Palm Vaults

Pastels, plant pots and the prettiest coffees in Hackney 

Walking down E8's Mare Street you'll be able to spot Palm Vaults almost immediately. The avocado green exterior is distinctly 1970s and is topped with the cafe's name in glittery capital letters. 

Step inside and you're transported away from Hackney and instead to what could be the set for a Wes Anderson film. The interior is different to anything else in London at the moment, with marble table tops, suspended pastel plant pots overhead and everything awash with pastel pink and green down to the napkins and till roll. 

There are lots of vegan and vegetarian options at PV. Try their Palm Vaults classic: smashed avo on sourdough with a dressed salad. You can pick your own toppings with crumbled feta and sundried tomato being the obvious choices for us. Their pastel palette even translates to the coffee: which is prettier than any hot drink you will have seen before. Our favourite was the Matcha Tea Latte which is served a beautifully light shade of green. 

This spot is so pretty you'll find yourself wanting to spend the whole day there. No bookings, this is less than five minutes walk from Hackney Central Overground. 

www.palmvaults.com

411 Mare Street, Hackney, London E8 1HY

 

Euston Tap

Enjoy a big selection of beers in one of London's smallest pubs.

The Euston tap may be small, but their selection of beers is mighty. With two huge fridges either side of the bar and just shy of thirty taps, you're spoilt for choice at this teeny tiny pub.

Originally one of the four pillars supporting the Euston Arch, this Victorian lodge house seems a little out of place on Euston Road, but if your train is running late or you find yourself in the area, it's a great place to enjoy a few beers.

Throughout the summer the modest pub garden is teeming with punters and come winter you'll find them crowded around the horseshoe bar or in the upstairs area.

If you're into your craft beers you can't do much better than the Euston Tap. Their selection and staff make this a popular destination and one we would recommend any day of the week.

www.eustontap.com

190 Euston Road, Kings Cross, London, NW1 2EF

 

Section 8

Melbourne's most quintessential laneway bar.

What was meant to be a temporary container unit bar in an empty car park has stayed put and is possibly the best thing to have ever happened to Melbourne. In the heart of the CBD, on the outskirts of Melbourne's Chinatown, down an alleyway lies Section 8. 

Section 8 is as industrial as it gets. The open-air space is surrounded by a chain link fence and graffiti every which way you look. Inside, there are barrels to perch your beer on, wooden crates to sit on and pallet furniture galore. This place is proof that you don't need to spend a ton of money to create a great bar. DJs are regularly spinning the decks meaning there is basically always a laneway party going on at Section 8.

The drink selection is pretty vast for such a small place. Grab something exotic from their imported beer selection like a Royal Jamaican Ginger Beer - a delightfully refreshing beer with a lingering spicy kick. Sink an Australian classic in the form of Coopers Pale Ale, Melbourne Bitter or good ol' Stone & Wood Pacific Ale. Or check out what beer specials they're stocking for the week. Cocktails are aplenty too - choose from the classics or try a herbaceous Chartreuse Swizzle combining Green Chartreuse, pineapple juice, lime and velvet falernum or a Mediterranean Azedar with gin, fino sherry and elderflower with apple, lemon juice and egg white.

Need food to soak up some of that alcohol? Section 8 also serves a selection of burgers, hot dogs, fries, and melted cheesy open-face sandwich goodness aka zapiekanki (which is basically a polish pizza).

This is a Melbourne beer garden like no other.

www.section8.com.au

27-29 Tattersalls Lane, CBD, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000

Section 8 Melbourne CBD Voyage Collective Billie Norman
 

The Book Club

Food, drink, events and everything in between.

The Book Club is a former Victorian warehouse nestled between galleries and coffee shops on a Shoreditch side street. Ideal for coffee in the day, cocktails in the evening and ping pong at any hour; The Book Club is always busy with creatives, coffee lovers and cool East Londoners.   

TBC have an extensive list of unusual cocktails, including the ‘Beetroot’s Manuva’: a curious mix of tequila, beetroot juice, chilli agave, basil and chilli liqueur which brings a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘health kick’. Try their ‘Gin Genie’ a cucumber-y homage to David Bowie. A cucumber, vinegar and sugar cordial is mixed with Hendricks gin, Lanique’s Rose liqueur and soda. Finished with a thin slice of cucumber and plenty of ice, this is a refreshingly tasty gin drink.

The food menu here is worth checking out too. The nachos come with a heavy recommendation and the weekend brunch menu will have you salivating with potato hash and huevous rancheros top of our list of choices.

More exciting than your typical Shoreditch stop off, The Book Club have mosaics, interesting artwork and wall plants dotted about the venue. A mix of seating on the top floor and a downstairs basement that’s used for speed dating, events, exhibitions and bingo – you’re likely to find whatever you’re looking for here. 

 

www.wearetbc.com

100-106 Leonard Street, London, EC2A 4RH

 

Origin Coffee

Great set up and great coffee at Origin.

‘Blending science and senses’, Origin Coffee are serious and passionate about every stage of the sourcing, roasting and filtering process that gears towards your hot cup of coffee. There’s no disputing that the care and ethical approach adopted by the team at Origin makes their coffee taste that bit better and sets them apart from numerous other UK coffee shops.  

Interestingly, Origin offer both professional and enthusiast coffee courses in their in store training spaces. If you fancy trying your hand at latte art, you can get started in their Shoreditch store for £30. For a cool £600 you can get to the nitty-gritty of quality and flavour in their three day brewing professional course.  

It should come as no surprise that the team at Origin have numerous brewer, barista and coffee awards to their name; and sitting in their shop with a beautifully crafted coffee you can see why Origin are at the top of the coffee game.  

These guys have three shops in the capital, with one in Shoreditch, one in Hammersmith and one in the British Library. Stretching their wings beyond the confines of the M25, Origin also have two coffee shops in the South West of England, with one in Porthleven and one in Helston. If you love your coffee, this place is a must.

www.origincoffee.co.uk

65 Charlotte Road, London EC2A 3PE
 

 

Aperture Coffee Bar

Cosy coffee bar on a bustling West Broadway. 

Nestled on a busy main road in Mount Pleasant, Aperture Coffee Bar manages to slow everything down. Exposed brick walls, higgledy-piggledy furniture and bookshelves more stacked than your local library, Aperture makes you feel right at home without actually being at home. Snuggle up on the sofa with your morning cuppa, get some work done at a high top or catch up with some friends on the big wooden tables.

Despite the plethora of roasters in the city, the guys at Aperture use Intelligentsia beans from Chicago and make a damn good cappuccino. After 4pm, it's Aperture Dessert Bar time which means you can eat all of the affogatos you want, in any flavour you want. With seven to choose from, including London fog, lemon, ginger, chai, mocha, matcha or classic espresso, you'll be coming back to try them all.

There is also a selection of breakfast and lunchtime sandwiches as well as sweet treats made by Olivia Wu (founder of Cannele & Honeybun Bakery). Make sure you try one of the cookies - these things melt in your mouth.

Aperture has one of the best loyalty schemes we've ever heard of. At the back of the café, there is a dartboard. Once you've filled up your coffee stamp card (ten coffees), you get three shots to win a prize. A polaroid of you is then added to the 'Winner's Wall' and you are entered into a championship match.

Get cosy at Aperture Coffee Bar and you'll never want to leave. 

www.aperturecoffeebar.com

243 West Broadway, Vancouver, British Columbia, V5Y 3L1

 

Banff Ave Brewing Co

Brewing beer in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.

Tucked away on the second floor of a very Swiss looking building along Banff Ave stands a brewery churning out the best beer in town. Banff Ave. Brewing Co have been getting people merry since 2010. The three co-founders started their first brewery venture in 2005 in Jasper, when one of the guys got lucky and won the lottery. Suddenly, there were few limitations on making their brewery dream come true.

Head Brewer, Kent Boomer, was on hand to give us a tour of the place and teach us a thing or two about the brewing process. It all begins with barley, imported from Europe, which is roasted to turn it into malt. This malt is poured into the mill which feeds into the mashtun (a specialized brewing container). In the mashtun, malt is stirred into hot water with nothing other than a canoe paddle. Banff life. During the mashing process, enzymes in the malt converts starches into sugars creating wort. This wort is put into the boiling kettle and hops are added as need be. Next is the fermentation process where yeast is added to the wort and left for various days depending on what is being brewed. After this is complete, the yeast is extracted for future use. The yeast at the brewery leads a very Banff lifestyle... It parties like crazy for a week, sleeps for two days and then does it all over again. Sound familiar?! The beer is then put into a conditioning tank where it matures. From here, the beer is carbonated and ready to be served straight to the in-house taps, just 65 feet away. Now that’s fresh.

Enjoy a fruity Pond Hockey Pale Ale, hoppy Head Smashed IPA or, the local's favourite, Black Pilsner. Check out the community taps for some interesting collaborations and feel good knowing that $1 is donated to specific causes in the Bow Valley. You can even take some home with you in a growler or a pre-packaged bottle.

Oh and we should probably let you know... $4 pints on Mondays and $8 steins on Thursdays.

www.banffavebrewingco.ca

110 Banff Ave, Level 2, Banff, Alberta T1L 1A9

 

Grow

The perfect place for waterside beers.

There's no shortage of places to eat and drink near the water in Hackney Wick and Grow is no exception. If you're looking to admire the narrowboats, street art and various birds that meander down the Lea Navigation, this is the perfect place to do so. 

With a small selection of beers and homemade cakes, there's something charming and almost quaint about Grow. There are some seats inside, which is decorated in an eclectic manner, with bunting, plants, hanging plastic spheres and a large yellow hand.  

Grow have their own small street food van which cooks up the usual nibbles. Salads, wings, burgers and pulled pork plus some tasty chilli con carne nachos. Dotted around the outside area are plant pots with homegrown herbs and chilli plants, which are used in Grow's food and drinks. We enjoyed a few beers and some chilli nachos, which came with jalapeños and stringy cheese.

This place might sound like every other East London bar, but it has an organic and authentic feel that can't be faked. As with all waterside bars, this place gets busy as soon as the sun comes out - head down early to grab a seat and watch the narrow boats go by. 


www.growhackney.tumblr.com

Grow, Hackney, 98C Main Yard, Wallis Road, Hackney Wick E9 5LN

 

Goldilocks

Have a rooftop bar to yourself, go to Goldilocks.

Hidden above a bustling Chinese restaurant (Noodle Kingdom) lies a rooftop bar that apparently nobody has heard of. Jump in the elevator, head up to the fourth floor, walk through the exquisitely decorated yet outdated interior bar, climb up the stairs on the left and you'll find yourself with your own private rooftop bar. Well, we did.

With wine, cocktails and craft beer aplenty, you can while away a fair few hours at Goldilocks. Grab a seat around one of the barrel tables or sit on the edge (quite literally) to take it all in. Try the Lebowski and sip on a delicious blend of butter vodka, kahlua, black walnut bitters and almond milk. Get some Dutch Courage in you with a gin, lemon, lavender, and white cacao number. Or indulge in a classic Espresso Martini. Feral, Murray's and Mornington are the main craft beers on offer. And as those those cold winter months start to set in, so too does Goldilocks hot mulled cider (in collaboration with Custard & Co.). For extra warmth, add spiced rum or red wine to this beautiful concoction.

Among sleek skyscrapers and funky architecture, this is a great little rooftop spot to take in the bustling city of Melbourne while feeling like a million miles away from it all. At sunset is the best time to go. As the sun lowers, it’s last few rays flicker in and out of view as they weave their way around dark office buildings. And as day turns into night, see the city become even more alive.

Watch Melbourne life go by from up high at Goldilocks rooftop bar.

www.goldilocksbar.com.au

Level 4, 264 Swanston St, Melbourne, 3000

 

Little Wild

Grab your coffee and go (adventure more), thanks to Little Wild.

Whether you want some caffeine to get your day going, a break from all of the shopping or you can never get enough of the good stuff - Little Wild is here. Nestled along Banff Ave and open 6:30am - 6:30pm everyday, Little Wild is the number one stop for your grab-and-go coffee.

If the chalkboard sign with a million different ways to say coffee doesn't intrigue you inside then the minimalist design of the venue will. The interior boasts white walls, an array of green plants and splashes of copper in the form of a clock, baskets and hanging light fixtures. Little Wild is serious when it says 'grab-and-go' as there is no seating in the space except for a bench to perch on while you wait. While you wait, have a flick through the Canadian Rockies Annual for some mountain culture content packed with beautiful visuals, unique stories and a clean design. And if you really need to sit down, there are five wooden stools out the front - prime position to soak up some of that summer sun.

Coffee is made using Calgary-based Fratello beans which give your flat white, cappuccino or iced latte a balanced body full of chocolate and caramel flavours. A tasty cuppa tea is brewed using Little Wild's own fruity blend (in collaboration with the Banff Tea Company). And despite the to-go nature of Little Wild looking after the environment is still very important to these guys, which is why all cups and bags are fully compostable.

If you didn't know already - Little Wild is sister to the well-known and well-loved Wildflour Bakery. Head over to the bakery for fresh mountain bread, delicious pastries and gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. See the colourful illustrated map on the back wall of Little Wild for directions on how to get there.

Grab your coffee and go (adventure more), thanks to Little Wild.

www.littlewildcoffee.ca

119 Banff Avenue, Banff, Alberta, Canada