Published on February 22, 2014 | by Kate Jackson

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Ziferblat pay-as-you-go café

★★★★

The inside of Ziferblat

The cafe has a homely feel due to its living room set up. [Bethe Dabbs]

The term ‘pay-as-you-go’ is usually synonymous with mobile phones, but a new café may be about to change that.

Ziferblat, in Shoreditch, is London’s first café that charges you for the amount of time you spend in the building, rather than for the food and drink you consume.

After buzzing in through the door at 332 Old Street, you walk up the stairs to the café where you are met by a friendly member of staff who introduces themselves and explains the concept to you – basically encouraging you to view the café as your own living room, where the guests are strangers. It sounds like it should feel almost uncomfortable, but it is a very welcoming and cosy place.

The café is a convincing mock up of a living room and really does feel as if you are entering someone’s home – there are chess boards, games, sofas and a small kitchen where you are free to help yourself to an array of ginger nuts and custard creams. You can even pour yourself a drink on the vintage coffee machine.

Donations

The pay-as-you go system is not yet up and running as they haven’t got the tills in working order, so the café is currently just running on donations; however they plan to arrange a system where customers are handed a clock on arrival and are then charged by the minute.

They plan to charge 3p per minute – or £1.80 per hour – and as much complementary tea, coffee and custard creams as you wish. If caffeinated drinks aren’t your thing, do not despair – you are welcome to bring your own food and drink from outside.

With the surge of recent press coverage Ziferblat has received, it is currently swarming with customers and is therefore not the best place to work in, but it is still a great place to chill out and relax.

If this place sounds appealing to you then make sure you get there quick as they may not be around for long due to licensing issues (the cafe falls into a limbo between a shared workspace and a venue selling food and drink). We hope it is all worked out before their 28 day eviction notice as we’re always up for supporting creative and new ventures in London.

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