Friday, 15 November 2013

Antenna - Café Thing

I learnt some Icelandic last week, well, just the one word, 'thing' which apparently means assembly. The quirkily named cafe tucked away at the bottom of Haynes Lane, has a half Icelandic owner, Jakob Kaye. He, and business partner, Darren Doherty own Antenna Studios above the cafe, and decided to turn the space downstairs into a cafe, after its previous incarnations as a guitar shop followed by a skateboard shop, hence the distinctive door handle.

Inside, I am greeted by Georgie Cook, who runs the cafe while Jakob and Darren look after their other projects. It's a bright simple space with a rustic timber counter, red banquette in the window, and red and white tables and chairs. Before the cafe opened in the summer of 2012, Georgie had been living in Paris and working as a Photographer, but had long had connections to SE19, having grown up in the area. When the cafe was first mooted, she had been full of suggestions for her friends at Antenna, so much so that they suggested she come and run the place!

You might be forgiven for not knowing of the cafe's existence. As I mentioned, it is somewhat off the beaten track, and it was only with the advent of the weekly saturday food market right outside its doors, that its profile was raised. As Georgie says, on saturdays it's heaving and effectively becomes the unofficial HQ of Crystal Palace Transition Town, the local group that set up the market. As well as excellent coffee, the cafe also serves excellent cakes made by local bakers, Brett & Bailey, who have a regular stall at the market. I can vouch for the cake, once photographed, it had to be eaten. And this small space is much more than just a cafe, it's also a venue for all sorts of happenings, including the RPM club, a monthly open decks vinyl night, Bonne Heure, an experimental music night with local group The Fireflies, and their guests.  Additionally, Almost Naked, is an acoustic folk night, and there are occasional poetry recitals.

Georgie Cook

Café Thing can also be hired for private events.

Café Thing
Bowyers Yard
Haynes Lane

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