Coffee Bar’s in 1959

coffee bar 1959
A look at coffee bars in the late 50’s. A nice little visual treat.

Here’s a nice little history lesson;

  • In 1945 Gaggia altered the espresso machine to create a high pressure extraction that produced a thick layer of crema. By 1946 cappuccino had been christened for its resemblance to the colour of the robes of the Capuchin monks. The unique selling point of the classic café had arrived
  • By 1953 coffee bars sprang up all over Soho. The first was The Moka espresso bar at 29 Frith St. Opened by Gina Lollabrigida, it became the model for many classic Formica cafes to come.
  • The coffee bars rapidly spread to other metropolitan areas: The Arabica, Brompton Road (G.R.Cole FRSA); Bamboo, Old Brompton Road (John Bainbridge); The Coffee House, Haymarket (Antoine Acket with E.E.Barlow ARIBA); Mocamba, Brompton Road (Douglas Fisher)…
  • The cafes attracted CND activists, jazzers, noveau existentialists, nascent rock n’ rollers, beatnik baby boomers, Piccadilly exquisites and a whole new post-war set of UK On The Roaders who, like Gelina in Mark McShane’s novel ‘The Passing of Evil’, wilfully inhabit: ‘the seedy-garish world of back-street London… restless rootless… beautiful, amoral, modern siren(s) of doom in a jungle of dance halls, caffs and pubs’
  • By the mid-1960s, 40% of the general populace were under 25. The scene was set for a British creative renaissance as diverse art, writing, musical, criminal and sexual subcultures thrived within the burgeoning cafe communities…
  • Read more here