2014 Awards – Best Basement

An espresso, made by my Rancilio Silvia espresso machine, in a classic white cup and saucer from Acme & Co., New Zealand, distributed in the UK by Caravan Roastery.Our third shortlist in the 2014 Coffee Spot Awards is the first new award this year, the “Coffee Spot with the Best Basement” Award. As regular readers will know, I have a soft spot for Coffee Spots with good basements and it’s about time I got around to recognising this with an award.

To some, a basement is a dark, sometimes dingy, cramped space. However, when they are at their best, basements are cosy, welcoming spaces that provide the perfect spot to curl up with your coffee. This award celebrates those Coffee Spots with outstanding basements, the sort of places you want to go and spend all day in!

You can see the shortlist after the gallery.

  • The split-level Boston Tea Party on Bristol's Whiteladies Road: an upstairs & a basement!
  • The cosy basement in the Fleet Street Press, appropriately enough on Fleet Street.
  • The wondeful Mrs Atha's in the heart of Leeds.
  • And talking of Leeds, I had this lovely toast in the basement of Laynes Espresso.
  • Cult Espresso, technically not a basement, but basement-like.
  • Artigiano Espresso St Paul's, another cosy basement, this time in the heart of London.
  • Foxcroft & Ginger, for me the quintisential basement, so I'm including it even if it's from 2013!
  • Another from 2013 (just), the lovely Brickwood Coffee and Bread.
The split-level Boston Tea Party on Bristol's Whiteladies Road: an upstairs & a basement!1 The cosy basement in the Fleet Street Press, appropriately enough on Fleet Street.2 The wondeful Mrs Atha's in the heart of Leeds.3 And talking of Leeds, I had this lovely toast in the basement of Laynes Espresso.4 Cult Espresso, technically not a basement, but basement-like.5 Artigiano Espresso St Paul's, another cosy basement, this time in the heart of London.6 Foxcroft & Ginger, for me the quintisential basement, so I'm including it even if it's from 2013!7 Another from 2013 (just), the lovely Brickwood Coffee and Bread.8
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There are eight Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.

The exterior of Boston Tea Party branch on Whiteladies Road in Bristol Boston Tea Party, Whiteladies Road

Boston Tea Party on Bristol‘s Whiteladies Road, joins a growing list of iconic spaces that the Tea Party has turned into outstanding coffee shops. However, it’s the only one I know with a basement, and what a lovely basement it is! Also nominated for the Best Breakfast Award.

_Panorama Downstairs ThumbnailThe Fleet Street Press

The Fleet Street Press fills a fairly awkward, long, thin space at the start of Fleet Street. 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.

The Mrs Atha's Logo: the words "Mrs Atha's" in gold capitals, with the words "Coffee & Tea" written beneath, all above the word "Leeds" written in script.

Mrs Atha’s

Mrs Atha’s is perhaps one of the most complete coffee shops I’ve been to in ages. With a lovely interior, cosy little basement and small outside seating area, there’s plenty of seating options. The coffee, food and cake also excel! Also nominated for the Best Breakfast Award.

A flat white and two slices of sour dough toast for breakfast at Laynes Espresso. Plus jam in a glass!

Laynes Espresso, New Station Street

What is it with Leeds and basements? Although on a different scale to Mrs Atha’s, the basement at Laynes is even cosier, just a short corridor and a simple room at the end, it’s a welcome escape from the bustle of the upstairs. Also nominated for the Best Coffee Spot Near a Railway Station Award.

Thumbnail - Cult Espresso (DSC_6406)

Cult Espresso

Technically, Cult Espresso doesn’t have a basement (it’s actually a very long corridor with a room at the back), but it feels enough like a basement for me to include it here. Serving some superb coffee from coffee from Bath’s Round Hill Roastery, Cult Espresso has lots of seating options, including a cracking sofa right next to the counter in the most basement-like part of the shop. Also nominated for the Best Espresso Award.

The Artigiano Espresso Logo, a capital A in gold on a slate-grey circle, with the words "Eat & Drink * Work & Play * Coffee & Food * Wine & Beer" written around the edge.

Artigiano Espresso, St Paul’s

Although Artigiano Espresso has a lovely upstairs, with a cracking view of St Paul’s Cathedral, I’m drawn to the basement, especially in the winter. It’s snug and cosy, but quite long, with high ceilings and a massive mirror which help to make it feel much more spacious than it actually is. There are a couple of great little nooks at the back where you can hide out if you like. Also nominated for the Best Outdoor Seating Award.

DSC_0199Foxcroft & Ginger

Okay, now I am cheating, since Foxcroft & Ginger is from 2013 and so is strictly ineligible for the 2014 Awards. However, this award wasn’t around last year and  Foxcroft & Ginger has my favourite basement of all time.

The Brickwood Coffee & Bread sign from the front of the shop on Clapham Common

Brickwood Coffee and Bread

I’m cheating again, but Brickwood was almost published in 2014 (it was, in fact, the final Coffee Spot I published in 2013). It also has a lovely basement…


A special mention also needs to go to Number 35 Coffee House & Kitchen in Dorchester. Like Cult Espresso it’s technically not a basement, but the back room really feels like one.

And the winner is The Fleet Street Press
Runners-up: Artigiano Espresso, St Paul’s and Foxcroft & Ginger

Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2014.


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