Talks to take over much-loved Forest Gate coffee shop

(L-R) Staff Gijs Van Amelsvoort, Daniel Hyland, manager Hettie Clarke & Jeff Levy of Coffee7 during

(L-R) Staff Gijs Van Amelsvoort, Daniel Hyland, manager Hettie Clarke & Jeff Levy of Coffee7 during it's 2nd birthday in Forest Gate (photo: Arnaud Stephenson) - Credit: photo: Arnaud Stephenson

A recently-closed popular café could reopen as a small independent coffee shop, its previous owners have revealed.

Coffee7, in Serbert Road, Forest Gate, served its final set of brews on July 29 after Michael ‘Mic’ Clarke, 58, and wife Mary, 56, stepped down to take semi-retirement.

Now, the pair says there will be an artists’ takeover at the venue in September while a longer-term future is also under consideration.

“There are three different people in discussions about taking it on and continuing to run it as a coffee shop or café,” said Mic, who has lived in nearby Hampton Road for 30 years.

“Nothing has been set out but definitely watch this space – we hope it is going to continue to do its good work.”

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September’s exhibition will be run by contemporary British artist Tom Ellis, who has previously catalogued pieces at The Wallace Collection.

While the details have yet to be finalised, Mic says it will be a chance for people to re-engage with a space that for many has become a second home over the last five years.

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“It has been pretty overwhelming that so many people have expressed their disappointment over what is after all only a coffee shop,” he said.

“The staff and the community have made it a very special place.”

He added he was touched by a book of well wishes set up by Forest Gate North Cllr Rachel Tripp before Coffee7 closed.

“It was full of messages from customers saying how much they were going to miss the place and how much it meant to them, about how they had been able to come in and meet with other people and it was a community space,” he said.

The hashtag #wemetatcoffee7 even circulated on Twitter with locals sharing pictures of the people they had met at the cafe.

The coffee shop was a real family affair with daughter Hettie Clarke-Hyland, 26, and her now husband, Daniel Hyland, involved while other staff stayed for years.

“We are sad,” said Mic, “but now we are going to have a rest”.

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