The Fleet Street Press

The A-Board from The Fleet Street Press: a hand-written sign say "Great coffee" with an arrow pointing towards the coffee shop and another arrow, pointing the other way, labelled "Corporate coffee".My visit to The Fleet Street Press was an exercise in going from the sublime to the ridiculous, since I had just come from the soaring, glorious space that is The Wren, to the small, intimate series of spaces that make up The Fleet Street Press. Really, the two of them are like chalk and cheese, representing the two extremes of coffee shop spaces, and yet I love them both.

The Fleet Street Press fills a fairly awkward, long, thin space at the start of Fleet Street, opposite the Royal Courts of Justice. Spread over two floors, the highlight is a cosy basement, stuffed with sofas and armchairs, although upstairs, with its bright, window seats, bar opposite the counter and intimate nook at the back, is pretty decent too.

Talking of decent, The Fleet Street Press serves a bespoke seasonal house-blend (The Press Blend) on the espresso machine, roasted by Caravan, plus regular guests and a daily-changing single-origin on filter. Add to that a wide range of loose-leaf tea from London Leaf and award-winning hot chocolate from Kokoa Collection and you’re onto a winner. And I’ve not even mentioned the wide range of cakes and the friendly staff…

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • The Fleet Street Press, appropriately enough, on Fleet Street!
  • It is one of the prettiest store-fronts I have seen in a while.
  • Let's see... Yes, I can confirm all of the above were present!
  • I can also confirm that this is true.
  • Much of its prettiness comes from its fantastic window displays.
  • So pretty, I can even forgive the tea in the window.
  • Besides, as the sign says, it is a Coffee and Tea House.
  • Stepping inside, this is the view from just inside the door. It's an 'interesting' space.
  • To the right of the counter is the chiller cabinet...
  • ... and there's a small seating area in the window.
  • One of the window seats.
  • Opposite that, right next to the door, is a set of shelves with kit for sale.
  • Next to that, opposite the counter, is a bar.
  • The rest of the (upstairs) seating is at the back.
  • Another view of the two tables at the back. But what's that beside them?
  • Hmmm, that looks interesting...
  • ... Okay, now I'm sold!
  • Here we go!
  • The view from the bottom of the stairs...
  • ... and from half way along the basement.
  • The layout is just as interesting down here, with lots of little nooks and crannies.
  • Another view of the sofa to the left of the stairs.
  • It's not called Fleet Street Press for nothing: there are old newspapers all over the walls!
  • There's another little nook halfway up on the left...
  • ... and then comes this table.
  • There's another sofa to the right, under the stairs...
  • ... followed by these three tables...
  • ... and there's another bar, much like the one upstairs.
  • The view from the far end of the basement, looking back towards the stairs.
  • Time to go back upstairs.
  • I know the typewriter fits the Fleet Street theme, but more coffee shops should have one!
  • The single-origin espresso (left) and the house-blend (right). There's also decaf.
  • Shiny!
  • Nice cups...
  • ... nice tea pots too!
  • The very comprehensive drinks menu.
  • Today's beans: the 'Press Blend' by Caravan and the filter by Hope & Glory.
  • You can buy the beans to take home with you.
  • You know, I think The Fleet Street Press might do tea... And cake...
  • Quite a lot of cake in fact...
  • An awful lot...
  • Did I mention there was cake?
  • I'd had a bit of an overcaffeineated day, so this caught my eye...
  • This to be precise.
  • My lovely hot chocolate.
  • I had to have some coffee though, so took a decaf flat white with me in Keep Cup.
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The Fleet Street Press is a lovely spot, set slightly back from the street, with the windows at a gentle angle, leading you towards the recessed door. This is well to the left of the store front, leaving an awkward-shaped space to its left which The Fleet Street Press cleverly uses for one of the best window displays I’ve seen. To its right, the recessed door creates the first of many intimate spaces, a little seating area with two round tables that is tucked between the window and the counter.

The counter itself dominates the upstairs, cakes to the fore, taking up roughly 50% of the right-ahdn side of the store. Against the right-hand wall, between the counter and seating area, a large chiller cabinet holds soft drinks and sandwiches (sadly depleted by the time I got there, late in the day). To the left, almost behind the door as it opens, is a set of shelves packed with coffee- and tea-making equipment for sale, while beyond that is a bar on the wall opposite the counter.

It’s after this point where things get really interesting. To call The Fleet Street Press cramped would be unfair, but space is definitely at a premium. The store, which was long and thin to begin with, narrows after the counter. On the left, stairs lead down, while on the right, beyond the counter and hemmed in by the stairs, is another cosy little seating area with two round tables, each with two chairs. In all you might get 15 people in the upstairs part of the store.

However, the best is yet to come. Head downstairs, and you’ll find even more seating in a wonderfully cosy basement that runs the length of the store. This is packed full of sofas, armchairs and more round tables, plus another bar right at the back on the right-hand side. The seating is laid out on either side of a central aisle, with a couple of intimate nooks on the left-hand side. You could probably cram about 30 people in here, although it would be very cosy indeed!

There’s a wonderful tiled floor downstairs and the walls and ceiling are painted white, making it feel quite bright. Upstairs is also surprisingly bright, despite the narrow, somewhat awkward layout. The all glass front sees to that, helped by a frosted window above the stairs which stops the seating area at the back from getting gloomy. White tiles, white walls and a white ceiling also play their part.

Back in Issue 8 of Caffeine Magazine, there was a feature on hot chocolate, with one of the example recipes was from The Fleet Street Press. I’d always promised myself (and Paul, from hot chocolate suppliers, Kokoa Collection) that I would try it one day. Since I’d had something of an over-caffeinated day at The Wren, this seemed like the perfect opportunity and I wasn’t disappointed.

My hot chocolate was lovely and smooth and, crucially, not too sweet, which can sometimes be a problem. I was well looked after by the barista, Viktoria, and her colleague, who tried to ply me with cold brew. I resisted, but had to have something from the coffee line, so compromised with a very fine takeaway decaf flat white in Keep Cup.

3 FLEET STREET • LONDON • EC4Y 1AU
www.presscoffee.london +44 (0) 20 7583 7757
Monday 06:30 – 19:00 Roaster Caravan + Guest (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 06:30 – 19:00 Seating Tables, Sofas, Armchairs, Bar, Benches (outside)
Wednesday 06:30 – 19:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Sandwiches, Cake
Thursday 06:30 – 19:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 06:30 – 19:00 Cards Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 09:00 – 17:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 09:00 – 17:00 Power Yes
Chain Local Visits 23rd June 2014

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8 thoughts on “The Fleet Street Press

  1. I had a typewriter for christmas when I was nine. Best present yet 🙂
    How did you resist that cake? I was taking 3 away with me. Not that I’d leave. I want to live there as their official mascot /basement monster thing.
    Please?

    • I only left because they were closing… Resisting the cake was hard work, but I’d already had cake at The Wren and I’d had a hot chocolate.

      I’m sure you’d make an excellent addition to the basement! 🙂

      Brian.

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