Dreaming of summer at the Boathouse Cafe, Barking

Let’s talk about Barking. Barking is a mere hop skip and a jump from East Ham. Yep, literally one stop by tube or 15 minutes on a bike…. 

In Barking, there lives a Boat House. And in that Boat House lives a Cafe Bar, with a terrace overlooking the canal. And in that Cafe Bar there is craft ale. And cake. AND. IT. IS. AWESOME.

A new riverside warehouse development, with a cosy bar and artist studios

Recently opened, the BoatHouse, Barking is a new and errrr, apparently ‘unique’ ‘riverside arts venue  at the heart of the emerging Ice House Quarter, featuring exhibition / café space, the terrace and riverside studios’, according to the media blurb on Ice House Quarter’s website. While a warehouse conversion in East London might not be unique (insert emoji shocked face here), the riverside is a great spot and the old quayside warehouses are charming.

Nestled quietly at the back of this development is the hero of our story; a cosy little cafe bar, so continental that it would be perfectly at home in the achingly cool cobbles of Prague. Yes, we are still talking about Boathouse. Yes, it is still in Barking, East London. The development already has a few artists installed, so as you meander your way towards the cafe, don’t forget to have a nosey at the curiosities, pearls of wisdom and pieces of creative genius on display in the windows. On a side note, we heard they have a small gallery up and running already as well as a yoga studio but that’s another post entirely.


Low lights, frothy coffee and the promise of a few choice choons

After winding up some secret stairs (you have to follow the signs – it cannot be seen from the street) you are greeted by the affore mentioned cheerful terrace filled with rustic cable reel tables and festoon lights. Glass fronted, the Boathouse Cafe positively glows at you. Willing you, tempting you inside, and the inside does not disappoint. Low filament light, rustic wood, a lo-fi DJ booth promising to play you something soulful and mellow, and a well stocked bar awaits you. They also offer a stash of classic board games, and newspapers to help you while away your Sunday afternoon, and to be honest, that is exactly what we did. 

Beer, Wine, Coffee, Cake.

They serve wine in all the usual measures and rather unusually for the Far East {London} area, they did have a good selection of craft ales. They also have frothy coffee of all varieties as well as light sandwiches and absolutely delicious cakes.

We went for a Latte (double-shot-soya-frappa-lappa-mocha-chino-no-foam, yeah!), a Ruby Red Howling Hops amber beer, a pastrami panini and a cheeky but worth it piece of ginger cake. All were excellent, and the total cost us less than £20. 

It’s just up the road!

From East Ham South it is a very easy cycle. It’s less than 2 miles via Flanders Road, with a handy foot bridge over the north circular. Similarly, if you want to drive (as long as you are not drinking – safety first please), it is a 10 minute pootle along the A13. Parking is available but restrictions are in place on Abbey Road so you can only park for 1 hour directly outside the bar. If trains are your thang, Barking is 1 stop from East Ham on the tube, and The BoatHouse Bar & Cafe is just 15 minutes walk from the station. You could even walk the whole way in less than 30 minutes so there is really no excuse for not visiting these guys, pronto.


Those summer naaaa-haaaaates are a-coming

All in all, we couldn’t ask for a better spot to sip our coffee and pretend to be all highbrow. It’s independently run too, so you are doing good things for the community just by being here! The Boathouse Cafe is an all round good egg of a place but the terrace and view was what really tickled our fancy. We are seeing balmy (no not smoggy, shhhhh!) summer nights, a la Danny Zucco‘s high note in the opening song. Just imagine sitting outside in t-shirts, drinking craft ale under the fairy lights by the river. YES PLEASE!

See our vision? Great, see you there! 

If you do go, be sure to ask the owner if he has any plans for an expansion… We hear East Ham’s Central Park has a cafe that is looking for a new Mum and Dad. #justsayin #CentralPerkE6


The deets:

What: A cosy and dare we say it, continental style Cafe Bar in Barking

Opening hours: Open everyday except Monday’s from 10.30am – 10.30pm

Where:  80 Abbey Road, Barking, East London (or Essex depending on your point of view)

£££: Tea £1.00, Coffee £2.40, Sandwiches from £3.50 and Cocktails from £7.00

Linky: or you can visit their facebook page (don’t forget to LIKE it) or their snap happy instagram feed

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