The Pumphouse Cafe – Regent’s Canal N1

I guess I should be grateful that only a handful of people (astute and uber-cool people, obv) actually read my blog, so that what I’m about to disclose doesn’t get spread amongst too many unworthy coffeehouse sluts and shit-heels.

I have recently discovered the eastern arm of the Regent’s canal, mostly as a route for long, Sunday morning runs, but as it turns out, as an awesome place to stop for a cup of Joe an a bite to eat. I’m no stranger to the canal as it wends it’s way out from King’s Cross, through Camden, Little Venice, the boneyards of Harrow and Ealing and on to the grimy reaches of the North Circular, and a fine run those miles make. But it wasn’t till this summer that I took the road less travelled and headed the other way from Angel and down to the Thames. Finding the fucker again once it goes underground on the Cally Road is the first hurdle, but it surfaces around the southern end of Upper Street amongst some very chichi residential streets… and then you’re away,

The first five minutes (I’m going to give this at running pace as that’s how I’m usually hitting this trail) runs alongside the beautiful back gardens and upscale waterside flats of Islington. I lived around here in the mid-nineties when I guess you might still have called it ‘up and coming’. I mean don’t get me wrong, it was still fairly swanky then, but I did once get mugged round the back of the Sadler’s Wells Theatre, so, you know. Anyhow, now it’s all glass ziggurats and roof gardens. And it was here, at the City Road basin, that I found the first of the most stunning places to stop for coffee. And this one isn’t even the really good one.

The Pumphouse Café sits gazing out across one of London’s finest views, and I live at the foot of Ally Pally so I know my views, yo!


Not only do you get to sit by the stunning City Basin lock, with the view stretching down to the Shard in the distance, but you get to watch genuine narrow boats coming in and out of the lock and best of all, the glass and steel block of flats you can see in the picture gives you the finest Rear Window style viewpoint on a dozen or so little vignettes of city life. Yes, you can see right into everyone’s living rooms and kitchens. Last time I was there I watched a woman do the hoovering in her pyjamas (much more comical and engaging than you might imagine) and right next door what I’m guessing was someone making breakfast for their brand new friend after a first night together – the whole thing looked a little awkward.

The day I went to The Pumphouse they didn’t seem to have much of a clue what they were doing when it came to serving food and drinks (surely 101 for a café!) seeing as one girl was on her first day there, and the guy only spoke Spanish.  Still, we muddled through and I ended up with a good cup of coffee and fat, cheese and spinach filled croissant.


But it’s really all about the views!

No website, but some people use this Facebook thing

And in the next post I’ll let you in on the real secret find along the canal. Just keep it to yourself.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s