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eaterie

Cyclone

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.
Cyclone

Dallas

Dallas, 52 Battersea Park Road, Battersea, Borough of Wandsworth, LondonSW11, 2002 • Blue walker.
Dallas

Lahoree House

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 […]
Lahoree House

Flakes

Flakes Catering, 46 Tower Bridge Road, Bermondsey, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2002 • Old geezer meets trad signwriting. Later became a Labour party office.
Flakes

Balti Raj

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.
Balti Raj

Sea Spray

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 […]
Sea Spray

Poseidon

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 […]
Poseidon

Woks Wong

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 […]
Woks Wong

The French

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. […]
The French

Pompey on a Roll

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, […]
Pompey on a Roll

New Star

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 […]
New Star

Wok Inn

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, […]
Wok Inn

The Forum

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 Forum

Arthur Toms

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 […]
Arthur Toms

Jim’s Cafe

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 […]
Jim’s Cafe

Ellis’s Tearoom

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.
Ellis’s Tearoom

Griddle

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 […]
Griddle

Platform Cafe

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. […]
Platform Cafe

The Turkey Cafe

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 […]
The Turkey Cafe

Golden Horse, Weekes

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 […]
Golden Horse, Weekes

Holy

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…
Holy

Pitchers (Caffe Nero)

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 […]
Pitchers (Caffe Nero)

Causette

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 […]
Causette

Cyber Café

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, […]
Cyber Café

Empire Milk Bar

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 […]
Empire Milk Bar

Olympia Dining Rooms

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 […]
Olympia Dining Rooms

Woo Lot

Woo Lot, 592 Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, Borough of WalthamForest, London E10, 2016 • Great name, great (literally) sign.
Woo Lot

Famished Cafe

Famished Cafe, 2 Kilburn Bridge, Kilburn, Borough of Brent, London NW6, 2012 • Nice name on a colourful frontage, now replaced by Roosters Piri Piri.  
Famished Cafe

Tony’s Hemp Corner

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 […]
Tony’s Hemp Corner

Tan’s Cafe

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 […]
Tan’s Cafe

Kam Garden

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.
Kam Garden

Pizza King

Pizza King, 115 Sandgate Road, Folkestone, Kent, 2008 • Incongruous in its grand portal despite the regal name. Now called Master Kebab.
Pizza King

Subway (Angel)

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 […]
Subway (Angel)

New Happy Swan

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 […]
New Happy Swan

Vivian Patisserie

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 […]
Vivian Patisserie

Gio’s Kitchen

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 […]
Gio’s Kitchen

Giovanni’s Room

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’s Room

Sunshine Cafe

Sunshine Cafe, 36 Hanway Street, City of Westminster, London W1, 2003 • Cheerful back alley jerk joint hindered by London downpour. Later became Vinyl Bar, and developers knocked the other side […]
Sunshine Cafe

Cafe Olympic

Cafe Olympic, 156 The Grove, Stratford, Borough of Newham, London E15, 2006 • Pallid colours on their way out. It’s now Babylon Kebabs, but in 2014 you can see an […]
Cafe Olympic

Vinces Snack Bar

Vinces Snack Bar, 61 Red Lion Street, City of Westminster, London WC1, 2003 • Genuinely classic cafe, just crying out for an apostrophe. Apparently the period formica interior was ripped out […]
Vinces Snack Bar

Sima Tandoori

Sima Tandoori, 295 Bethnal Green Road, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E2, 2005 • I’d love to know what the statue and neon figures represent – Hindu deities or just people offering greetings? By 2008 all […]
Sima Tandoori

Hel’s Kitchen

Hel’s Kitchen, Anchor Bay Industrial Estate, Manor Road, Erith, Kent, 2014 • Surely all food is hot in Hell? (Although it’s not that hellish, it’s got a food hygiene rating of […]
Hel’s Kitchen

Cafe

Cafe, corner of Henry Street and Suffolk Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • Wonky hand-lettering for this generic cafe, which was still a derelict corner in 2014, despite being almost in the city […]
Cafe

Sans’ Cafe

Sans’ Cafe, 2 Lightbody Street, Liverpool 3, 2008 • A famous greasy spoon for 40 years, albeit sans apostrophe knowledge. Owner Tseng Chikhao died in 2014; there’s a great article here. The […]
Sans’ Cafe

San-San

San-San, 59 Lime Street, Liverpool, 2003 • My last example of neon from Liverpool Chinatown’s traditional restaurants – a breed that are slipping away, as they have done in London. This one […]
San-San

China City

China City, 48 Nelson Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • Austere by Chinatown standards, but I like the plasticky faux marble. These days it has no neon, looks even more functional, […]
China City

Chow’s House

Chow’s House, 26 Nelson Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • Traditional neon welcome that was still the same in 2014, but there are no reviews on Tripadvisor so the restaurant has presumably closed down.
Chow’s House

North Garden Restaurant

North Garden Restaurant, 30 Nelson Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • Liverpool’s Chinatown used to have decorative frontages with nice neon, but signage has got more functional over the years. This restaurant is still there, but the neon […]
North Garden Restaurant

Ma Bo

Ma Bo, 16 Nelson Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • Legendary old-school restaurant in Liverpool’s Chinatown, which has been going over 40 years and still looks the same. It gets generally excellent reviews for […]
Ma Bo

Donor Kebab House

Donor Kebab House, 36 Berry Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • There’s something rather delicate about this sign, it looks more like a knitting shop. Now, I think, Hot Chillis halal […]
Donor Kebab House

Athena

Athena, 45 Lime Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • More Lime Street neon; still there, but they removed the word ‘kebabs’ so there’s a gap in the middle.
Athena

Newroz

Newroz, 57 Lime Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • Lime Street, despite being in the centre of Liverpool, is noted for being run down. However there are some shops that make an […]
Newroz

Personal Jesus

Personal Jesus sign, outside Shoreditch Grind, 213 Old Street, Borough of Islington, London EC1, 2013 • Sign outside trendy coffee shop Shorditch Grind at London’s grotty mini tech hub, Old Street Roundabout.
Personal Jesus

Greek Gods Taverna

Greek Gods Taverna, 6 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, City of Westminster, London WC2, 2003 • Blimey. This became a branch of the famous trendy restaurant Polpo, itself a beautiful re-imagining of a […]
Greek Gods Taverna

Guru Express

Guru Express, 139 Hersham Road, Walton on Thames, Surrey, 2002 • I’ll have a side-order of spiritual guidance with my pakoras, please. Still looks much the same nowadays.
Guru Express

Kabra Kebabra

Kabra Kebabra, 58 Coldharbour Lane, Borough of Lambeth, London SE5, 2015 • Coldharbour Lane seems to specialise in bonkers shop names. This one’s already quite famous on the internet. Not to […]
Kabra Kebabra

Rock Steady Eddies

Rock Steady Eddies, 2a Coldharbour Lane, Borough of Southwark, London SE5 • Longstanding Camberwell landmark, famed as the nearest cheap cafe to Maudsley ‘mental hospital’ (to use the 1980s term). Reviews could […]
Rock Steady Eddies

LJ’s Beach Bar

LJ’s Beach Bar, Brooklands, Jaywick Sands, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, 2013 • That’s barbed wire on top. Part of Jaywick Sands, apparently one of Britain’s most deprived areas, albeit with a vast […]
LJ’s Beach Bar

Elizabeths Restaurant

Elizabeths Restaurant, 30 Bridge Street, Sunderland, 2013 • Apostrophe-free diner that appears as traditional inside as out. That looks like the remnants of a shiny Brilliant-style Vitrolite facade under the […]
Elizabeths Restaurant

Quality Cafe

Quality Cafe, 3 Station Road South, Merstham, Surrey, 2001 • Beautiful station cafe. It’s now been modified with pale blue tiles and orange windows, and looks really weird. There’s an incredibly […]
Quality Cafe

Cafe (Bow Road)

Cafe, side of 181 Bow Road, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E3, 2006 • Became a tasteful wall ad for hairdresser Noor, minus – ironically or appropriately, depending on how you look at […]
Cafe (Bow Road)

Picasso

Picasso, 127 Kings Road, Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London SW3, 2003 • Glum fogies adorning a famed Kings Road coffee bar which over the course of 50 years catered to poshos and […]
Picasso

Renoir

Renoir, 244 Kentish Town Road, Borough of Camden, London NW5, 2012 • Renoir clearly neglected to trademark his logo. One of Kentish Town’s more genteel offerings, still there in 2014.
Renoir

Golden Dragon

Golden Dragon, 228 Mile End Road, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E1, 2015 • Chinese takeaways are one of the last redoubts of old-school grunge on this increasingly gentrified east end […]
Golden Dragon

Wok This Way

Wok This Way, 48 High Street, Oakham, Rutland, 2015 • Nice bushes! Less traditional than it looks – specials include Quorn and gluten-free dishes.
Wok This Way

Waywest Cafe

Waywest Cafe, A1 Southbound, Darrington, Pontefract, West Yorkshire, 2015 • How strange, a crumbling neoclassical cafe at a bleak service station. Looks more like Italy than Yorkshire (apart from the weather).
Waywest Cafe