Recently I have been trying to get out of my comfort zone and discover London, not just geographically, but by going to places that are unfamiliar to me. Places which are not the usual Starbucks, Pret, or Costa. Instead, where I can, I am choosing to go to independent businesses for my usual cup of hot chocolate.
Was that an audible gasp I heard? Probably. I mean what university student functions without coffee – or tea for that matter? Well…me. I am the exception. But we will push that aside for a minute, as I can already feel your disappointment burning through my computer screen as I write.
I like the atmosphere of coffee shops and cafés, as they make me feel social without having to talk to anyone, and the buzz around me appeals to my slightly extroverted self. I have recently learnt that locking myself in a room to write essays, or working in absolute silence is not really my thing. Therefore, the background noise that permeates public places such as coffee shops, stops me from getting too distracted (I cannot start dancing to the Kinky Boots soundtrack, for instance). And of course, working in such an environment also helps me to maintain the stereotype of the cool, intellectual university student, wearing a turtleneck and glasses, sipping moodily on her cappuccino. (Except it is a hot chocolate in my case).
Thanks to me being an avid watcher of Lucy Moon’s YouTube channel, I stumbled upon a video, in which she recommended some of her favourite places in London. Upon perusing this list, a little café in St Pancras named Continental Stores caught my attention. With it being a short walk from Senate House Library, I took out some books, and made my way over to it for a Sunday afternoon of productivity.
Undeniably, it is a small venue, so it can very easily become crowded, but the seating is varied– ranging from the large breakfast bar in the main area of the café, to some more relaxed seating at the back, as well as wooden benches outside. The overall atmosphere is relaxed and intimate, with large windows bringing in lots of natural lighting. The walls are adorned with abstract paintings, with a mismatched and homemade vibe, but overall it is aesthetically pleasing. And of course, the background music adds that little something extra– making you feel part of the community as soon as you walk through the door.
There is a range of things to order at Continental Stores, from the usual hot drinks, to pastries and last but not least: brunch. The service I had was great – the staff were friendly and chatty and delivered everything to my table. This was a sweet and personal touch as opposed to being served over a counter, like in Starbucks for example. It comes as no surprise then that the hot chocolate and brownie I ordered, were utterly delicious.
I will definitely come back when I am passing en route to Senate House, and maybe even order some brunch next time.
Oh, and how could I forget to mention that they had wifi too…