Milkbar has served its last espresso after 12 years on Bateman Street, in the heart of Soho. The popular cafe, which was one of the best in London at the peak of its powers, announced its last day of trading yesterday, 22 September. It follows a tumultuous lockdown in which it and its sibling, the legendary Flat White, on Berwick Street, often passed the baton between being open and closed.
Managed by Laura Smith since 2013, Milkbar and Flat White were by 2014 two of the only cafes in the city to use a non-U.K. roaster — Sweden’s Drop Coffee — as their main supplier, aside from Mother’s Milk in Fitzrovia. Allied to their Soho locations, they drew in both local regulars and coffee tourists, particularly aiding Flat White as the coffee world it had helped establish swelled around it and its reputation for ... brusque ... service started to outweigh its legendary status. Both cafes moved over to serving Hackney’s Dark Arts in 2016, and have continued to do so to this day.
Prior to closing, Milkbar had just achieved long-held plans to operate as another kind of bar, serving boozy iced coffees and espresso martinis to customers in deckchairs on Bateman Street as a side-effect of outdoor dining measures in Soho. Eater has approached the team for information on their future plans.