Dim Sum Oriental, 263 North Street, Bristol BS3, 2016 • Vintage vinyl signage meets mid-century mosaic in a colourful parade. Note lucky cat in upstairs window.
Mr. Li’s, 45-47 Springfield Road, Horsham, Surrey, 2003 • Intriguing hoarded and boarded upper windows (you can see a person’s arm through the open one). Still there, same curly-lettered sign, […]
Mr Wu, 28 Wardour Street, City of Westminster, London W1, 2002, 2015, 2016 (top to bottom) • Ever-present fixture in Soho’s Chinatown – even the writing on their window been […]
Mr Chippy Restaurant Griddle Bar, Falmouth or Truro, Cornwall, circa 1981 • Beautiful Vitrolite frontage photographed on long-ago family holiday. It was probably either in Truro or Falmouth, but no […]
Birchington Ice Cream Parlour & Patisserie, 11-13 Minnis Road, Birchington-on-Sea, […]
Victoria’s Tea Rooms & Restaurant, 11-13 Minnis Road, Birchington-on-Sea, Kent, 2006 • Lovely deco fan light doors and net curtain combo. This adjoined an equally retro ice cream parlour – I […]
Victoria Tandoori, 318 Vauxhall Bridge Road, City of Westminster, London SW1, 2004 • Grand yet gritty eaterie offering great signwriting and the “best curry in town”. By 2017 it was […]
Victorian Restaurant, 16a Great Western Arcade, Colmore Row, Birmingham B2, 2016 • Charming beaux arts frontage in one of Birmingham’s grand arcades.
Bob Carver’s, Corporation Chambers, 9 Trinity House Lane, Hull HU1, 2017 • Famed Hull fish and chip emporium set in grand surroundings. The building is proudly titled Corporation Chambers – […]
Mick Darnalds, Vauxhall Walk, Borough of Lambeth, London SW11, 2011 • Guess McDonald’s trademark enforcers never got this far.
Lucky Fish Bar, 338 Kennington Lane, Borough of Lambeth, London SE11, 2015 • Superb old school frontage and name. In 2017 it was updated, but is still very traditional looking […]
Top Quality Fish & Hamburger Bar, c.1 Decima Street, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2002 • Upper crust bubbling fish logo and multi-arrowed wall sign, now totally gone. By 2012 […]
Top Nosh, Scuola Guida Italiana, 176, 178 Clerkenwell Road, Borough of Camcen, London EC1, 2004 • Ornate international mash-up in the Italian enclave of Clerkenwell. By 2015 Top Nosh had […]
Hot Munchies, 30 Southwark Street, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2004, 2011, 2016 • Cheekily named arch cafe amidst sea of dirty viaduct tiles. Still there in 2018, as all […]
Wright’s Bar, 5 Houghton Street, City of Westminster, London WC2, 2005 & 2015 • Classic 1960s-looking logo and finger sign, next to the London School of Economics. It’s shown below […]
H’s Cafe, 82 Neptune Street, Borough of Southwark, London SE16, 2010 • Well-regarded backstreet greasy spoon with wonky hand made sign. Run by a bloke called H and his two […]
Dino’s Ristorante, 117 Gloucester Road, Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London SW7, 2005 • Apparently the novelist Iris Murdoch used to dine here (Iris Murdoch as I Knew Her, A.N. […]
Dino’s Restaurant, 1-3 Pelham Street, Borough od Kensington and Chelsea, London SW7, 2005 • Huge Italian caff that featured in the movie Repulsion. It used to dominate South Kensington, and […]
Coronation Cafe, 190 Coronation Road, Bristol BS3, 2011 & 2017 • Traditional caff that reinvented itself as a curry house – you can see it announcing the transformation in 2012 […]
Tanyas, Fish Bar, 39b Barnes High Street, Borough of Richmond upon Thames, London SW13, 2006 • Rogue comma alert (and the letter spacing is pretty wonky too). By 2012 they […]
Belly Busters, Lord Byron, 20-22 Bridge Street East, Middlesbrough TS2, 2012 • Not two names you’d normally associate together, it is in fact Belly Busters cafe at the Lord Byron […]
Belly Busters Eating House, 5 Central Avenue, West Molesey, Surrey, 2002 • Full-bodied name in full-bodied 1970s font. Still appeared to be there, and looking the same, in 2017. It gets […]
The Proud Potato, 182 Middlewood Road, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, 2010 • 1970s-looking happy tattie, though it’s probably much more recent. Google shows it still there in 2016, the most recent […]
Cafe, The Albatross Club, c.15 Marina Arcade, Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, 2009 • Part of a superb Chinese gothic seaside complex. The cafe has since gone, The Albatross Club remains.
Silver Sea House, 62 Exeter Road, Exmouth, Devon, 2009 • Lovely name and sign on frontage obscured by red van (possibly owned by bloke waiting inside). It was unchanged by […]
Popular Cafe, 85 Lever Street, Borough of Islington, London EC1, 2013 • Once popular, here closed down and up for sale. It was soon back in business as before (repainted, […]
Matteo’s Sandwich Bar, 32 Tottenham Street, Borough of Camden, London W1, 2005 • Urban legend had it that someone once found a sliced-off-fingertip in the coleslaw here. Part of the […]
Cafe Restaurant, 25 St Cross Street, Borough of Camden, London EC1, 2001 • Wonderful old Italian caff shot with dreadful old digital camera – both long gone. According to a […]
The Brothers Fish Bar, 4 Tramway Avenue, Stratford, Borough of Newham, London E15, 2006 • Fence above, rug in front, and helpful sign round corner. By 2017 it was called […]
Sandwiches Again, 230 Battersea Park Road, Borough of Wandsworth, London SW11, 2002 • Colourful cafe with ornate tiled pilasters. By 2017 it was Caffetino cafe.
Khyber Pass, 54 Terrace Road, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, 2002 • Established 1983 and still around. By 2017 it had lost its green tent and 3D logo, but gained five stars on Tripadvisor.
Khyber Pass, 304 High Street, Dorking, Surrey, 2002 • Old school name, represented in plastic. By 2017 it was still mountainous as Sunshine Peak Caribbean Restaurant.
Noodle King, 36 Deptford Broadway, Borough of Greenwich, London SE8, 2002 • Noodling along with nice sign writing. No longer there.
The China Chef, 108 London Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex, 2004 • Nice mix of vernaculars. By 2017 it was still a Chinese, called Tim Ley.
Tung Hing, 16 Tontine Street, Folkestone, Kent, 2017 • Melancholy old-school Chinese.
Sidolis Buttery, 21 Store Street, City of Westminster, London WC1, 2002 • ‘Buttery’, that’s a cafe synonym you don’t often see. Classic Cafes says it was later renamed Lino’s, which […]
Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Osnabruck Square, Albert Rd, Derby, Derbyshire, 2010 • Coffee kiosk established in 1960 and named, bizarrely, after an 19th Century anti-slavery novel. Still there, despite rumours in […]
Medcalf, 40 Exmouth Market, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2003 • Traditional butcher in the process of being turned into a trendy eaterie, which kept the name and signage. That […]
GMT Cafe, 38 Woolwich Road, Borough of Greenwich, London SE10, 2002 • Classic greasy spoon named after Greenwich Mean Time, which originates nearby. (Note also the naive cheery chef signboard, […]
Millennium Pizza, 119 Woolwich Road, Borough of Greenwich, London SE10, 2002 • That jellyfish in its 2000 logo is in fact the nearby Millennium Dome (as the O2 was once […]
The Greenwich Millennium, 44 Woolwich Road, Borough of Greenwich, London SE10, 2002 • A short-lived (and grubby) celebration of 2000, near Millennium Grill. The premises went on to have a […]
Millennium Charcoal Grill Kebabs, 30 Woolwich Road, Borough of Greenwich, London SE10, 2002 • Part of an entire row of Greenwich shops that named themselves after the 2000 millennium. Unusually, […]
J.C. Smith, 63 Deptford High Street, Borough of Lewisham, London SE8, 2003 • Beautiful hand lettered sign matched by calligraphic graffiti tag. The sign was still there in 2017, but […]
Ice Cream Kiosk, Promenade, Bognor Regis, West Sussex, 2003 • Ah, the sunny south coast seaside (not).
Happy Swan, 39 Chipstead Valley Road, Coulsdon, Borough of Croydon, London, 2001 • Classic plastic sign and festive plant hierarchy in window. Still exactly the same in 2017 (minus Christmas […]
Cyclone, 6-8 Whitchurch Lane, Edgware, Borough of Barnet, London HA8, 2004 • Not entirely convincing attempt at replicating a Greek temple. Later became a sports bar called Trilogy.
Dallas, 52 Battersea Park Road, Battersea, Borough of Wandsworth, LondonSW11, 2002 • Blue walker.
Lahoree House, Victoria House, 7 Wilton Road, Victoria, City of Westminster, London SW1, 2004 • Slice of grungy old London in a historic head-lined building outside Victoria Station, now undergoing […]
Flakes Catering, 46 Tower Bridge Road, Bermondsey, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2002 • Old geezer meets trad signwriting. Later became a Labour party office.
Balti Raj, 142 Balls Pond Road, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2002 • Ah, the colourful confusion of London. By 2016 was the trendier-sounding Rusty Bike Kitchen.
Fidan Kebab, St George’s Circus, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2002 • That’s some fat kebab.
Concourse Burger Bar, Concourse House, Lime Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • Hand-drawn mixed messages on Scouse burger bar. The entire building was demolished to build new offices some time after […]
Sea Spray, 18 High Street, St Margarets Buildings, Rottingdean, East Sussex, 2004 • Classic seaside caff facade with deck chair fabric awnings and lone Scottie dog tile. In business for 67 years […]
Neal’s Corner Sandwich Shop, 1 Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, Borough of Camden, London WC2, 2003 • Named after Neal Street, not a bloke called Neal. In fact, this entire corner […]
Poseidon, 102 High Road, Finchley, Borough of Barnet, London N2 • I always like it when ancient gods are namechecked. By 2008 this had expanded into the next shop and […]
Caf´e Paradise, 116 Chingford Mount Road, Borough of Waltham Forest, London E4, 2016 • Divine accent intervention.
Yank Pizza, 28 Neasden Lane, Neasden, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2016 • Unfortunate name.
Woks Wong, The Mikado Buildings, 79 Elm Grove, Southsea, City of Portsmouth, 2016 • Punning Chinese takeaway in the aptly oriental Mikado Buildings, named after the Gilbert & Sullivan opera. The […]
The French, 190 Albert Road, Southsea, City ofPortsmouth, 2016 • Brightly shuttered ex-bakery with what looks like an original 1930s sign, possibly dating from the legend that reads: “Prop R.S. […]
Pompey on a Roll, 210 Albert Road, Southsea, City of Portsmouth, 2016 • Punning eaterie with optimistic Portsmouth FC-themed name. No one seems to know why Portsmouth is called Pompey, […]
Zoe’s Gobble & Go, Westgate Terrace, Folkestone, Kent, 2002 • Immobilised mobile snack bar with less-than-enticing name. I found it somewhere round here.
New Star, 8a Holmesdale Road, Reigate, Surrey, 2002 • Unusual ‘evening lunch’ offer meets impressive 1960s door handle at a matching angle. New Star’s DIY branding remained completely unchanged until 2014, and though the […]
Wok Inn, 88 High Street, Reigate, Surrey, 2002 • Always nice to see a pun on Wok. Later became Mexicode Fresh Mexican Kitchen, leaving the nearest wok outlet as Gourmet Wok, […]
The Forum, 8-9 Market Place, Hexham, Northumberland, 2016 • Art deco cinema still in operation, complete with with cafe and built-in J.D. Wetherspoons. It’s Northumberland’s only full-time cinema, and has […]
The Hexham Tans Vegetarian Restaurant, 11 St Mary’s Chare, Hexham, Northumberland, 2016 • Palimpsest on oddly-named charity veggie caff, closed after 20 years. It soon reopened as Hextol Tans, offering “vegan-friendly, lacto” […]
Arthur Toms, 84 Chatsworth Road, Clapton, Borough of Hackney, London E5, 2011 • Until 2010 this was a Chinese takeaway called Friends, though clearly it had previously been an eel and […]
Jim’s Cafe, 59 Chatsworth Road, Clapton, Borough of Hackney, London E5, 2011 • Italian cafe from the 1960s that once housed an ice cream factory, and closed circa 2008 when the […]
Ellis’s Tearoom, Rothley Station, Great Central Railway, Rothley, Leicestershire, 2016 • Restored ghostsign for a Coke, Corn and Cake Merchants, now just selling cake on this heritage steam railway.
Griddle, Loughborough Central Station, Great Central Road, Loughborough, Leicestershire, 2016 • One-time restaurant carriage with a wonderful name. There’s already a Griddle car operating on the Great Central heritage steam line, so this is […]
Platform Cafe, Leicester North Station, The Sidings, Leicester LE4, 2016 • Cute cafe signs in heritage station that sends steam engines along the main line to Loughborough’s defunct Central Station. […]
The Turkey Cafe, 24 Granby Street, Leicester LE1, 2016 • Tiled turkey on 1901 art nouveau fantasia by important Leicester architect Arthur Wakerley (who, as we shall see, was a man of […]
Golden Horse, Weekes, 178 Fawcett Road, Southsea, City of Portsmouth, 2016 • Fantastical handcrafted takeaway next to unit with 1950s-looking ghost sign. There was a garage elsewhere in Southsea called Weekes […]
Holy, 540 Holloway Road, Borough of Islington, London N7, 2016 • Unusual name for a Chinese takeaway – perhaps they meant divine. But it seemed a good option for Christmas day…
New Peking Inn (Playpaint), Milroy Walk, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2011 (top) and 2001 (bottom two) • From Chinese food to fine art in grim 1970s precinct that’s now […]
Woolworths, Pizza Hut (Glasgow), 199-201 Argyle Street, Glasgow, Scotland, 2008 • Jaunty red modernist corner abutting one of the last 200 Woolworths stores to close down. The fatal day was 6 Jan 2009; […]
Pitchers (Caffe Nero), 91 High Street, Godalming, Surrey, 2016 • Attractive ghost-step for a knitwear emporium, now leading to a Caffe Nero. Pitchers was a sports sweater manufacturer founded in the 1880s […]
Chung’s, 1012 Govan Road, Govan, Glasgow G51, Scotland, 2010 • Special dishes in long trays – what more could you want? Still there in 2015.
Servewell Cafe, West Lane, Southwark, London SE16, 2001 • Nice name – though you wouldn’t call it Servebadly Cafe, would you. It’s now got a double frontage and a new […]
Causette, circa Arwenack Street, Falmouth, Cornwall, 1981 • Faded 1960s-style cafe facade rocking Profil font, and doubtless offering unappetising old-school espresso. I don’t know what’s there now, but it was […]
Cyber Café, Unit 1, New Broadway, Tarring Road, Worthing, West Sussex, 1999 • Hand-painted digital type meets 1960s mosaic on this sad closed down internet cafe. By 2015 the unit housed Attic Solutions, […]
Empire Milk Bar, Picadilly Circus Tube Station, City of Westminster, London W1, 1988 • True fact – there was a 1930s-style milk bar operational in the orange-columned depths of Piccadilly Circus tube […]
Olympia Dining Rooms, 5-6 Wincott Parade, Kennington Road, Kennington, Borough of Lambeth, London SE11, 1988 • An original ‘Dining Rooms’ photographed just as it was closing down. Who knew that […]
Ying Ho, London Shoe Rebuilder J. Poole, 232 Upper Richmond Road, Putney, Borough of Wandsworth, London SW15, 1981 • Now for a few really ancient shots I took from a bus […]
Woo Lot, 592 Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, Borough of WalthamForest, London E10, 2016 • Great name, great (literally) sign.
Famished Cafe, 2 Kilburn Bridge, Kilburn, Borough of Brent, London NW6, 2012 • Nice name on a colourful frontage, now replaced by Roosters Piri Piri.
Tonys Hemp Corner, 10 Caledonian Road, Kings Cross, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2010 • Creepy flower-child fascia for controversial cannabis cafe whose proprietor Tony Taylor supplied ‘medicinal’ marijuana to nearly 300 […]
Tan’s Cafe, 3 Amersham Vale, New Cross, Borough of Lewisham, London SE14, 2010 • Gaudy mini-kingdom of breakfast opposite New Cross Station. Possibly the only greasy spoon with a loyalty […]
Kam Garden, 14 Bouverie Road West, Folkestone, Kent, 2008 • Sweet green Chinese-style rooflet which stayed even after it went Indian as Copper and Spices.
Pizza King, 115 Sandgate Road, Folkestone, Kent, 2008 • Incongruous in its grand portal despite the regal name. Now called Master Kebab.
Subway, 69 Chapel Market, Islington, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2016 • Boring fast food chain, lovely old door window. Actually I like the Subway logo, it’s an exuberant piece […]
New Happy Swan, 120 Fortis Green Road, Muswell Hill, Borough of Haringey, London N10, 2016 • Old happy paint job in Muswell Hill’s distinctive St James’s Parade, by Edwardian developer James […]
Cat & Cucumber Café, 182 Tower Bridge Road, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2003 • Nice name, wayward accent, grim rear aspect. Popular and still-extant greasy spoon once immortalised in […]
Vivian Patisserie, 62 Goldhawk Road, Shepherd’s Bush, Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London W12, 2016 • Its patisserie identity seems to predate the Chinese cafe within. Back in 2008 it was […]
A. Cooke’s, Joe Coral (Fabric House Ltd), 48, 46 Goldhawk Road, Shepherd’s Bush, Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London W12, 2016 • Founded 1899, and located at this address since 1934, […]
Grant’s Fish Bar, 14 Upper High Street, Epsom, Surrey, 2002 • Notable for its mutant fish illustration. By 2015 it was chicken joint Maxy Express.
Nanny Janet’s, 22 Milton Road, Gravesend, Kent, 2015 • Unusual family-based name for a burger bar.
Granny’s Kitchen, 38 Westoe Road, South Shields, 2013 • Shiny black plastic for Granny. What a pity the shutters were down on the day I passed by, it’s all curtained […]
Gio’s Kitchen, 79 Lower Marsh, Borough of Lambeth, London SE1, 2004 • The windows look like a Sarah Lucas artwork and the flag couldn’t save it. One of many short-lived cafes on this […]
Giovanni’s Room Wine Bar, 42 Theobalds Road, Borough of Camden, London WC1, 2003 • Faded 1970s chalet chic with name like a dodgy erotic novel – love the standalone door awning. I’ve already published its […]
Giovanni Hair Artiste, Cosmo Chicken Bar, 936, 934 Govan Road, Govan, Glasgow G51, Scotland, 2010 • Ambitious titles meet random plastic typography and very old coke branding. Still there in 2015, though it […]