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We love… Cities and Cafés – two great things that go great together

The Guardian travel section has another interactive walking tour that is worth a look, this one involving one of my absolute favorite kinds of places – cafés…

London walks: Coffee tour: From meeting places for 17th-century poets to the 50s espresso bar revolution and today’s new ‘flat white’ kids on the block, Dr Matt Green traces the role of coffee houses in the capital. This walking tour can be downloaded on to your mp3 player or mobile and used as an audio guide on location along with the map, which you can print out or use on your phone… (via Travel | guardian.co.uk.)

Coincidentally, I’ve spent the last three Saturdays taking a friend on walking tours in the Bay Area that centered around cafés. The idea is to take a 5-10 mile walk through San Francisco or Berkeley/Oakland, looking at city sights and stopping regularly to refresh one’s self at a cafe, and to get some reading in at the same time. My friend is less into reading for long periods in cafés than me, and something of a foodie, so these recent walks have had shorter café breaks, but have been fleshed out with wonderful food from some of the exciting gourmet and foodie establishments that have been springing up all over the Greater Bay Area like a plague of nummy treats. I may try to write up one of these tours and post it in the near future…

A historical tour of London cafés would be interesting for the perspective it would provide on coffee shop culture.  During the 60s, when cafés really started appearing in the United States there was a strong association of them with counter-cultural social and political values, but history shows that this association has been around since the earliest days of coffee-drinking.

And cafés go back pretty far in English history:

Coffeehouse: The first coffeehouse in England was set up in Oxford in 1650 by a Jewish man named Jacob at the Angel in the parish of St Peter in the East in a building now known as “The Grand Cafe”. A plaque on the wall still commemorates this and the cafe is now a trendy cocktail bar. Oxford’s Queen’s Lane Coffee House, established in 1654, is also still in existence today. The first coffeehouse in London was opened in 1652 in St Michael’s Alley, Cornhill. (via Wikipedia.)

For a take on the more recent history of London cafés, check out Classic Cafes | London’s vintage Formica caffs!

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zerode by nick chapman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Oh - and hello to Jason Isaacs.

The 400 Blows

zerode

is an over-caffeinated and under-employed grad school dropout, aspiring leftwing intellectual and cultural studies academic, cinéaste, and former poet. Raised in San Francisco on classic film, radical politics, burritos and soul music, then set loose upon the world. He spends his time in coffee shops with his laptop and headphones, caffeinating and trying to construct a post-whatever life.

 

What's in a name... The handle "zerode" is a contraction of Zéro de Conduite, the title of Jean Vigo's 1933 movie masterpiece about schoolboy rebellion.

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