Nov 25 2000
Alan Benett's TellingTales
series is trailing a forthcoming reminiscence devoted to the
cafes of Leeds. We hope to be able to run excerpts after the
Nov 19 2000
The Evening Standard website This
Is London has started running a desultory Keep Our Cafes campaign
under the heading Save Our Sausages. On the back of this LWT
have apparently been preparing a caff piece for their 'Seven
Days' slot. Not before time. Two more significant vanishings
in the last months: Serafino's old Italian restaurant
in Mayfair's Mount St and the legendary Market Cafe in
Spitalfields. Both have been ripped out so crap provincial theme
bars can be installed for office drones. Click here
for some new reviews of caffs in darkest Ilford. Still sorting
through the Palma backlog and planning a new trip to Lisbon -
heading for the atmospheric upper town. NEW Also in preparation...a
personal memoir about the author's lifetime addiction to forlorn
caffs, disparaged boozers and thickly sliced toast. Just to warn
regular visitors - this will inevitably be optioned immediately,
turned into a 'lad lit' classic and thence reworked sensitively
into an LA based crypto-High Fidelity light romantic comedy.
The film rights to this website have already been valued at a
perky £250,000 but as the bidding whirrs up we hope to
keep a steady head and do the right thing.
Oct 22 2000
The bi-annual Classic Cafes bash
to Malorca is now completed. A vast new archive of superb Spanish
'old mens' caffs and bars has been amassed and will be posted
in a Palma special shortly. Other good news...the mighty Pellicci
in Bethnal Green Rd is now FULLY restored to its former glory.
A quick chat to the staff revealed that months of work has gone
into rebuilding the kitchens and painstakingly reassembling all
the intricate interior woodwork. A full report and interview
with the Pellicci family is pending. Also, a New Piccadilly interview
and photo update will be prepared shortly.
Aug 20 2000
Good-ish news on The New Piccadilly
front - the finest Soho caff survivor in Denman St. It seems
the newly renegotiated lease will keep the place open for some
time. But...the whole street is now under a planning threat for
total demolition. Westminster Council inform us however the planners
have not made a good case and the scheme could be held up for
ages. This site has already made written objections and will
be making further protestations via the Soho Society. The Pellicci
now seems to have had the upper floors and windows repaired but
the interior appears to have been knocked out completely. A shocking
and worrisome state of affairs for all caff lovers. On a happier
note...forthcoming photo specials are being prepared on Vinces
[off Theobalds Rd] and Mr Lorenzo head of New Piccadilly. New
reviews in #3 also. An arsenal of new pix is being prepared for
the site and will filter through over the next month. Keep checking
Jul 11 2000
New reviews & pictures from
assorted caffs dotted round the nether regions of the Hackney
and Dalston death valley. This area actually IS pure Pinter territory
- where the great man himself was born and educated. Whilst digesting
this exclusive content acquisition, note also the debut of our
startling and ingenious new homepage strapline alluding to the
site's tasteful minimalist utility-build virtues: "Classic
Cafes: A seemly digital
sash in a crass uPVC velux cyberscape.'
Building on our much lauded NO FLASH, NO JAVA, NO PLUG-INs stance
we invite visitors to not only 1) comment on this catchy log-line
but also to 2) suggest better ones! 'Keep 'em Classic' and keep
'em coming. Signed picture prize for the best suggestions. Or
Jul 7 2000
We plan to carry ongoing reports
about the progress of Pellicci's as reconstruction work starts.
Interviews with the family owners and pictures of the gutted
interior will be posted shortly. The Pellicci is one of London's
greatest classic cafes and we hope to keep a close eye on developments.
The London Cafe Book [Vega £9.99] - which isn't
about cafes and which is to be otherwise avoided at all costs
- does however have great b/w pix of the mighty P. in its heyday.
Jul 2 2000
Sally is a Classic Cafes fan who
has just sent this e-mail about a trip to Canada. Luckily a Classic
Cafes snitch in Toronto may be able to send over pix to show
what we're missing...
"I've just come back from a trip to
Canada and thought classic cafes fans might like to hear about
a remarkable place in Toronto (can't find any mention of it on
the links to this site)
It's called the Lakeview Diner and is situated
in downtown Toronto, on Dundas St. The story goes (and is apparently
true) that, a few years after it opened in 1947, there was a
dispute in the family that owned in. This resulted in the owners
giving up on the place and locking the door of the diner at the
close of business one day. It remained locked for many years.
Forty years later, a new owner unlocked
the doors on this untouched 1940s paradise, and, basically, gave
it a good clean and began serving food again, leaving all the
original fixtures and fittings in place! This owner has now moved
on but the current owners are keeping the faith.
It truly is like walking back in time when
you enter this chrome and wood diner. The lunch counter is wooden,
with a beautiful patina of age. Behind it, there are original
soda fountains and chunky aluminium coolers for pop. Chrome and
vinyl stools are fixed in front of the counter.
Further into the dark and shady interior,
original tables and booths, with coat hooks, are all still in
place. The floor is dingy linoleum, the radiators, light fittings,
wash basins etc are all original. It's beautiful! The only thing
I would change is remove some of the 'period' adverts and pictures
which the current owners have put on the walls. There are a few
too many to be authentic. But I am splitting hairs. Suffice to
say, it is a gem. May it never change. Oh, the food is pretty
average but who cares! (I'm kicking myself for not taking photos)
(Almost) worth a plane ticket to Toronto!!"
Jun 26 2000
Pellicci update: from the No. 8
bus, damage to the interior looks more extensive than thought.
Nearly all the back walls of the cafe have been demolished and
the upper exterior windows remain boarded up. Can this magnificent
temple of vitrolite and dark wood be reborn? East End Life newspaper
contacted Classic Cafes for comment about the fire and to tell
us the place wasn't wholly lost to demolition.
Jun 7 2000
Caff masters in conversation! Three
new exclusive interviews and pictures featuring writers, cafe
owners and designers. Iain Sinclair is one of Britain's leading
novelists and essayists [NB:
included here is montage artwork by Sinclair of Alfredo's cafe
N1]; Quentin Reynolds designed London
cafe-style restaurants RK Stanleys and Alfred and Mr Burkeman
runs the excellent Copper Grill at the back of Liverpool St.
[Sinclair and Burkeman portraits by Phil Nicholls. More interviews
Classic Cafes | Iain Sinclair interview
Classic Cafes | Quentin
Classic Cafes |
Mr Burkeman interview
Jun 2 2000
The wonderful Pellicci in Bethnal
Green has been closed due to fire-damage in the kitchens. Latest
news is that some of the amazing interior panelling has been
slightly damaged around the kitchen hatch and that some stained
glass work has been affected. Despite some boarding up outside
the Pellicci will re-open. Reports of its death are - thankfully
- premature. Scares like this only confirm our resolve that the
supreme Pellicci must be saved once and for all for the nation
as a vital exemplar of British vernacular architecture.
May 20 2000
New section devoted to cheap cafes
in central London accessed via link at the top of all the reviews
pages. More pictures. Design refinements throughout site. Also,
new 'return to top of page' links at bottom of all sections to
help with longer scrolls. Music section extended.
May 1 2000
Feature recommendations in the
weeks' issue of Time Out and Internet Magazine
- Britain's largest web mag. Extensive
site update. All new scans for clarity and faster loading. A
new 'enclaves' section is in development under Extra in the navigator bar. Much miscellaneous editing
and rewriting. New page design. An offer from London Arts to
record a radio broadcast based round the site. Preparations for
Apr 28 2000
Double page caffs
article in Evening Standard lamenting pace of closure of proper
London cafes against the rise of the chain coffee spots.
Apr 19 2000
Exclusive and extensive
interviews conducted with: master caff-interior conceptualist
and designer Quentin Reynolds; Britain's leading psychogeographical
novelist Iain Sinclair, and owner of the magnificent 'Copper
Grill,' Mr Burkeman. Plus...new scanner acquired for site pix
and graphics. A sumptuous new archive of images is being prepared
for every page.
Apr 1 2000
Classic Cafes exclusive:
forthcoming interviews with top British author Iain Sinclair
and leading UK interior designer Quentin Reynolds confirmed.
Also...100 new pictures in preparation to be added this month.
Original site pix were all scanned incorrectly taking too long
to download. Over the next month all of them will be fed back
in properly. Pictures for 'enclaves' section being prepared.
Mar 23 2000: First feature
appears in 'Space' [Guardian 23.3.2000]
Within days of
this site going live The Guardian architecture/interiors supplement
did a rave quarter page feature prompting a deluge of e-mail.
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