Algerian Coffee Stores
Continue reading But Soho legend is a circus of gritty decadence. Long the ‘enfant terrible’ of London, the area has always greeted its tenants with an embrace and a blind eye. As such, the story of an Algerian man setting up a coffee shop – although statistically unusual in 1887 – has long been usurped […]
Old Compton Street, one of Soho’s jugulars, is alternately lined with shops selling underwear and coffee. The latter are a mix of the usual franchised suspects and the artisanal independents typical of London’s hipster boom. Standing in contrast, at Number 52, is Algerian Coffee Stores. Its post-box red façade and ‘Est. 1887’ signage proffering a curious outpost of North African culture. Inside, the fittings remain much the same as they always have. The old world Victorian counter, display case and ceiling-skimming shelves – heaving with over 60 different blends – are original and kept meticulously in tact. Fading sepia-tone photographs hang on the wall, charting the store through the ages, and the air is heavy with the perfume of coffee. For a brand with a fine reputation and over a century of such well-preserved heritage, one would think its Algerian roots would be firmly planted in Soho’s folklore.
This article appears in the issue42 Buy Now