That Kiosk Outside The National Portrait Gallery Is About To Reopen As A Cafe

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 7 months ago

Last Updated 27 October 2023

That Kiosk Outside The National Portrait Gallery Is About To Reopen As A Cafe
The kiosk with an artwork of an elegant woman on the side
The former ticket booth opens as a cafe on 1 November 2023. Image: NPG

First it was an ornate Victorian toilet block. Then it was a kiosk selling West End theatre tickets. Now it's being reborn as a bougie cafe.

Chances are you've walked past the kiosk plopped on a traffic island just outside the National Portrait Gallery (NPG), dozens of times before now. Up until spring 2021, it was used to peddle theatre tickets — and was originally somewhere for Londoners to spend a penny from Victorian times up until the 1970s.

A young woman holding a coffee cup with Audrey Hepburn on it
Even the coffee cups are stylish. Image: NPG

Last year, the National Portrait Gallery purchased the kiosk as part of its impressive overhaul of the whole establishment, and from the start of November 2023, it'll sell coffee and cakes from the picturesque booth. Opening from 7.30am on weekdays to catch morning trade, the cafe will be takeaway only — although there'll also be a small walk-in shopping space, selling NPG merch — to begin with, things like Christmas cards and stocking fillers ('tis the season, after all).

The Portrait Pavilion has been designed by the Magnum Opus design studio, and is part of the flashy Daisy Green Collection, which also operates Audrey Green and Larry's Bar inside the NPG. You can expect dainty lamington cakes, and flat white with Audrey Hepburn daubed on the side.

A selection of tasty looking cakes
Cakes include chocolate mud cake and tiramisu lamingtons. Image: NPG

The erstwhile pissoir also features a 1,700 square foot space below ground, which the gallery plans to use in the future.

If you've not yet been to the new look National Portrait Gallery, go! It really is a thing of beauty, and much of it is free to visit.