Shrewsbury Coffeehouse

An exceptional Has Bean espresso in a classic white cup from the Shrewsbury Coffee HouseClose enough to Shrewsbury Station to be worth running out for a quick visit when changing trains, the Shrewsbury Coffeehouse is a delightful place. In fact, it’s so delightful, it’s worth making sure you have about an hour between trains so you can pay it a proper visit!

Many things mark the Shrewsbury Coffeehouse as something special, starting with the friendly, welcoming staff who add so much to the atmosphere. Then there’s the space itself, bright and airy, with lots of seating options and a cosy basement for those winter days when you just want to spend all snuggling up with a cup of coffee.

Which brings me to the main point of a coffeehouse, the coffee. The Shrewsbury Coffeehouse serves Has Bean. Oh well, I thought to myself, can’t have everything. Except… I really liked the Shrewsbury Coffeehouse’s house blend. That was two Has Bean espressos I liked in the space of a week! What’s the world coming to? As well as the house blend, the Shrewsbury Coffeehouse does single origin Sundays, showcasing Has Bean’s extensive range.

After all that, I had to have a slice of cake to calm me down. And excellent cake it was too!

January 2016: the talented Cherie Jerrard is displaying some of her excellent cafe illustrations at the Shrewsbury Coffeehouse until the end of February. Pop along and have a look if you can, or take a look at my pictures at the end of the gallery. You can also read a little piece that Cherie wrote about the exhibition and see what I made of it in the Saturday Supplement.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • The Shrewsbury Coffeehouse on Castle Gates.
  • Two doors down is the Shrewsbury Bakehouse, source of many of the Coffeehouse's goodies.
  • Shrewsbury Station, as seen from the front window of the Shrewsbury Coffeehouse.
  • It's such a handsome structure, it's worth a picture of its own!
  • Stepping inside, what a beautiful place!
  • The view from the door, Part II.
  • One of the tables by the window.
  • The bar on the other side of the door.
  • One of the tables opposite the counter.
  • There's a lovely sofa in the corner.
  • Hmmm... Looks interesting!
  • What a cosy basement!
  • Another view of the basement, this time taken from my visit in February 2016.
  • One of the round tables down in the basement.
  • I liked the dresser in the corner.
  • The centrepiece of the basement: three sofas and a coffee table.
  • I really liked the mirrors in the corner. They weren't there when I first visited in 2013.
  • Time to go back upstairs...
  • The view from my seat.
  • I liked the artwork on the walls. And the coat hooks, even if they are slightly impractical!
  • I'm a sucker for interesting light fittings...
  • ... and the Shrewsbury Coffeehouse has loads of them.
  • See what I mean?
  • Happy staff make for a happy coffeehouse. Despite being busy, these were very happy staff!
  • Cakes, sandwiches, pastries...
  • Hmmm.... Yummy!
  • A nice touch.
  • The coffee menu. There's also loose tea if that's more your thing.
  • The espresso machine.
  • So, down to business: a very fine flat white.
  • The lovely, spicy, onion bhaji wrap.
  • The Bourbon Butterscotch cake.
  • And my espresso, which came with a glass of water, always a good sign.
  • It was so good, it's worth taking another look on its own.
  • The Shrewsbury Coffeehouse house-blend, Acidity Squirrel, my favourite ever Has Bean!
  • The Shrewsbury Coffeehouse has always had interesting artwork on its walls. I returned in February 2016 to see an exhibition of cafe sketches by my friend, the talented Cherie Gerrard.
  • The view from just inside the door, with Cherie's artwork hanging on the walls upstairs.
  • Another view, looking across from the counter. In all, Cherie has ten works hanging upstairs.
  • From left to right, we start with Manchester's Foundation Coffee House on the back wall.
  • The middle one of these five is of the Shrewsbury Coffeehouse itsef.
  • Meanwhile, there's another of the Foundation Coffee House on the far right...
  • ... while the one in the middle here is of the Brooklyn Roasting Company on Jay Street.
  • There's more downstairs, by the way. These five occupy the left-hand and back walls.
  • Here's a second of the Shrewsbury Coffeehouse in pride of place at the bottom of the stairs,
  • In addition to those five, there are two more. This one hangs above an armchair in a nook...
  • ...and is of London's Fernandez & Wells in Somerset House.
  • Meanwhile another of the Brooklyn Roasting Company is tucked away by the stairs.
  • And, of course, you can't have art without coffee, so a flat white or two were consumed!
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You can actually see the Shrewsbury Coffeehouse from the front of Shrewsbury Station. Quite how I’d managed not to visit it before now, I’m not quite sure since I go through Shrewsbury Station three or four times a year. Ironically, I came by car for this visit…

The Coffeehouse is a beautiful space. The (almost) floor-to-ceiling windows let in plenty of natural light, which, combined with the high ceiling, give it a bright, airy feel. It’s slightly wedge-shaped, narrowing towards the back. There are tables in the window to the right of the door and a bar against the window to the left. Immediately next to that, stairs lead down to the basement, while beyond them, on the left-hand side, is the counter, cakes to the fore, espresso machine at the back. The bulk of the seating is opposite the counter, with two rows of tables, one running down the middle of the room and the other up against a padded bench on the right-hand wall. A very comfortable-looking sofa occupies the far corner.

Downstairs there’s another bar on the left as you come down the stairs. More small, round tables run around the edge of the room, surrounding a centrepiece of three sofas and a coffee table right in the middle. Although there’s lots of seating both upstairs and down, it doesn’t feel crammed in. While it was busy, I never felt like someone was looking over my shoulder and there are plenty of nooks and crannies where you can squirrel yourself away if that’s your desire.

The Coffeehouse has a lovely atmosphere, added to by the wonderfully friendly and welcoming staff who made me feel right at home. I’m always amazed when places don’t have friendly staff, taking it as a given, but the folks at the Shrewsbury Coffeehouse took friendliness to another level. The atmosphere was rounded off by occasional (very quiet) music.

So, to the coffee. The Shrewsbury Coffeehouse uses Has Bean, so I went for a flat white, which was excellent. There was good body to the milk, and the coffee came through strongly. However, it had quite a bitter after-taste, something I didn’t expect from a Has Bean.

It was lunchtime, so I skipped cake and had an onion bhaji wrap, because it’s not something you see every day. It came lightly toasted with a very fine side-salad, complete with an interesting dressing. The bhaji itself was quite spicy which livened things up (in a good way).

While I ate it, the cakes on the counter kept looking at me in the way that cakes do. Eventually I cracked and had a slice of the Bourbon butterscotch cake (having narrowed the selection down from my original “all of them”). Momentarily forgetting that this was a Has Bean outpost, I rashly ordered an espresso, which, to my surprise, I really, really liked!

It was short, the perfect temperature, with just a hint of acidity in the second mouthful, easily the best Has Bean I’ve had! I talked to the staff and was told that the espresso blend was exclusive to the Shrewsbury Coffeehouse, but would be changing in the near future. This new blend was, according to the barista, “even better”! I’ve already pencilled in my return!

5 CASTLE GATES • SHREWSBURY • SY1 2AE
http://shrewsburycoffeehouse.co.uk +44 (0) 1743 242 610
Monday 07:30 – 19:00 Roaster Has Bean (espresso only)
Tuesday 07:30 – 19:00 Seating Tables, Bar, Sofas (upstairs/downstairs)
Wednesday 07:30 – 19:00 Food Sandwiches, Cake
Thursday 07:30 – 19:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 07:30 – 19:00 Cards Amex, Visa, Mastercard
Saturday 08:00 – 19:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 10:00 – 16:00 Power Yes
Chain No Visits 24th September 2013, 5th February 2016

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7 thoughts on “Shrewsbury Coffeehouse

  1. What an excellent, detailed review! Would you be interested in reviewing some of our coffee when we launch? I would thoroughly enjoy your feedback as a descriptive writer and coffee enthusiast.

    Dan Settle
    Cozzee – The New Socially Conscious Way to Drink Great Coffee
    http://cozzee.org

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