Smart Living

The Jackal’s guide to the best espresso bars in London

Superior espresso is one of the simplest pleasures London has to offer. Here are six of our favourite places to go for it

Let’s face it. None of us are going to be giving up worshipping caffeine any time soon. In fact, good coffee is the lifeblood that runs through team Jackal’s veins – from mandatory wake-up macchiatos to after dinner pick-me-ups. Even so, it’s all too easy to take coffee for granted – as something to be consumed to survive, or power through the day.

But, we think this is a sad state of affairs; fine roasted coffee is one of this city’s greatest simple pleasures, to be enjoyed and appreciated when the time allows. So, stick with Starbucks for your on-the-move fix, these are six espresso bars to visit when only the best will do.

bar termini soho coffee espresso

Bar Termini, Soho 

Quite simply the slickest cup o’ joe you’re going to find in town. Launched a few years ago by coffee king Marco Arrigo and his cocktail mixing counterpart Tony Conigliaro, Bar Termini is named after Rome’s central train station. It aims to bring a touch of retro Roman buzz to the capital’s coffee scene, with small tables and an intimate but sociable atmosphere. The central location on Soho’s Old Compton Street is perfect for when you’re passing through, and the slow-roast espresso distilled via the bar’s vintage Faema 1961 espresso machine is second to none.

7 Old Compton Street, bar-termini.com  

Attendant coffee espresso bar fitzrovia london

Attendant, Fitzrovia

Built in 1890 and still with the original Doulton & Co urinals poking out from one wall, Attendant is a somewhat unexpected choice for your morning hit. A revamped Victorian public loo (don’t worry, it’s been well scrubbed), it is probably as characterful as central London gets. Even so, it’s not just a gimmick; the bar offers espresso crafted from its very own Attendant Roastery, made with a La Marzocco Linea GB5 (that’s the Rolls Royce of espresso machines to you and me). Located in the heart of Fitzrovia, it’s the place to go when you get the urge (for a proper coffee, that is).

27A Foley St, the-attendant.com

Climpson coffee london broadway market

Climpson & Sons, Hackney 

No North London weekend is complete without a visit to Climpson & Sons. Founded in the early 2000s by coffee fanatic Ian Burgess, this place takes its brew very seriously. Combining an Australian passion for coffee (many staff members credit Oz for starting their own personal coffee journeys) with a pioneering mindset, Climpson & Sons specialise in sourcing, roasting and crafting only the finest coffees. With dozens of espresso blends under their belts, its the perfect destination to get you through till Monday.

67 Broadway Market, climpsonandsons.com 

Prufrock coffee espresso london farringdon

Prufrock Coffee, Farringdon 

For those of us who measure out our lives in coffee spoons (get it?), Prufrock Coffee is almost too good. While Leather Lane isn’t exactly short of coffee shops, there’s something about it that stands out from the rest of the artisanal crowd. A stalwart of the capital’s coffee scene for a few years now, its scientific approach to coffee brewing is what makes the difference – it’s a training hub for baristas, so different temperatures, shot times and brew formulas are always being tested. And, with one of its owners, Gwilym Davies, a former World Barista Champion, it certainly knows its stuff.

23-25 Leather Lane, prufrockcoffee.com 

Antipode coffee london espresso bar

Antipode Coffee, Hammersmith

As the name suggests, Antipode Coffee brings speciality Australian flair to its coffee making. Opened by its very own Antipodean, Jerome Dwyer, in 2013, the bar concentrates on bringing the very best of Australian hospitality flair to west London. Stop off here for your perfect on-the-run espresso, crafted using Nude Coffee beans for a drink, that is thick, rich and well-rounded. The breakfast dishes are excellent too, if you’ve got time for a sit-down.

28 Fulham Palace Road, instagram.com/antipodelondon

Workshop coffee london espresso bar

Workshop Coffee, Marylebone 

Dotted around Central and East London, Workshop Coffee is a chain with a difference. Founded in 2011 by aficionado James Dickson, it’s a brand dedicated to creating the perfect cup; with sourcing, roasting and brewing all done in-house. From buying the beans as green seeds (the purest form, we’re told) from small single-estate farmers to roasting them here in London, Workshop Coffee is zealous about controlling its production process. If you care about where your caffeine fix comes from, this is the pit-stop for you.

80 Mortimer Street, workshopcoffee.com