We promise we’re not pulling your chain: Attendant is a coffee house in the unusual setting of a Victorian public convenience.* Built around 1890, the subterranean space was given a new lease of life in 2013, after lying derelict for more than 50 years — and it’s a striking refurb at that. Going down the stairs through the wrought iron gate at street level, you’ll find a door at the entrance with a pen on a chain for visitors to leave graffiti (nothing too rude, mind). Then there’s the unusual seating arrangement, which consists of a row of stools positioned in front of the original porcelain urinals, plus a small booth area at the back for less adventurous customers.
If you can get your head around the concept, it makes for a quirky, altogether unique experience. The coffee is first-rate, while the sandwich selection is pleasingly offbeat — salt beef with dill pickle and smoked cheddar with sweet chilli chutney, to pick examples at random — and there’s a fine array of locally sourced muffins, cakes and brownies to boot.
Ideally located on a quiet road in Fitzrovia just a stone’s throw from the buzz of Oxford Street, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to call the Attendant the Cistern Chapel of light refreshments (sorry).
27A Foley Street, London, W1W 6DY
T +44 (0) 207 637 37 94
Monday-Friday 8am – 6pm
Saturday 10am – 5pm
Alex Denney is a journalist and copywriter based in London — follow him on Twitter.
* “Public convenience” being a polite description of a building with toilets open to the public. Now, doesn’t that just sound better?