Cafe Culture: London’s new gay cruising ground
The newest and trendiest addition to London's block is the fabulous café; a replica of the chic, Parisian establishments where you can sip your coffee or tea, munch on your croissant or pastry and watch the boys go by.
It seems that cafés have earned themselves a key position in London's gay culture. Simply meander into any one of the hundreds of cafés that adorn London's streets and you'll be met by a wave of glaring eyes...checking you out.
Although initially a very continental concept, café culture has successfully implanted itself in UK culture and become very popular in the gay community. It has to be the allure of the idea of sophistication that goes hand in hand with having a latte in a café.
Looking back in history, cafés have also played a vital role as a means of communities' socialising. From the enlightenment in Europe before the French Revolution to J K Rowling in a small Edinburgh café writing her ‘Harry Potter' novels, cafés have always been associated with glamour and an air of superiority.
However, since cafés have begun to play such a key role in UK gay culture, they have definitely become cruising grounds. If clubs, pubs and saunas are not your cup of tea (excuse the pun), simply head to a café in London and you're bound to find someone who tickles your fancy.
Gay Cruising Ground
In Soho - London's main gay village located in central London - there are many cafés that attract particular gay attention. Cafés provide the perfect setting if you would like to lose yourself in a book, write in your diary or simply people watch. Unlike gay bars and pubs where it is slightly more taboo to sit by yourself, cafés are great resting spots if you're by yourself and need to recharge your batteries.
If you choose your table carefully, and leave a seat free, you're more than likely to have someone come and sit down next to you. The perfect way to meet people! What sets cafés apart from bars, pubs and clubs is the sociable atmosphere they provide. People are more than willing to have a chat with you in a café as opposed to a bar where there might be loud music playing.
However, although the café culture has hit the UK hard in recent years, it seems that Starbucks have completely monopolised the market. Startling figures reveal just the extent of the Starbucks takeover. Standing on the corner of Regent Street and Wigmore Street will locate you within five miles of 164 branches of Starbucks. With moves for Starbucks to expand, concentrating in London, it seems that the unstoppable chain of coffee shops is set to take over the world.
The growth of Starbucks in London especially makes it very difficult for privately run, small coffee shops to make a business and compete in the industry.
It seems like the future of small coffee shops in London is looking very black indeed.