Red Door Gallery/ Cafe

Turnpin Lane has seen a lot of change, probably all its (very long) life. Shops come and go; some never seem to open at all (those grubby buildings behind Joy, for example.) It’s a curious mixture of scruffy and quaint, downmarket and decidedly upmarket. Two of the cutest shops in the row were Daisy Cakes Bake Shop and Red Door Gallery. It’s been all-change down Turnpin Lane again. Some of it is good.

I was gutted that Daisy Cakes very cute shop has closed. I know she’s gone online and that you can buy her fabbo cupcakes at three places – Bar du Musee, Biscuit and Red Door, but I used to love nipping in to buy a cake or two for later scoffage at home; I can’t do that any more.

I will try out the decidedly average-looking cafe that’s opened in its stead at some point (is it just me, or wasn’t Greenwich Council refusing any more cafes in Central Greenwich? I thought that was why the Organic Cafe guys around the corner got kicked out…) but at the moment I’m too depressed.

Instead I went next door. I’ve always rather liked Red Door Gallery – an independent little craft gallery/emporium, full of glass cabinets with curious jewellery/pottery/homewares/accessories, but I felt the (tiny) back room was a bit underused.

It’s still mainly a gallery/shop but the owners have decided that it was underused, too, and have turned it into what has to be one of the smallest coffee shops (I know – yet another one) in Greenwich.
Take your pew – or cinema seat – or plush tart’s-boudoir sofa, and perch around a bunch of completely mis-matched coffee tables made out of all kinds of wrong things (they’re even at different heights to each other) for a coffee – and yes – one of Daisy Cake’s cupcakes.

It’s cosy and quirky, and if the music is a tiny tad too loud it’s in excellent taste. The lighting’s muted by sticking a couple of sheets of pink paper over bare bulbs and it’s all a bit make-do-and-mend – which is absolutely perfect for the venue.

The coffee’s not bad either. Not Beehive quality (oh, how I’m missing that place…) but still perfectly enjoyable. They even have a slightly ramshackle “Bring One, Swap One” bookshelf with a surprisingly good selection of books people have brought to swap – on the day I was there, Clive Aslet’s superb The Story of Greenwich was up for grabs…

Downsides – it IS tiny – and the way the seats are laid out, it’s somehow not very private – don’t go there for an intimate discussion with your best mate about that embarrassing medical problem, eh…

Also – and, to be honest, some may not see this as a downside; it depends on where you stand on the whole pushchair issue ;-) – the entrance is narrow, and the cafe-area down steps, making access difficult. This is partially remedied by a couple of chairs and tables outside if you just have to have that Daisy Cup Cake fix, but Turnpin Lane itself is not wide, so there’s still not much pram-room.
So ideal for pram-o-phobes, but worry not, mums and dads. I have found a good alternative for pushchairs that I will post about another day.

2 Comments to “Red Door Gallery/ Cafe”

  1. Carole McKenzie says:

    My mum, my sister and myself came upon this quaint shop while visiting Greenwich from Glasgow. The fruit scones with cream and jam are second to none and the coffee and very large pot of tea were wonderful. The gentleman who runs the shop with his partner is a lovely guy who hails from Scotland and we had a great bit of banter with him. If you go to Greenwich go to Red Door, you won’t regret it.

  2. Andrea Turner says:

    Me and my husband were in the Red Door last week and had a wonderful experience, the cakes and cuppas were fantastic and the banter was second to none, a lovely surprise in this quaint little lane….bought a lovely hand crafted bowl at very reasonable cost…..made our journey down the Thames very much worthwhile…..will be back next time we are in London.