Way back in October, I told you about my friend Lawrence, and his idea of starting a cyclists’ cafe, which eventually came to fruition at 72 Leather Lane, EC1. Since then he’s gone from strength to strength, and flourished in ways no one could ever have expected. The shop’s now called
– which is apparently a certain stage in the roasting of coffee beans, just before full roast.
I think Lawrence envisaged Fullcity as a sort of boutique coffee kiosk, that would also do odd repairs, fix commuter punctures, that sort of thing. And the main selling point for me was that he was keen to make it a courier haven, and foolish enough to encourage sweaty layabouts like me to hang around the place, freeloading, and getting in the way of paying customers.
As it turns out, it’s become a wonderful, chaotic jumble of bikes, tools, wheels, grease, couriers, mechanics and civilians – all climbing over each other to borrow spanners, wrestle their bike out from under six others, or get their hands on some of Fullcity’s superlative coffee. And superlative it really is. Lawrence and at least two of his helpers have been trained by the Monmouth Coffee Company, generally acknowledged to be the purveyors of London’s finest beans, and they use Monmouth beans, and sell the resulting coffee for only £1 a cup. Yes, really. £1. Even less if you’re a courier.
And, like all good coffee shops, Fullcity’s rapidly developed a whole gang of regulars, friends, groupies, and hangers-on, most of whom just walked into the shop one day, and ended up staying. I don’t think Lawrence really planned to have staff – but various people turned up and started fixing bikes, and he didn’t have the heart to turn them away. Various other people came in for a quick coffee, and left with several hundred pounds worth of bike. I believe there are even already one or two couples in existence who met via Fullcity. It’s that sort of place.
Here’s a few pictures…
A rainy day. (And Lawrence, proving once again that he’s the least photogenic man alive. He’s actually quite dashing in person.)
After work: the boys talk about bike; the girls drink beer.
And good night!