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.
There are 12 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.
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.
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.
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!
Talking of multiple basements, the queen of multiple basements is the amazing Daisy Green which even has an outside basement!
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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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