Remember the heady days of magazines? The days when an entire newsagent’s shelving would be bowing under the weight of lads’ mags. The early noughties were the pinnacle of men’s periodicals, and then the internet changed everything. Men’s magazines took a beating, they weren’t quick enough to adapt; to understand that in the internet age they needed to offer more than cheap T&A and gratuitous vulgarisms.
Much of the industry was wiped out, but some breeds of magazines dug their collective heels in. Glossy style bi-annuals; erudite cultural weeklies; cutting-edge science mags; and niche independent titles rose like mushrooms from the mulch of dead magazines on the forest floor.
Many are still going strong today, while also being joined by a host of smart newcomers who have not only diversified the subject matter, but have brought an artistic design energy to the industry.
With that in mind, we’ve curated a list of publications that will inform, entertain and make your coffee table look all the better. They’re all more than worth the paper they’re printed on.
Founded by Dan Crowe and Matt Willey, former art director of The New York Times Magazine, Port’s biannual style magazine is an erudite blend of fashion, culture and stunning design.
First published in 2011, Port features top-class essays and profiles from the world’s foremost and iconic practitioners in fields such as art, design, architecture, food, film and literature, seamlessly combining excellent editorials with stunning photoshoots.
Founded by German former journalist and gallerist Joerg Koch, and Sandra von Mayer-Myrtenhain, 032c is an award-winning contemporary culture magazine that covers art, fashion and politics.
The art content focuses on contemporary artists, taking a strong visual approach to an eclectic subject matter, with writing by the likes of Hans Ulrich Obrist. Visually arresting and always eye-opening, it’s a strong contender for the top of your coffee table pile.
London-based HERO magazine sits at the vibrant intersection of men’s fashion, art, lifestyle, film and literature, sprinkled with some skate culture and a dollop of music.
Always entertaining, the photographic editorials have featured world-class creatives, including Hedi Slimane. For fashion heads, the runway archives are some of the best on the internet, with all the major shows of the last decade at your digital fingertips.
Man About Town
Man About Town is a biannual fashion and style magazine with a strong focus on actor- and musician-led interviews, as well as editorials with the biggest up-and-coming male models in the industry.
The fashion photography is top-notch, while the content is eclectic, spanning the whole queer spectrum.
The oversized V Man magazine has long been a fixture of the most stylish coffee tables in the land. First launched in September 1999, this large format tome puts strong visuals in the frame with stunning creative direction.
The usual suspects of art, music, film, architecture and of course fashion come together in a heady mix of high-low. From underground cultural reports to lofty high-end art appreciation, V Man is a smorgasbord of discerning content.
It might not be the cultural bible it once was in the 1960s and 1970s when the likes of Tom Wolfe and Gay Talese were contributors, but Esquire still has its finger on the cultural pulse.
The magazine’s focus revolves around contemporary menswear, design, cultural commentary, watch guides and luxury travel, all of which it tackles with first-rate writing.
It’s a good-looking balance of style and substance.
The Gentleman’s Quarterly has been in print ever since 1931 when it had the catchy title of ‘Apparel Arts’. It switched to the two-letter acronym in 1967, and has since been a brilliant repository of award-winning investigative writing, as well as a compendium of all things of male interest.
Encompassing art, style, culture, lifestyle, music, health and politics, GQ continues to redefine what it is to be a man in contemporary society.
Founded by the menswear aficionado and all-around bon viveur Matt Hranek, WM Brown is his own personal homage to the good, masculine things in life.
It has since grown to become a hugely popular niche title focusing on good living, from food and architecture to drinking and sartorial style. It’s like having access to your own small members’ club right there on your coffee table.
Inc. is an American business magazine that was founded in 1979, dedicated to the pursuit of riches and success via small and medium-sized entrepreneurs.
From real-life business case studies to invaluable investing advice via up-to-the-minute technology insights, Inc. is packed full of entrepreneurial wisdom and ideal reading fodder for ambitious go-getters looking to start their own company.
No surprise who Entrepreneur magazine is aimed at. This US-based title has been in print since 1977 and is dedicated to arming wannabe moguls with all the information they need to start and grow a business in the 21st century.
The interviews are insightful and the case studies are full of actionable tips and advice. Published every other month, it’s an intelligent and insightful read.
The original American business magazine, Forbes is the bible when it comes to corporate rockstars and major business movers and shakers.
Published eight times a year, Forbes features in-depth interviews with the world’s most powerful business leaders and provides the last word on leadership, innovation and, of course, who owns how much via its rich lists.
The Robb Report is like a city boy’s How To Spend It. Founded in 1976, it aims to be the last word on luxury goods, from fashion to real estate via yachts, watches, cigars, cars… you name it.
If it has cachet, it’ll be in the Robb Report. Whether you’ve got the dollar or not, it’s an aspirational read and always finds a place on discerning coffee tables.
Science & Tech
When Wired was first launched in 1993 it was a breath of fresh air, combining the very best writing in science and technology with stunning creative direction. It made science nerds of all of us, and continues to set the bar for tech reporting.
If you want to stay up to date with the latest innovations in AI, health tech and the metaverse, as well as insights on the latest must-have gadgets, Wired is your go-to publication.
Music & Film
Little White Lies
One of the few dedicated movie magazines still in publication, Little White Lies is a beautifully curated and wonderfully illustrated companion to the latest cinematic releases.
In a world in which we are inundated with things to watch, Little White Lies cuts to the chase with perspicacious and honest reviews of the world’s most interesting movie and documentary releases.
Founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J. Gleason, Rolling Stone became a cultural icon during the rise of counterculture music scenes in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The magazine was initially intended to cover music and popular culture, which invariably led it to have a political voice, resulting in groundbreaking journalism, in-depth interviews and iconic photography.
Rolling Stone’s first cover featured John Lennon, and its early issues covered topics such as the Vietnam War, civil rights and the emerging rock ‘n’ roll and hippie movements.
It’s still a repository for serious journalism and a barometer of modern American culture.
Founded by Yolanda Edwards (who also happens to be the other half of WM Brown founder Matt Hranek), YOLO is a nose-to-the-ground travel magazine that really gets under the skin of destinations.
Using Yolanda’s seemingly vast network of contacts, YOLO presents the world through the eyes of insiders, with beautiful travel writing and even better photography.
If you’re looking for wanderlust inspiration, or just want to appear well-heeled, then a YOLO subscription is money well spent.
As travel magazines go, Holiday stands apart for both heritage and style. Between 1946 and 1977, Holiday portrayed the world through the eyes and minds of some of the world’s finest writers and photographers, with a writing roster including Graham Greene, Joan Didion, Jack Kerouac and Truman Capote.
In 2014, after a 37-year hiatus, Holiday was resurrected by the Parisian art director Franck Durand, and is now an international bi-annual conceived, designed and produced in Paris.
It is a mesmerising way to view the world, and a beautiful addition to your coffee table furniture.
Art, Design & Interiors
Since it was founded in 2011 Kinfolk has been at the vanguard of interiors and lifestyle. With a minimalist design and stunning photographic editorials, the magazine lends a tasteful eye to art and culture, design and aesthetics, architecture and homes and interiors. P
Published quarterly and in three languages, the Portland-based magazine founded by two couples especially promotes the virtues of slow living.
It’s an exquisite example of how a magazine can be both a content-rich creation and a work of art in itself.
One of the most iconic modern magazines, Wallpaper* was launched in London in 1996 by Canadian journalist Tyler Brûlé and Austrian journalist Alexander Geringer. It is a stunning intersection of interiors, architecture and style, all presented beautifully. The writing is informed and the design is a joy to behold.
If you are in the least bit interested in the power of beautiful design and objects then Wallpaper* will be a welcome addition to your magazine curation.
Current Affairs & Literary
The New Yorker
The New Yorker magazine is intelligence distilled onto paper. Perhaps the most famous magazine in the world still in print, The New Yorker has been home to some of the greatest writers ever to have been born, encompassing fiction, journalism, humour and reviews.
It is esoteric and diverse – one week you’re reading about an orchid thief, the next it’s an essay on Madonna, all the while addressing the world’s biggest issues.
World-class fiction and funnies rub shoulders with the most up-to-date goings-on in New York. Add it to your coffee table and it’ll boost your IQ through osmosis.
As if founding Wallpaper* magazine wasn’t enough, Canadian aesthete Tyler Brulé then went on to launch the hugely successful Monocle, which has become something of an empire.
The magazine itself is a beautiful melange of travel, business, international affairs, and style, aimed at the modern guy with international aspirations. It really gets into the weeds on really eclectic international industries while also being a resourceful travel companion.
The Paris Review
The Paris Review is a quarterly literary magazine and one of the icons on this list, having first published in 1953.
Founded by Harold L. Humes, Peter Matthiessen and George Plimpton, the magazine has had an unerring knack of surfacing the world’s best writers and produced the hugely successful ‘Writers at Work’ interview series which revealed the processes of the world’s most lauded literary talents.
Eight By Eight
A football magazine produced in New York? Sorry, that should be ‘Soccer magazine’. 8by8 is indeed produced in NYC, which shows you just how rapidly football has grown in the States.
It’s a beautiful biannual devoted to the beautiful game, featuring some outstanding creative design work. It encompasses the ladies’ game too, and is full of in-depth interviews with the world’s biggest football stars.
If 8by8 is the glossy high-spec ‘soccer’ mag, then Mundial is its mad uncle, bringing to the party a leftfield and highly entertaining love of all things football.
It boasts a deliberate injection of nostalgia, perfectly articulated through excellent illustrations that complement a broad and diverse subject matter all about the beautiful game, from grassroots to the very top.
It’s published four times a year and is well worth a place on any football fan’s coffee table.