The Scoop: Grind took the London social scene by storm in 2011 when it opened its first coffee shop in Shoreditch. The cool vibes, local brews, and friendly service soon brought in crowds of youthful coffee enthusiasts, and it became a popular meetup spot for first dates, study groups, and afternoon coffee breaks. Now Grind has added even more flavor and fun to its menu by offering imaginative cocktails and sharing plates. If you’re looking for a place to coffee and chill, Grind can set the mood in any of its 11 locations.
London entrepreneur David Abrahamovitch and Australian singer-songwriter Kaz James opened the first Grind coffee shop at Old Street Roundabout in Shoreditch in 2011. The two friends were full of big ideas, and they wanted to create something a little different to catch the attention and win the hearts of young Londoners on the go.
Grind’s fun and casual atmosphere made it feel like a cool kid’s hangout — there was even a recording studio upstairs. As an independent and eco-friendly coffee shop, Grind siphoned many customers away from Starbucks and other chains in the area. The tables and booths soon became crowded with couples on first dates, friends catching up, and professionals enjoying a break from the office.
According to David, the Grind staff could churn out over 200 coffees an hour on its busiest days, and the line would frequently go out the door. In the wake of this success, the Grind brand began to expand and open more coffee shops to meet the growing demand.
Today, Grind has 11 locations throughout London, and last year the company debuted its Grind at Home collection — led by some of the U.K.’s first compostable coffee pods for Nespresso machines.
Grind became famous for its locally roasted coffee and laid-back vibes, and its creative owners have challenged the very nature of a coffee shop. As the business grew, David saw an opportunity to blend a traditional café with an upscale bar. He secured a license to sell alcohol, dreamed up a few espresso-based cocktails, and turned Grind into a late-night hot spot.
Now couples can take their dates up a notch by visiting Grind, day or night, and ordering from a one-of-a-kind menu of coffees, cocktails, and food.
“When we first started Grind, we were a business that served take-away coffee, but since then we’ve evolved,” a spokesperson for the Grind team said. “We’re known for our brunch and killer espresso martinis as much as we are for our coffee.”
Romance Brews in a Playful Bar-Like Atmosphere
Getting coffee is a common first date trope, and that can grow a little stale if you’re always going to the same, run of the mill coffee shop.
Grind puts quality first in everything it does. Its coffee comes from sustainable, family-run farms, and the company pays more than the fair-trade price to support sustainable practices.
The Grind House Blend is served every day in all 11 Grind locations. It has notes of chocolate and hazelnut that cut through the milk to deliver a proper coffee punch.
If you’re an espresso or a long black drinker, you can enjoy Grind’s Black Blend. Like the House Blend, it is roasted in the state-of-the-art roastery in London. The Black Blend designed to work best without milk. It’s a little lighter than the Grind House Blend with floral notes to match that heady caffeinated kick.
Grind’s atmosphere is just as important as the coffee. The café-bars are definitely Instagrammable with playful pinks and calming blues accenting the warmer woods and exposed brickwork or concrete.
Each Grind location has its own vibe. Some offer comfy booths and nice views of the London streets, while others have more of a dimly lit speakeasy feel. They reflect the attitude of the neighborhood and blend in seamlessly with the surrounding social scene.
As Grind owner David Abrahamovitch said, “The idea is that a Grind is a place you can go at anytime, and the food and drink you have will always be amazing, the space will always be individual and beautifully designed, the music will always be great, and you’ll be served by someone who loves what they do.”
Grind has been the backdrop for many a first date, and some couples have come back to celebrate anniversaries or engagement, with at least two Grind couples having tied the knot after meeting at Shoreditch Grind.
Satisfying Appetites With an All-Day Food Menu
Through the years, Grind has become a fantastic blend of coffee shop, eatery, and cocktail bar. It’s no wonder so many couples choose this dynamic setting for a first date.
Even if you’re not a coffee drinker, you can find something to savor on the Grind menu. The sharing plates are perfect for couples who want to linger for a little while. Daters can enjoy smashed avocado, spinach croquettes, charred broccoli, and other light bites.
Grind also has a brunch spread with all the fixins — including bottomless drinks. The buttermilk pancakes served with blueberries and cream are particularly popular among sweethearts with a sweet tooth.
The Grind cocktail menu has a little something for everyone. The coffee-based cocktails pack a punch and offer a pick-me-up, while the fruity cocktails keep things light, and the menu even has some tasty alcohol-free cocktails, in-house beers and IPAs, and a curated list of wines.
“Whether you’re on a first date or a third date, there’s a Grind for you,” the team said. “London Grind and Shoreditch Grind are buzzy, but relaxed — perfect for a first date. If you’re ready for something that feels a little more romantic, then Exmouth Market is a lovely neighborhood spot.”
One TripAdvisor reviewer said the London Grind was her new favorite date spot. She and her date shared a three-course meal with drinks at Grind and came away totally satisfied.
“Atmosphere is buzzing without being too loud, service is great, and food is scrumptious,” the review said. “Grind has always had the best coffee in London so had to have one with our chocolate parfait dessert which was heavenly. Will definitely be back to try other things on the menu!”
Grind Builds Its Reputation as a Social Sensation
From its early days, Grind has surprised and delighted visitors with its bold flavors and unique sense of style. This trendy coffee shop has evolved its brand to include a one-of-a-kind bar, a crowded brunch spot, and a fast-service eatery. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a delicious brew, Grind can hit the spot and provide a lovely place to spend the morning, afternoon, or night.
Many couples have met up at Grind for their first date and relished the low-key and fun-filled atmosphere as they got to know one another.
As Grind approaches its 10th anniversary, the crowdfunded company continues to grow its reputation as a quality-first company with a lot of heart and big dreams. In March 2020, Grind plans to open Southbank Grind and bring its dynamic flavors to the arts scene there.
The Grind team said, “We’re looking forward to continuing to create spaces which are always really fun, loud and bustling, serving great coffee, food, and cocktails.”