2015 Awards – Coffee Spot with the Best Basement

The cosy basement in Fleet Street Press, stretching out for the length of the shop above.Our third shortlist in the 2015 Coffee Spot Awards is the “Coffee Spot with the Best Basement” Award. As regular readers will know, I have a soft spot for Coffee Spots with good basements, so last year I introduced the “Best Basement” Award which was won by The Fleet Street Press.

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.

  • It was a bumper year for basements, starting with Paris' Telescope.
  • I popped back to update Foxcroft & Ginger in Soho, still setting the bar for basements.
  • Meanwhile, in Bath, Society Cafe on Kingsmead Square has multiple basements...
  • ... as does Daisy Green in the West End of London!
  • Meanwhile, Filter Coffeehouse at Dupont Circle, Washington DC, is a basement!
  • Back in London, and the Curators Coffee Gallery has a lovely, light-filled downstairs.
  • Meanwhile, Soho Grind has a cocktail bar in its basement!
  • Out in Ealing, the sumptuous Cafe Zee has an equally sumptuous basement.
  • In Camden, Leyas has a basement significantly bigger than the rest of the coffee shop!
  • Another update, another Coffee Spot that is a basement. It's Newcastle's Flat Caps Coffee.
  • Full Court Press didn't have a basement when I first visited, but it does now!
  • Finally, Nottingham's Wired Cafe Bar has a lovely, cosy downstairs.
It was a bumper year for basements, starting with Paris' Telescope.1 I popped back to update Foxcroft & Ginger in Soho, still setting the bar for basements.2 Meanwhile, in Bath, Society Cafe on Kingsmead Square has multiple basements...3 ... as does Daisy Green in the West End of London!4 Meanwhile, Filter Coffeehouse at Dupont Circle, Washington DC, is a basement!5 Back in London, and the Curators Coffee Gallery has a lovely, light-filled downstairs.6 Meanwhile, Soho Grind has a cocktail bar in its basement!7 Out in Ealing, the sumptuous Cafe Zee has an equally sumptuous basement.8 In Camden, Leyas has a basement significantly bigger than the rest of the coffee shop!9 Another update, another Coffee Spot that is a basement. It's Newcastle's Flat Caps Coffee.10 Full Court Press didn't have a basement when I first visited, but it does now!11 Finally, Nottingham's Wired Cafe Bar has a lovely, cosy downstairs.12
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There are 12 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.

A carved owl in the corner between counter and door at Télescope in Paris.

Télescope

2015 was a bumper year for basements, with 12 outstanding candidates. We’ll start in Paris, with Télescope, which has a delightful, vaulted basement-cum-cellar which isn’t in regular use, but which can be used for training and special events. If you get the chance, take a wander down the stairs and have a look. Télescope has also been shortlisted for the Best Overseas Coffee Spot Award and could have made the shortlist for many more.

The letters "F & G" enclosed in a heart with an arrow through it, painted on the door, with Foxcroft & Ginger written underneath

Foxcroft & Ginger

I first visited Foxcroft & Ginger in 2013 and instantly fell in love with it. However, back then there was no “Best Basement” Award, which was a shame since it would have easily won. It’s basement still sets the standards by which I measure all others. I popped back in 2015 to do an update since a lot had changed, including an evening food service in the basement.

The Society Café sign, hanging outside in Kingsmead Square. It shows a lady in silhouette, about to drink from a cup of coffee.

Society Café Kingsmead Square

Bath‘s Society Café has multiple basements. Well, technically it’s probably one basement with multiple spaces. However, for basement lovers, it’s heaven, with lots of different options: tables, sofas, cosy corners. You really are spoilt for choice!

 

 

The letters DAISY, illuminated with light bulbs, with the DIY in green and the AS in red

Daisy Green

Talking of multiple basements, the queen of multiple basements is the amazing Daisy Green which even has an outside basement!

A vintage, brass coffee pot from Filter Coffeehouse and Espresso Bar, Dupont Circle

Filter Coffeehouse & Espresso Bar, Dupont Circle

Washington DC‘s original Filter Coffeehouse and Espresso Bar near Dupont Circle is actually a coffee shop in a basement rather than a coffee shop with a basement. Down a short flight of steps, it’s a lovely spot, long, thin and cosy. The coffee’s pretty good too with lots of options on filter (unsurprisingly). Filter Coffeehouse and Espresso Bar has also been shortlisted for the Best Overseas Coffee Spot Award.

The Curators Coffee sign.

Curators Coffee Gallery

One of my favourite Coffee Spots in Fitzrovia, Curators Coffee Gallery would be lovely even without its basement. This sits at the front of the store, with natural light from the street, making it spacious and bright. In an area full of fairly small coffee shops, Curators makes a nice change. Curator’s has also been shortlisted for the 2015 Best Filter Coffee Award.

The Soho Grind logo from the back wall of Soho Grind: the word Soho written in black script over GRIND in red capitals.

Soho Grind

The basement at Soho Grind doubles up as a cocktail bar in the evenings. Decked out in wood, with low lighting (complete with candles), it’s a wonderful, atmospheric setting. Also shortlisted for the Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting Award.

The front of Cafe Zee on Ealing's New Broadway. The roaster can be seen at the back through the door.

Café Zee

The sumptuously-appointed, Art Deco inspired Café Zee in Ealing roasts all its own coffee and has an excellent cake selection. Best of all, it has a basement which is just as sumptuously-appointed as the upstairs and twice as cosy. Packed with sofas, it’s the ideal spot for a winter’s afternoon. Café Zee has also made it onto the shortlist for the Best Cake Award.

A chalkboard inside Leyas on Camden High Street, offering coffee, breakfast, lunch and cakes.

Leyas

Leyas, in Camden Town, is unusual in that the basement is actually significantly larger than the rest of the coffee shop. It helps that it’s lovely down there, with some gorgeous sofas and armchairs. The walls are bare plaster, with bare bricks underneath and the basement doubles as an art gallery, with rotating displays. Also shortlisted for the Best Espresso and Best Cake Awards.

An espresso in a classic white cup, plus a glass of water, on an oval wooden platter, separated by a tea spoon.

Flat Caps Coffee

Newcastle‘s Flat Caps Coffee is one of my all-time favourites which I first visited in 2013. Another coffee shop in a basement, it’s a lovely, quiet spot with some cracking coffee. Also shortlisted for the Best Espresso Award.

A cup of filter coffee from in a classic white cup, seen from above at Full Court Press.

Full Court Press

When I first visited Full Court Press in Bristol in 2013, I ventured down to the basement, commenting to the owner, Mat, that it would make a lovely seating area. “I know,” he said with a smile and when I returned this year, there it was, all kitted out and as lovely as I thought it would be… Full Court Press has also been shortlisted for this year’s Best Filter Coffee Award.

The Wired Cafe Bar logo from the sign hanging outside on Pelham Street.

Wired Café Bar

Nottingham‘s Wired Café Bar on Pelham Street is definitely bringing the hipster coffee-fringe to the East Midlands. It also has a lovely basement, complete with sofas and a communal table that was full of laptop users while I was there. Pretty much the perfect place to curl up with your coffee on a winter’s afternoon.

 


And the winner is Daisy Green
Runners-up: Leyas and Foxcroft & Ginger

Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2015.


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12 thoughts on “2015 Awards – Coffee Spot with the Best Basement

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