Shoreditch Grind, Shoreditch
There’s something calming about people watching while waiting for your date to arrive. It offers a rare few minutes of trivial judgement of strangers, before you have to focus on making vital assessments about your potential paramour. The junction at Old Street station isn’t exactly picturesque but it yields strange folk a plenty to ogle – hipsters, cityboys, young, old, and drunk. Shoreditch Grind, a coffee shop right on the roundabout, is a good looking, small, wine-serving coffee house, complete with road-side courtyard for the summer months. Their ‘concept’ is to bring good music and coffee together, so tunes fill the room and there’s a recording studio upstairs for the budding talent in East London. It looks like it should be in an indie flick about record shop employees getting it on after hours (Empire Records 2?), with the concrete roundabout as metaphor for something terribly deep. But in real life, it’s just a decent low key date.
Flat whites, great reds, a croissant, posh sandwiches (parma ham, fig, goats cheese), some cake.
This is a date of convenience for Old Street workers and Shoreditch inhabitants. I wouldn’t go out of my way but it’s a vibin’ place to suggest a casual evening meet. For those of you working your way through the client list of Tinder and Grindr, this is perfect for what I call the scan-date, a sort of pre-first date for app aficionados (and perverts). Picture the scene. You’re having a dull day at work, killing time for the last 30 minutes on your dating app. You find a match and start chatting. They suggest a post work drink, you acquiesce. Since they’re an absolute stranger, you have no qualms about making this as convenient as possible. You suggest SG and meet on the benches outside. You spot them and it goes one of two ways. Option A, you instantly regret it and so push for the coffee and cake option. You sit in the courtyard, keep it formal and wind it up in under 20 minutes. Option B, they are a knockout. You order wine and cake, you sit inside where the music is loud and they have to lean in, you flirt your ass off and then suggest some real food around the corner at Mexican joint Casa Negra. Now we’re talking.
Old Street roundabout can look real grim on a rainy day.
1. As I said, it’s a scan-date.