2014 Awards – Railway Stations

One of the intimate nooks in Pink Lane Coffee, appropriately enough painted pink...We kick off the third day of the 2014 Coffee Spot Awards with the shortlist for the “Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station”. This was won in 2013 by Pink Lane Coffee and rewards those Coffee Spots serving great coffee to desperate travellers on Britain’s rail network.

When you’re desperate for good coffee, railway stations are rarely the best places to be. But what if there was a great Coffee Spot just outside the station (or even in the concourse!) or a few minutes’ walk away and you didn’t know about it? Then this award is for you…

2014 was a bumper year for Coffee Spots near or in stations by the way: it’s an Award I could have made two shortlists for this year!

You can see the shortlist after the gallery.

  • Coffee Affair, a coffee laboratory  in the old booking office of Queenstown Station.
  • Birdhouse, just down the road from Clapham Junction and worth popping out for.
  • Brewsmiths Coffee and Tea, under Birmingham's Snow Hill Station.
  • Riverhill Coffee, just around the corner from Glasgow's Central Station.
  • Laboratorio Espresso, a good Glasgow alternative if you're heading for Queen Street Station.
  • Faculty, in Birmingham's Piccadilly Arcade, is a stone's throw from New Street Station.
  • Drink Shop Dash, tucked away around the corner from King's Cross Station.
  • Piccadilly Grind, sadly now closed, but for a while gracing Piccadilly Circus Tube concourse.
  • Bica Coffee House, very much a fixture at Westbourne Park tube station.
  • Laynes Espresso, on Leeds' New Station Street, a clue as to how close to the station it is!
Coffee Affair, a coffee laboratory  in the old booking office of Queenstown Station.1 Birdhouse, just down the road from Clapham Junction and worth popping out for.2 Brewsmiths Coffee and Tea, under Birmingham's Snow Hill Station.3 Riverhill Coffee, just around the corner from Glasgow's Central Station.4 Laboratorio Espresso, a good Glasgow alternative if you're heading for Queen Street Station.5 Faculty, in Birmingham's Piccadilly Arcade, is a stone's throw from New Street Station.6 Drink Shop Dash, tucked away around the corner from King's Cross Station.7 Piccadilly Grind, sadly now closed, but for a while gracing Piccadilly Circus Tube concourse.8 Bica Coffee House, very much a fixture at Westbourne Park tube station.9 Laynes Espresso, on Leeds' New Station Street, a clue as to how close to the station it is!10
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There are ten Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.

Making a V60 pour-over at Coffee Affair, Queenstown Road Station.

Coffee Affair

I got told off in last year’s awards for not mentioning Coffee Affair, which is in the old booking office of Queenstown Road Station (on the line out of Waterloo, between Vauxhall and Clapham Junction). That’s because I didn’t know about it, so I made one of my priorities of 2014 to visit it! And it’s lovely. Coffee Affair is also nominated for the Smallest Coffee Spot and Most Passionate About Coffee Awards

A fine Climpson & Sons espresso in a glass from Birdhouse.

Birdhouse

A mere five-minute walk from the southern entrance of Clapham Junction station (head away from Clapham High Street and up Saint John’s Hill), Birdhouse a delightful little place, all decked out in yellow and grey and definitely worth a visit if you have any sort of wait at the station.

An espresso in a glass, steaming in the sunlight streaming through Brewsmith's window.

Brewsmiths Coffee & Tea

Tucked in under a railway arch right beneath Birmingham’s Snow Hill Station, Brewsmiths is a delight and one of many Birmingham Coffee Spots that are worth popping out of the station for. It’s also on the shortlist for Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot.

The writing in the window of the Riverhill Coffee Bar (reversed)

Riverhill Coffee Bar

Located just a stone’s throw from Glasgow’s Central Station, the terminus of the West Coast Mainline, Riverhill’s the perfect stopping off point for new arrivals. It also makes a great alternative if you’re killing time while waiting for a train, serving great food, cakes and Dear Green Coffee.

A lovely espresso in a classic red cup from Glasgow's Laboratorio Espresso

Laboratorio Espresso

Alternatively, if you’re coming into (or leaving) Glasgow by Queen Street Station, you need Laboratorio Espresso, one block west of the station. Also serving  Dear Green Coffee (a bespoke espresso blend) and regularly-rotating guests, this is a real coffee geek destination. Also on the shortlists for the Best Espresso and Smallest Coffee Spot Awards.

Some lovely latte-art in a classic, light green cup at Birmingham's Faculty

Faculty

Faculty is at the southern end of Birmingham‘s beautiful Piccadilly Arcade and is literally a few steps away from the northern entrance to New Street Station. It’s so close that it really is worth dashing out for a takeaway if you have even 20 minutes to wait for your train. However, if you can stay for a while, you’ll see why it was nominated for the Best Physical Space Award.

My piccolo at Drink, Shop & Dash. Lovely latte art by Sebastian.

Drink, Shop & Dash

Located on the Caledonian Road, just around the corner from King’s Cross Station, Drink, Shop & Dash is perfectly located if you have to wait for your train. While King’s Cross is a lot better than it was now that it’s been refurbished, there’s still no really great coffee to be had in the station, so keep Drink, Shop & Dash and its coffee (from London’s Alchemy) in mind.

The Piccadilly Grind sign painted on the back wall above the bench.

Piccadilly Grind

Now sadly closed, the Piccadilly Grind pop-up was a welcome addition to the concourse of Piccadilly Circus tube station. Piccadilly Grind is also nominated for the Best Takeaway Coffee and Smallest Coffee Spot Awards.

Bica, at Westbourne Park Station. A small serving hatch surrounding by green tiles.

Bica Coffee House

Fans of Coffee Spots in tube stations shouldn’t despair though, since Bica Coffee House is still going strong. It’s tucked away in Westbourne Park tube station on the Circle and Hammersmith & City Lines, two stops west of Paddington and serves some excellent coffee from east London roasters Nude Espresso. Best go in the morning though, since it’s closed in the afternoon! Bica has also been  nominated for the Best Takeaway Coffee and Smallest Coffee Spot Awards.

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

This is the original Laynes Espresso and it’s just around the corner from Leeds Station. It’s sufficiently close that if you have any sort of wait between trains, you can nip out for a quick coffee. If you have time, try the basement and see why it was nominated for the Coffee Spot with the Best Basement Award!


As I’ve said, I could have made two shortlists for this Award this year. Here are all the other Coffee Spots that could have made it!

Café at 36, across the road from Exeter’s St Thomas’ station
Devon Coffee, just down the street from Exeter Central
Caravan King’s Cross, a short stroll north of the station
Beany Green, Paddington, another short stroll north of the station & right by my office
Bea’s of Bloomsbury, Farringdon, across the road from the station
Tea House Theatre, the other side of Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens from Vauxhall Station
Perky Peacock, Lendal, on the way into York city centre from the station
Villiers Coffee Co, a stone’s throw from Charing Cross Station.

And the winner is Coffee Affair
Runners-up: Laboratorio Espresso and Bica Coffee House

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


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