Hackney Bureau opened as a temporary gallery space to host exhibitions by artists for a programme called ANDOR. Originally called ANDOR Bureau the artists sold coffee to help subsidise the space. Working with Monmouth Coffee at the time of opening the Bureau was fortunate to become known as a place for artists and creatives at a time of huge change in the borough. As the Bureau grew in popularity more artists and designers from the new studios in Vyner Street needed feeding and the Bureau began serving A Bacon and Smashed Avocado Bap. Due to the weekend service becoming increasing busy the ANDOR gallery programme moved into new premises down the road, and Hackney Bureau was born.
Originally only a day-time coffee shop the Bureau began experimenting with different chefs to start its evening service, which first ran only from Thursday - Saturday evenings. The cash only, BYO alcohol and cheap set menu made it a popular venue, and an alternative environment for dining in a borough fast becoming recognised for food and drink.