Have you ever felt pressured to buy another cup of coffee or a bagel just so you can stay longer in a café? At Ziferblat, a place in Shoreditch, London where visitors are encouraged to feel at home and be social, you don’t have to worry about that. You can even bring your own sustenance and stay as long as you want.

Although many refer to Ziferblat as a café, you’ll be surprised to find that there’s really no food or coffee to order.  And because they don’t operate like a regular café, they charge by the length of stay which is only fair as they don’t make money from selling grub. So for 5 pence a minute/3 British Pounds (GBP) an hour, you can “do whatever you like as long as you respect the space and the other people in it”.

Ziferblat charges by the length of your stay not by the food and drinks you consume. (Photo credit: Ziferblat)
Ziferblat charges by the length of your stay not by the food and drinks you consume. (Photo credit: Ziferblat)

If  you are worried about the food, Shoreditch offers some great options. You can always have your Vietnamese fix at Mien Tay and Song Que Cafe. The dumplings and duck pancakes from The Drunken Monkey are also worth trying. And you can grab some braised pig cheek and a smoked beef rib burrito from Death by Burrito.

Ivan Meetin started this concept in Russia a few years ago due to a lack of a meeting place for poetry enthusiasts. They eventually found a little attic to rent in the middle of Moscow, made it their official hangout and called it the “Tree House”. The place was homey. People spent time there to just chill, converse, play the piano, make new friends, and share food and drinks. They didn’t really pay for anything. Rather, they put some cash in an open suitcase by the entrance as a form of donation.

Soon enough, the place became too small for the growing number of guests and a bigger space became imperative. The higher rent of the new venue called for a more systematic financial arrangement. Thus, the pay-per-minute scheme came about.

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About Kathy del Castillo

Kathy is a free spirit who has an attention span equivalent to that of a squirrel. So it's only seemly that she has a penchant for adventures and spontaneity. And because she is expected to earn her keep, she works as an online freelancer doing (what else?) random stuff.


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