A centrally located independent Italian cafe on two floors – and the oldest family-run cafe in Brixton – San Marino serves full English breakfasts, sandwiches, paninis, toasted snacks, cakes and coffee.
The coffee is better than average and there’s some tasty and affordable snacks on offer, including a full English breakfast served all day. The staff aren’t exactly super friendly but the service is pretty speedy.
There’s plenty of seating, although it doesn’t seem the sort of place where day-long laptop lurkers are appreciated because it can get very busy.
That said, there’s free wi-fi available (ask for password) and some power sockets.
It’s a pretty good place to get work done, although the main downside is the noise: sit in the middle of the cafe and you’ll have the irritating sound of the wall mounted TV blaring devastating news from around the globe in one ear and the cafe stereo in the other.
Worst of all, you may be sat there while the whiny posh voice of Cameron is booming down from the TV, and that’s enough to put anyone off their panini.
Happily, it’s much quieter downstairs (50 seats) but the lack of windows take away a lot of the appeal. It’s also one of the few cafes open late (till 10pm Mon-Sat).
There’s a fairly large outdoor seated area, but we wouldn’t recommend flaunting your top of the range laptop too close to the pavement: market forces may be busying themselves trying to gentrify Brixton into nu-Clapham, but there’s still folks around who’d be happy to relieve you of your £1,000 laptop.
It also faces on to Brixton Road, which has one of the highest levels pollution of any street in London, so maybe stay inside during peak traffic hours.
Fact! Their website reports that they won the Healthy seating Award in 2012. We’ve no idea what that means.
Verdict: Affordable, lively coffee house in the heart of Brixton with loads of space for working, and it’s open late too. Great food and good prices. The main down side of the cafe is the noise, so if you need peace and quiet to work, bring earphones and you’ll be fine.
413 Brixton Rd, Brixton, SW9 7DG
Phone: 020 7978 8417
Mon – 6:00 – 22:00
Tue – 6:00 – 22:00
Wed – 6:00 – 22:00
Thu – 6:00 – 22:00
Fri – 6:00 – 22:00
Sat – 8:30 – 22:00
Sun – 9:00 – 15:00