Ziferblat is the first place where everything is free except the time you spend there.

From the minute you ring the doorbell of Ziferblat, you know you are not walking into a normal bar. In fact, this is not a bar, nor a hipster club, or a vintage library: it is a bit of all these things and much more. Ziferblat is first of all a concept.  When you enter the London first pay-as-you go café you have the impression of entering in a friend’s living room: you are greeted by an exquisitely smiley host that shows your way around, just as when you visit your friend’s apartment for the first time.

Ziferblat London

Ziferblat London

The London’s Ziferblat is located in the center of the new trendy area of Shoreditch in a very  informal but warm space that overviews Shoreditch Church. This is a space where everyone can do whatever they want. Since it was my first time in Ziferblat, the host showed me around and explained how things worked: “Here you can find fiction and non-fiction books, there is a piano you can play if you want and we also have board games. Now let me show you the most important thing: the kitchen!” Ziferblat has a common kitchen that you can use freely, as long as you take care of it. There is always coffee, tea, and biscuits of some kind, you can bring your own food and store it in the fridge, or bring along fruit that you bought but never really eat and share it with the others.

If you look around you will see you that the people around you  were not just looking for a wifi and place to sit (also); everyone is there because they value the place they are in. The atmosphere is really friendly and creative, you will see people writing, drawing, chatting, some even singing quietly while playing the guitar. What


Everyone in Ziferblat is given an clock                                        Photo credit: Henrique Simplicio / Foter / CC BY

everyone in that room has in common is the clock lying on the table in front of them. Each person that arrives in Ziferblat is asked to choose among a selection of alarm clocks (rigorously vintage) that will record the time you spend there. Time in the Ziferblat of London costs 5 pence a minute, except if you are a students so you have a discounted price of 4p a minute and or if you are Supercentenarian so you will spend only  3p/minute.

The London Ziferblat is at 388 Old Street, Shoreditch, London, EC1V 9LTOpening hours: Mon – Fri 10am – 11pm Sat – Sun 12pm – 11pm; Email: ziferblat.london@gmail.com, Phone: 07984693440. The London branch opened in December 2013, but the Ziferblat has a longer history.

What is the story behind Ziferblat?

This idea first came to a group of young people in Moscow, who shared a common passion for poetry and wanted their own space to meet and share their ideas. Their first meeting place was an old tree house, but as the community started getting more and more popular they had to find a bigger place: and this is how the first ever Ziferblat was born in 2011. As it started getting bigger, it was necessary to find a formalised way of charging people and this is how the founder Ivan Meetin (ivan.meetin@ziferblat.net)came up with the idea of charging time rather than what is consumed. Short after its first opening, other people wanted to open a Ziferblat in their city, so it became a franchise. You can now find Ziferblat all over Europe.

So take your time and find the closest Ziferblat!


Map taken from ziferblat.net

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Adriana Bianco Co-Editor in Chief

Adriana Bianco Co-Editor in Chief

Adriana is co-editor in chief of The International Post Magazine and is currently pursuing a Masters in Global Governance and Diplomacy at the University of Oxford. She recently graduated with a BA in Politics, Philosophy with Economics from Royal Holloway University after spending her second year in Hong Kong. Her dream is to work in international diplomacy and eventually founding her own NGO.