> Tramping the area north of Oxford Street* with my camera the other day, it suddenly dawned on me why I hadn’t felt right since I’d got out of bed. For the first time in about four years, I’d left the house without a coffee. I headed south with the urgency of a junkie looking for a dealer. If all you want is a pure hit of caffeine, all you need is the Algerian Coffee Stores. This Soho stalwart has been in business since 1887, and opening in an area later to become famous for coffee shops and a night-time economy turned out to be a shrewd business move. The shop is beautiful – at first glance it looks like an Edwardian toyshop. Inside there are the original wooden shelves and counter, with smiley blokes in aprons eager to help. It’s mainly a retailer, but they’ll do you a cappuccino for 95p, or a double espresso for 70p. There’s nowhere to sit, but they don’t mind if you stand and glug it down – which is exactly what I did before heading back out into the chilly streets. Death to Starbucks.
* The Man wants us all to call it ‘NoHo’. Please don’t.