the Trew Era cafe, located in Hackney’s New Era Housing Estate, ranks as one of the shittest places we’ve ever been into.
Though drinks prices are cheap and the food looks adequately prepared, there is something even more contrived about eating in a political café than in an old toilet.
A non profit organisation striving to ease recovering addicts into work, buying coffee from Trew Era felt like more of a moral obligation than a leisurely break. With its bleak interior décor lacking any life or soul, the café fails in its aim to inspire, and if anything, just confirmed a basis for political apathy.