South of Kings Cross is for independent Coffee!

A boulevard of coffee shops, independent shops and some restaurants, along Kings Cross Road was a long term vision some locals in the South of Kings Cross always had, and it seems that this vision has taken on shape now that the North his a glamour shop.  Still the South remains the somewhat weaker side of Kings Cross, but recently a  much in demand tattoo artist, and an up market independent  hair-styler have given it some much needed trend kick.

In the last three months we saw also an addition on the coffee side of things with a high quality independent coffee shop called  Frequency on 121 Kings Cross Road, which brought modern high class independent coffee house style into this part of Southern Kings Cross (we had one before, when Constam tried their luck here, perhaps too early).

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Frequency. The New art coffee shop on Kings Cross Road

The new addition is not exactly the cheapest option though.  There was and is always also the Portuguese Costa’s  Cafe , where the friendly staff serve coffee, breakfast and Portuguese home cooked meals for over 20 years, and still is serving cappuccino for way under two Pounds.

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Don’t mix the two. This is the original Costa’s, in the South of Kings Cross through good and bad years!

Bisou Cafe,  opposite on the Camden side of the road also offers coffee along with a variety of lunch servings, and a few doors further, Niven’s offers delicatessen with a touch of class since about ten years. Closer to Pentonville Road, the “Coffee Uni-N” Coffee Uni-N specialises for a long time on sandwiches and coffee.

The message that this street means business seems now to have sieved through also to the big players on the British market. So it is not surprising perhaps that we saw the opening of a branch of the Costa chain in Kings Cross Road, much to the displeasure of many of the independents here, and most of all of course to the bewilderment of Costa’s the independent long running Portuguese, running under almost the identical name. What’s more, this is the third Costa branch in half a square mile.Being a chain, they are able to beat the smaller shops on day to day standing power, being open from 6.30 am until 21.00 each day except Sunday where they open at 7:00. None of the the smaller independents can beat that staying power without it becoming inhuman for them.

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Costa wants to cash in on the success of independents, but its staying power in terms of opening hours could destroy businesses that build up over many years and gained local trust.

Where people are going to stop for a coffee and a snack is going to be more than a casual choice now.  The tradition in our area is certainly on the independent side. One would hope this remains to be the case.

About Daniel Zylbersztajn

Daniel Zylbersztajn, is since 2012 correspondent to the German independent left of centre daily newspaper taz, die Tageszeitung and Jüdische Allgemeine, and a Pilates Teacher. Born in Germany but also raised in Holland and Israel, he is a long term resident of London Kings Cross (first in 1991), involved parent, local and social activist, and positive lifestyle advocate. He also held posts in research, and conflict work, a.o. for the Palestinian - Israeli peace village Wahat al Salam ~ Neve Shalom. He holds a BA in history and politics from SOAS and two Master degrees, in Urban Sociology (Goldsmiths) and Sports Coaching (Brunel). He is founding and committee member of Coram's Fields User Group, the parent and community voice of Central London's biggest and oldest children playground and was its first spokesperson and chair. Daniel tweets under @zylbersztajn
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One Response to South of Kings Cross is for independent Coffee!

  1. I am a resident of Kings Cross Road, the last thing we need is more coffee shops, next door to Coffee Uni-n is yet another coffee shop, Deli-licious, which is not delicious and was once a really nice paper shop and sweet shop, where I used to buy Private Eye. We need a small convenience store on my side of the Kings Cross Road, not all of them down the bottom.

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