Clandestine Cannabis Cafe in London
Furrowing his brows, he looked at me with suspicion when I asked for a lighter. For I’m a fool who did not bring one at a coffee shop!
Sitting three floors up, in a room full of graffiti, neon lights; accompanied by a strong scent of White Russian, resides a hidden cannabis cafe, open for all. A five minute walk from Aldgate underground station, it is located on the White Chapel High street.
A grey rusty door with a “push” sign. Pacing inside, I walk up through the stairs. There is no name tag on the door. Albeit, a cannabis-emoji door magnet looks every customer in the eye; perhaps it’s a secret CCTV camera.
A pan shot of the room encaptures customers from all walks of life. Young teenagers in their jumpers sitting next to working class lads in their high-end suits. Everyone puffs their favourite strain while sipping a hot glass of matcha latte.
“The Den” is written on a 9x9 blackboard, hanging next to the counter. A small pink menu to complement posits; “Edibles, potent weed and hash,” written with white and yellow colored chalks and a little drawing of what looked like a pastiche of Bob Marley.
The cushions are soft and shiny. There is one tiny burn mark on the one next to Rosie. “Meeow,” she whispered from the corner. White and fluffy, she leaves the room; first jump on the table, next to the front desk and scene.
“The Den offers a whole range of products from hash brownies, pancakes and cookies to potent cannabis strains and Morrocan hash. They provide the same high quality products at a significantly lower price than a regular coffee shop in Amsterdam,” says Joanne, a regular of The Den.
“It is definitely a paradise for every cannabis consumer,” she adds.
Customers can get a gram of Sour Diesel or Stardawg for £10, although the Cali weed is for £25 per gram. All edibles go for ten per piece.
“I smoked the Wedding cake and by my previous experience, I would say that they are selling what they are telling,” remarks Rohan, a first-time customer in The Den.
The cafe is a good place to buy authentic strains as the dealers on the street sell the same thing under different names.
“How’s the loud, G?,” says the owner, who asks to go by “S.”
I nod with a grim smile on my face.
The graffiti walls are a great feature of this cafe. Bright colors and hand-painted sketches accentuate the high. The room has four big black sofas and half a dozen chairs around. For 3pm in the afternoon, there are significantly more people than in a Starbucks or Pret-a-manger.
After all, only the cannabis industry has seen a massive spike amid the Covid-19 pandemic. “Our regular customers bought a month's supply. That’s a lot of money influx in the business,” shares S.
The cafe is currently only open from 12-3pm for sales. “We will open full time from 01 July, hopefully.” says S. A roof-top arena is under construction and will be accessible thereafter.
The cafe also offers PlayStation for free to its customers. Croissants and other non-cannabis food products are also available. A quiet weekday afternoon would be the best time to pay a visit.