Walk around the timeworn streets off St Paul’s Cathedral and you might come across Host Café, a stunning daytime pitstop hiding away behind the doors of the church of St Mary Aldermary.
St Mary Aldermary
St Mary Aldermary, like so many churches in the area, was badly damaged in the Great Fire of 1666. The great Christopher Wren, who left his architectural paws on 53 London churches, was tasked with giving St Mary Aldermary a new lease of life. Over the years, the church has been restored, in particular during the Victorian period when it acquired new pews, new stained glass and an oak screen dividing the church from the lobby.
Today, St Mary Aldermary is a peaceful haven, a million miles away away from the hustle and bustle of the City of London. It’s the perfect place for some quiet contemplation for locals and tourists alike. It’s also home to the Host Café, a hub where “coffee is a spiritual experience” and which has to be one of the most unusual cafes in London.
The Host Café is run by the Moot Community, who support meditation and Taizé prayers, as well as reflective Wednesday evening services (at 6pm) including Agape, Contemplative Evening Prayer, Eucharist and Taizé.
The café serves an excellent range of hot drinks as well as sandwiches, pastries and hot soup. They serve Mission Coffee Works and We Are Tea and there are plenty of pant-based milks on offer. They only use local suppliers for their breads and pastries.
If you plan on spending more than 1.5 hours at the café, you will need to book a table. There are plenty of sockets near the tables so you can charge your laptops and phones there. And don’t worry, you won’t be expected to keep getting refills in order to work at the Host Café.
You’re also welcome to bring your own lunch to the Host Café.
About Host Cafe
Opening Hours: Host Café is open Monday to Friday 7.30am to 4pm. It’s closed on weekends.
Address: St Mary Aldermary, Watling St – London EC4M 9BW. Nearest tube: Mansion House.
Events: Check the Host Café Instagram page for live updates and for the latest events.
Other Christopher Wren churches nearby: St-Mary-le-Bow, St Stephen Walbrook, St Mary le Bow and St Paul’s Cathedral.