Clerkenwell, a hidden gem tucked away in the heart of London, is where cobbled lanes meet contemporary flair. Amidst its rich history and architectural wonders, this district brews up another delightful offering: its coffee shops and cafes. Londoners, with their innate love for a good cuppa and a cozy nook, know that Clerkenwell’s coffee havens are the perfect spot to sneak away from the city hustle, refuel, and relax.
If you’re venturing to the capital, make sure to wander into one of these cafes. After all, there’s nothing more quintessentially London than enjoying a frothy cappuccino or a hearty sandwich amidst the old-world charm of Clerkenwell.
Whether you’re staying in the area or just looking for a place to get your caffeine fix while passing through as part of your London itinerary, you might wonder which of the neighborhood’s many coffee shops and cafes are worth visiting. Below you’ll find a ranked list of the best cafes and coffee shops in Clerkenwell, to help you find the perfect one for your current mood and desired vibe.
The Best Cafes & Coffee Shops in Clerkenwell – Ranked!
There are a lot of lists of the “best” cafes and coffee shops in Clerkenwell out there, and most of them have some sort of black box way of deciding what to include and in what order. I prefer to be transparent in how I rank the things I recommend on this site, so below you’ll find a table with scores for each cafe and coffee shop; here’s how I came up with those numbers:
- I selected only those coffee shops and cafes which are located within the generally agreed bounds of the Clerkenwell area
- I ranked all of the cafes/coffee shops by rating and number of reviews on Google reviews
- I then combined those scores with the proportion of reviews each cafe and coffee shop received to come up with a score (out of 5) for each cafe and coffee shop
- I ranked the cafes and coffee shops by score, and broke ties by the number of reviews (at the time of reviewing the data)
Also, I included only cafes and coffee shops with a rating of 4.0 or higher, to ensure I was only including those coffee shops and cafes which are truly good. Given all that, here are the best coffee shops and cafes in Clerkenwell:
|Cafe/Coffee Shop Name||Reviews||Score|
|1||Goswell Road Coffee||525+||4.09|
|4||The Ethiopian Coffee Company||125+||4.02|
|5||Mr Beanstalk Coffee Co||100+||4.02|
Below, you’ll find more about each of these top 5 Clerkenwell coffee shops and cafes, plus shorter descriptions of the other 11 that I reviewed for this post.
1. Goswell Road Coffee
Photos courtesy of Goswell Road Coffee via Instagram
Goswell Road Coffee is one of the best cafes in Clerkenwell, especially if you like cycling!
It’s a hip cafe-meets-bike-shop with a warm and informal atmosphere. If you’re looking for somewhere to just chill for a bitofo good music, you’ll be happy to hear that, besides good coffee, Goswell Road Coffee also has really comfortable couches that you can just sink into.
Maybe because cyclists are a healthy lot, this coffee shop opens early: from 7am Monday to Friday and 8am over the weekend.
(If you head to Bermondsey during your London trip, do stop by their sister outlet there: Fuckoffeebermondsey!)
2. Cafe Maya
Located close to the Charles Dickens Museum and Postal Museum, Cafe Maya is a small cafe known for its well-priced and delicious breakfasts, which are freshly cooked to order. You can get anything from pancakes to more unusual British dishes, such as black pudding, here.
Depending on when you visit, it may or may not be busy, but the staff is always warm and friendly!
Photos courtesy of Sweet
If you like tarts and cupcakes, Sweet is one of the best coffee shops in Clerkenwell for you!
This kid-friendly, dog-friendly cafe does great cakes, good coffee, and freshly squeezed orange juice. (If you’re watching your calories, the salads are tasty too, and they cater to vegan and vegetarian diets.) The prices are also very reasonable, for London: you can find hot drinks for under £3!
For those with an eye for art, you’ll be able to enjoy the works of local artists, which have a proud place of honor on the walls and are for sale.
4. The Ethiopian Coffee Company
Photos courtesy of The Ethiopian Coffee Company via Instagram
True to its name, The Ethiopian Coffee Company is one of the best cafes in Clerkenwell for Ethiopian coffee! The coffee is so good, you’ll want to take some home. Luckily, the beans are for sale and the staff is happy to grind them up for you!
This little independent cafe has friendly and knowledgeable baristas, a great atmosphere, and delicious cakes and cheese toasties. For those who want to bask in the London air, the outside seats offer a good view of the church opposite.
5. Mr Beanstalk Coffee Co
Photos courtesy of Mr Beanstalk Coffee Co via Instagram
Opening mid-pandemic, Mr Beanstalk Coffee Co is a family-run cafe that not only survived the lockdowns but has since thrived. It gets its name from the fact that it sells both coffee and plants on its premises. Part of the shop sells fresh plants, dried flowers, and homewares whilst the other serves up coffee.
The beautiful cafe has a welcoming atmosphere and you can enjoy a delicious lunch or a scone with your coffee as you chat with the friendly staff. A big focus of the business is supporting black-owned businesses, and you can find their products in the homewares section.
Other Great Coffee Shops & Cafes in Clerkenwell
Photos courtesy of Devotion Coffee Clerkenwell via Instagram
In addition to the best coffee shops in Clerkenwell mentioned above, there are lots of others in the area. (If there’s one thing London is not short on, it is places with good coffee!) Here’s a short list of a few others, as well as what makes each one special. If you have time, do check them out; if you only have time for one, do use the list above!
- Briki – Briki is a small deli located in the picturesque Exmouth Market. It offers Mediterranean fare as well as award-winning specialty coffee made from green coffee beans, some of which are sustainably produced. If you like Greek iced coffee (frappe), you must try the one at Briki, along with a bougatsa!
- Gail’s – Also found in Exmouth Market, Gail’s is a cafe chain with lovely interiors, house-blended specialty coffee, and seasonal food. The cakes, bread, and pastries are freshly baked every day, but prices are a little higher than at some of the independents on this list.
- Caffè Nero – Another large coffee shop chain, also found at Exmouth Market, Caffè Nero serves good coffee and some light snacks. Lucky enough to have air-conditioning, it is a great place to get a respite from the heat in summer!
- FWD:Coffee – For those who take their coffee seriously, FWD: Coffee offers 100% specialty coffee, mixed from 50% Savannah, Brazil, and 50% COMSA, Honduras.
- Clerkenwell Kiosk – My favorite coffee stop in the area, Clerkenwell Kiosk is a very cool coffee shop housed in a former park rangers’ hut in St James’s Church Garden. Founded by a Clerkenwell local, it serves great coffee and pastries for unbeatable prices. (The pastries only cost £2, which is pretty much unheard of in London now)
- Par – An independent cafe, you can get breakfast, lunch, and snacks to go with your coffee at Par, where you may even be served by the owner, Paul. The food is well worth trying, with the ingredients locally sourced. The bread is from a Bermondsey bakery, the fruit and vegetables from Barbican Fruiterers just down the road, and the meat from the nearby world-famous Smithfield Market.
- Luis’ Cafè – A tiny Italian cafe, Luis’ Cafe serves great food at great prices. Run by a pair of sisters, the cafe has a retro feel which will make you feel like you’ve traveled back in time.
- Ronis Cafe – Another old-school cafe, Ronis Cafe also offers good food at good prices. You can find everything from sandwiches to porridge and lamb chops here. I highly recommend their English breakfast!
- The Grubberie – The Grubberie is a small cafe that serves good coffee, good food, and good portions, all at a good price. It’s a popular lunch spot for locals and offers food for takeaway too.
- Devotion Coffee Clerkenwell – Devotion Coffee Clerkenwell is a stylish cafe offering delicious specialty coffee. The staff is so warm and friendly, the shop has a 5-star Google rating!
- Cafe Fiori – Cafe Fiori is an interesting cafe, located in what looks like a hut. It is popular with locals, including students of the nearby City University of London, for its delicious sandwiches but do be aware that there are no toilets or tables in the cafe. (There are seats outside.)
Have any questions about the best cafes and coffee shops in Clerkenwell? Feel free to ask in the comments!