The café scene grows year on year. Sitting at a table in a quaint café taking in the sights and sounds around you at home or on holiday is a chance to relax and savour a wholesome meal, a delicious cake and a quality coffee. However, there are some cafés that offer something else that may be quite unexpected. Here are some of the world’s most unusual cafés:
Neko no mise: Tokyo, Japan
The Cat Café is full of domesticated cats of all shapes and sizes that have free rein on the premises whilst you drink your coffee. Whilst serving good coffee and food, it is the cats that make this café popular. Tokyo is a crowded city where most apartment buildings have a strict no-pets policy. People come to the café to pet their favourite moggy and whilst the coffee is pricey, time with a feline friend is a great stress reliever. Similarly unusual cafés exist in cities like Paris, Prague and Seoul.
Disaster café: Lloret de Mar, Spain
For adrenaline junkies or the curious, this café does nor look obviously different from the outside, but inside, everything in the underground café is designed to withstand a simulated 7.8 earthquake. The plates and glasses are designed to stay in place and customers and staff are not injured, though food and drinks have been known to spill during the seismic simulation, so dress accordingly.
La Distributrice: Montreal, Canada
The smallest café in North America is along Mont-Royal in Montreal. Tucked below a staircase, you can order your Americano, espresso, latte or a hot chocolate in quirky packaging through an unusual “blink and you might miss it” hole-in-the wall café. Look for the bench and greenery neatly positioned around the tiny space outside or you will walk past it. This will have to be a coffee on the go.
East Beach café: Littlehampton, UK
Eat and drink inside an inspirational work of art at Littlehampton beach. The most unusual of all cafés, opened in 2007, is an impressive piece architectural engineering. The steel panels reflect the beach landscape on which it sits, with steel formed into natural shapes imitating sand dunes and waves. Taking 9 months to assemble by a 2 person crew, the building has won more than twenty awards for design, architecture, steelwork, craftsmanship and engineering.
Corner Perk: Bluffton, South Carolina, USA
This café started a trend that is being repeated in cafés worldwide. This café is unusual as you may get your coffee for free. It all began when an anonymous patron left a hundred dollar bill with the owner to pay for everyone who ordered after her until the money was gone. Her only condition was that all who got a free drink and advised of the ethos to pay it forward. The anonymous patron continues to make the donation every few months. Other patrons are now doing the same.
Mahika Mano: Tokyo, Japan
Possibly the most relaxing café ever, this is a quiet café where you can recline in the hammocks where you can enjoy the in-house roasted coffee or a herbal tea. The food is good too.
The Grounds: Alexandria, Australia
Once a former warehouse and pie factory in the early 1900s, The Grounds is one of the most beautiful and eclectic coffee shops. With a coffee ‘research and testing facility’ alongside the café, beans are sourced from Brazil, Columbia, Ethiopia, India and Uganda. The café terrace opens onto luscious garden of heirloom vegetables and fragrant herbs with a full time horticulturalist growing seasonal produce for the wholesome and rustic menu.
The Vintage Emporium: London, UK
Just off Brick Lane in London, the Vintage Emporium is a quaint Victorian style café that doubles as an antique boutique. A cozy café with nostalgia, this is a place to spend time surrounded by old record players and relics of a bygone era.