Monday, September 29, 2008

Never Coming Back

Goodbye Piccadilly...

It's a year since the legendary New Piccadilly cafe closed, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to flag up the New Piccadilly Memories flickr site. Pictures are still being added, which must be a measure of the affection the place was held in. I doubt anyone would remember with the same longing a Starbucks that closed 12 months previously. Thank God the Lorelei is still going. I don't know where I'd go for pre-beer scoff otherwise.

The number of 'formica' cafes lost in recent years is alarming, but some still hang on. Poking around in Smithfield I came across a place called Beppe's. When I worked nearby 17 years ago I must have passed it twice a day, and never noticed it. Back then of course, caffs of this type were everywhere, as familiar as a K6 telephone box. It was shut when I dropped by, but is now firmly on my 'to do' list.

London

London

2 comments:

A F-A said...

It is funny (peculiar, not ha-ha) that, in the UK, the neighbourhood cafe is under threat from the massed onslaught of Subway, McDonald's et al, whilst in all good cities of the USA, you find a British Tourist heading straight away for brekkers in the neighbourhood cafe! I wonder if running a caff in the UK is just too onerous, what with Business Rates, Food Safety, Insurance etc etc. It'll be such a sad time when the local cafe has gone.

Ten Inch Wheeler said...

I don't know if there are any less cafes, just that the 'formica' type is quickly vanishing. The ones typically run by Italian pensioners with a big, steamy 'Still' boiler on the counter and a handwritten menu. A problem (if it is a "problem") is the British mania for wanting to be up-to-date with everything even if they chuck the baby out with that bathwater (mind you so do the the Italians and it doesn't seem to have done their cafes much harm). When I worked in Camden, right outside Emap magazines by Mornington Crescent tube was the Eden Cafe. Bacon sarnies, smiley service, a geden to sit in and some of the loveliest coffee I've had outside of italy (they'd do you a pint of the stuff if you wanted). When Starbollocks opened up the road, the Eden was shut within a year, no doubt because large numbers of local workers wanted to be seen with a Starbucks cup on their desk.