London is unrenowned for good value, good service or even good breakfasts but Foyles bookshop’s Ray’s Jazz Cafe has all three, with an ambience and prices for young backpackers on a budget.
Foyles, a landmark at Charing Cross Road since 1906, was once renowned for its ”literary luncheons” and until the 1980s even Bernard Black would have found it a bit, well, eccentric: books shelved by publisher instead of author and a dotty manageress with an aversion to phones, modern cash registers and people, who ”fired” customers as regularly as she did staff.
Today, Ray’s Jazz Cafe has impromptu concerts, readings and feisty interactive author talks.
Bedside reading Helene Hanff’s 84 Charing Cross Road.
Brian Turner for The Sydney Morning Herald