2015 Awards – Best Outdoor Seating

A stumpy (a sort of mini flat white), in a glass, sitting in the sun in the courtyard of Somerset House at Fernandez and WellsWe kick off the third day of the 2015 Coffee Spot Awards with the shortlist for the “Coffee Spot with the Best Outdoor Seating” Award, celebrating all those wonderful Coffee Spots with excellent outdoor seating. This was won last year by Fernandez & Wells, Somerset House.

To qualify for this award, it’s not just a case of sticking a couple of tables or chairs on the pavement outside your coffee shop. Too often, what could be a lovely spot is marred by traffic noise, or cramped conditions, or just being in the wrong place. The best outside seating is often away from the road and passing pedestrians and offers shelter from the wind, rain and/or sun (although rarely all three at once!). Fortunately, there are plenty of Coffee Spots which do exactly that and this is one award I could have filled many times over!

You can see the shortlist after the gallery.

  • Siempre Bicycle Cafe has a lovely sheltered garden at the back, with lots of bike racks.
  • The Boston Tea Party, in Honiton, is another with a sheltered garden at the back.
  • At the back of Sheffield's Aberdeen Court, Steam Yard has a secluded, sunny seating area.
  • All of Opposite Cafe's seating is 'outdoor', under the soaring roof of the Victoria Quarter.
  • Rows of tables alongside the canal at Paddington Basin? That's KuPP for you.
  • Notes, King's Cross, with tables spilling out on Pancras Square.
  • Marmadukes Cafe Deli, on a quiet street opposite the Cathedral, with lots of outdoor seating.
  • Bridport's Soulshine Cafe has a large, sheltered, sunny garden at the back.
  • Back where it all started, the Boston Tea Party on Park Street now has TWO gardens!
  • Farm Girl Cafe off Portobello Road has a wonderful, sheltered, high-walled courtyard.
  • Intelligentsia, in the lobby of New York City's High Line Hotel, has seating front and back.
  • Sheffield's The Pudding Pantry has a great outdoor seating area on a pedestrianised street.
Siempre Bicycle Cafe has a lovely sheltered garden at the back, with lots of bike racks.1 The Boston Tea Party, in Honiton, is another with a sheltered garden at the back.2 At the back of Sheffield's Aberdeen Court, Steam Yard has a secluded, sunny seating area.3 All of Opposite Cafe's seating is 'outdoor', under the soaring roof of the Victoria Quarter.4 Rows of tables alongside the canal at Paddington Basin? That's KuPP for you.5 Notes, King's Cross, with tables spilling out on Pancras Square.6 Marmadukes Cafe Deli, on a quiet street opposite the Cathedral, with lots of outdoor seating.7 Bridport's Soulshine Cafe has a large, sheltered, sunny garden at the back.8 Back where it all started, the Boston Tea Party on Park Street now has TWO gardens!9 Farm Girl Cafe off Portobello Road has a wonderful, sheltered, high-walled courtyard.10 Intelligentsia, in the lobby of New York City's High Line Hotel, has seating front and back.11 Sheffield's The Pudding Pantry has a great outdoor seating area on a pedestrianised street.12
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There are 12 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.

The Siempre Bicycle Café logo, a stylised face with a handlebar moustache, painted in black on the white brick wall at the café .Siempre Bicycle Café

Glasgow‘s Siempre Bicycle Café kicks things off with a lovely, large, sheltered garden at the back of an already enormous café. There are lots of seating options and plenty of bike racks, which one would expect for a bicycle café. Other than a skyline of tenement buildings, you could be forgiven for thinking you were in the heart of Glasgow.

The letters BTP (with the B in white, TP in blue) over the words Boston Tea Party (Boston in white, Tea Party in blue)Boston Tea Party, Honiton

Great outdoor seating is a feature of many of the Boston Tea Party’s branches. However, the Honiton branch is one of the best. Housed in Monkton House, a Grade II listed building, it puts the large back garden to good use.  Long and sheltered, it’s the perfect spot to kick back and relax in the summer.

 

"Steam YARD coffee co, stay in/take away, FOOD: PASTRIES & DOUGHNUTS"Steam Yard

Sheffield‘s Steam Yard is at the back of Aberdeen Court, just off Division Street. Aberdeen Court is a fairly small space, lined by two-storey brick-built buildings on three sides, with the back third given over to Steam Yard’s outdoor seating area, screened off from the rest of the yard with several large planters.

The Opposite Logo, from the top of the kiosk in the Victoria Quarter.Opposite Café Victoria Quarter

Technically, Opposite Café in Leed‘s Victoria Quarter, doesn’t have any outdoor seating since it’s all under the soaring stained glass roof of the Victoria Quarter. Despite this, it deserves a place on the shortlist. Perversely, Opposite has also been shortlisted for the Smallest Coffee Spot Award

The KuPP logo in red neon.KuPP

KuPP has a row of tables outside in the sun alongside the canal at Paddington Basin. In the summer, the windows are thrown back, the cafe flowing out onto the canal side. Also shortlisted for the Best Takeaway Coffee Award.

Note's slogan on the wall at King's Cross: Coffee for Early Birds, Wine for Night Owls.Notes, King’s Cross

One of the new branches of Notes, the King’s Cross branch is on Pancras Square. This is a sheltered spot out the back of King’s Cross Station and Notes makes good use of it, with tables spilling out between the café and the water feature on the far side of the square. There are more tables lining two sides of the café, providing some shelter from the elements. Also shortlisted for the Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station Award.

 

A pencil drawing of a large bear with scarf streaming behind it, as it peddles an under-sized bicycle.Marmadukes Café Deli

The second Sheffield Coffee Spot on the shortlist, Marmadukes Café Deli is on the quiet Norfolk Row which runs behind Sheffield’s Catholic Cathedral. Marmadukes makes good use of the street, with a array of tables spread out in front of the café, separated from the street by some lovely planters. Marmadukes has also been shortlisted for the Best Physical Space, Happiest Staff and Best Breakfast Awards.

The lovely, sheltered garden at the back of Bridport's Soulshine Cafe.

Soulshine Café

Bridport’s Soulshine is another Coffee Spot with a sheltered garden out back, complete with long, communal, picnic tables. Also shortlisted for the Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot and Best Cake Awards.

A latte with a fern-leaf motif in the milkBoston Tea Party, Park Street

The original Boston Tea Party, on Bristol‘s Park Street, holds a special place in Coffee Spot lore and I’m very fond of the garden out back. I returned this year to find that there are now two gardens out there! Double Coffee Spot heaven!

Thumbnail - Farm Girl Cafe (DSC_3484t)Farm Girl Café

With its sheltered courtyard just off Portobello Road, Farm Girl Café has a lovely outdoor seating area. It’s not huge, but with its high, whitewashed walls on all sides, it’s a wonderfully secluded area that’s delightfully cool in the summer, although not the best spot to catch the sun. Having sat there in November, I can also vouch for it as a great winter spot! Also shortlisted for the Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot Award.

The word "Intelligentsia" written over a pair of wings, bracketing the words "Fresh Roasted Coffee", all in white.Intelligentsia, High Line Hotel

Set in the lobby of New York City‘s High Line Hotel, Intelligentsia has not one, but two gardens, one out front on 10th Avenue and another, even better one, out back in a sheltered courtyard.  Also shortlisted for the Best Espresso Award.

Detail from the sign hanging outside Nottingham's The Pudding PantryThe Pudding Pantry

Right in the heart of Nottingham, The Pudding Pantry has a wonderful outdoor seating area on the broad, pedestrianised Trinity Square. It’s complete enclosed and best of all, The Pudding Pantry offers full table service, so you don’t even have to wander inside to order. Perhaps unsurprisingly, The Pudding Pantry has also been shortlisted for the Best Breakfast Award.


A special mention also needs to go to the following:

Boston Tea Party in Salisbury, with its generous seating area in front of the store
Society Café with its tables spilling out across Bath‘s Kingsmead Square
Rival Bros Coffee Bar in Philadelphia, with a little row of tables on the quiet street
Greenstreet Coffee Co in downtown Philadelphia, with tables on a sunny corner
Asado Coffee with its own alley, Chicago’s Pickwick Place
Milstead & Co. with a sheltered courtyard with a great view of Seattle‘s Aurora Bridge
Beany Green on Regent’s Place, an idea spot for their deckchairs
Manchester‘s Ancoats Coffee Co, technically outside seating in the Royal Mills courtyard
Lemana Coffee & Kitchen just off the High Street in Lymington
Boston Tea Party in Ringwood with another large seating area on a pedestrianised square.

And the winner is Farm Girl Café
Runners-up: Marmadukes Café Deli and Boston Tea Party, Park Street

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


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