2015 Awards – Best Physical Space

Pot Kettle Black in Manchester's Barton Arcade.Next up today, the 2015 Coffee Spot Award shortlist for “Best Physical Space”, which was won last year by Pot Kettle Black. One of the most important things for me is how a Coffee Spot looks and feels. This, to me, is just as important as the coffee.

This award celebrates those Coffee Spots in which there’s a pure joy in just sitting there, soaking it all in. It’s not just about physical beauty and elegance. Instead, it’s as much about atmosphere, layout and overall feel. It’s another Award where I could have made two or three different shortlists, all with worthy winners. However, I have managed to whittle it down to just a single list for this year’s Award.

You can see the shortlist after the gallery.

  • Boston Tea Party, Salisbury, in the Old George Inn, which dates back to the early 1300s.
  • Brooklyn Roasting Company, Jay Street, housed in a lovely old warehouse.
  • La Columbe's spacious new headquarters in Fishtown, Philadelphia.
  • Small Batch, Norfolk Square, putting an old bank to great use.
  • Look Mum No Hands! Mare Street, a wonderfully large space, sadly now closed.
  • Marmadukes Cafe Deli, spread across multiple rooms in a wonderful old house in Sheffield.
  • Yorks Espresso Bar, at the end of the Great Western Arcade in Birmingham.
  • Wild & Wood, London Wall, as lovely in its new home as it was in its old one.
  • Avenue Coffee, Great Western Road, bright, spacious and decked out in stone and wood.
  • Grindsmith, Deansgate, an amazing couple of spaces under huge brick arches.
  • Ancoats Coffee Co, Royal Mills, another glorious space in Manchester, this time in an old mill.
  • Notes, Crossrail Place, possibly my favourite setting of all the Notes.
Boston Tea Party, Salisbury, in the Old George Inn, which dates back to the early 1300s.1 Brooklyn Roasting Company, Jay Street, housed in a lovely old warehouse.2 La Columbe's spacious new headquarters in Fishtown, Philadelphia.3 Small Batch, Norfolk Square, putting an old bank to great use.4 Look Mum No Hands! Mare Street, a wonderfully large space, sadly now closed.5 Marmadukes Cafe Deli, spread across multiple rooms in a wonderful old house in Sheffield.6 Yorks Espresso Bar, at the end of the Great Western Arcade in Birmingham.7 Wild & Wood, London Wall, as lovely in its new home as it was in its old one.8 Avenue Coffee, Great Western Road, bright, spacious and decked out in stone and wood.9 Grindsmith, Deansgate, an amazing couple of spaces under huge brick arches.10 Ancoats Coffee Co, Royal Mills, another glorious space in Manchester, this time in an old mill.11 Notes, Crossrail Place, possibly my favourite setting of all the Notes.12
Photo Carousel by WOWSlider.com v4.6

There are 12 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.

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, Salisbury

The Salisbury Boston Tea Party is, I believe, the largest branch and occupies the oldest building, the Grade 1 listed Old George Inn, which dates back to the early 1300s. Sprawling over three floors of this magnificent, historic building, it boasts over 200 seats upstairs alone, plus an attractive outdoor seating area on the pedestrianised High Street. My favourite spot is the main upstairs room.

A double espresso shot from the Brooklyn Roasting Company, freshly pulled, in a thermally-insulated shot glass. The fully developed crema will soon dissipate.Brooklyn Roasting Company, Jay Street

Occupying the ground floor of a sprawling five-storey building, the Brooklyn Roasting Company is an amazing spot. Some coffee shops go to great lengths to achieve that stripped-back, industrial look; the Brooklyn Roasting Company simply moved into a 19th century stables down by the East River and, voila, there you have it. Consisting of multiple spaces and with two coffee bars (the smaller one is my favourite) there’s something here for everyone.

A cup of filter coffee from La Colombe's new cafe in Fishtown, Philadelphia, served in one of La Colombe's distinctive cups.La Colombe, Fishtown

La Colombe’s flagship new store in the Philadelphia neighbourhood of Fishtown is in an old warehouse. It’s a large, rambling, high-ceilinged space with multiple seating options and a rum distillery at the back. And why not? All the food is cooked in an open-plan kitchen behind the counter. The breakfast I had was outstanding, earning La Columbe a spot on the shortlist for the Best Breakfast Award.

The Small Batch Logo: two gentlemen on a tandem, one holding a coffee pot, the other a mug. Above is written "DRINK SMALL BATCH COFFEE" and below "It's good for what ails you".Small Batch, Norfolk Square

This might be the most beautiful of all the branches of Small Batch in Brighton & Hove. Located in an old bank branch, it is an elegant, bright, high-ceilinged space, enhanced by an island counter that subtly dominates the room. There’s a range of seating, including at the counter itself, where you can watch the espresso machine in action or marvel at the brew bar on the opposite side. The lighting earned Small Batch a spot on the shortlist for Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting Award.

A flat white, with lovely latte art, in a classic white bowl cup, with the Look Mum No Hands! logo on the frontLook Mum No Hands! Mare Street

Bigger than even the original Look Mum No Hands! on London’s Old Street, the Mare Street branch sadly had to close earlier this year when the landlord hiked the rent. Sad though, because it was an amazing space, and it will be missed.

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

Marmadukes is tucked away on a lovely, quiet Sheffield street that makes sitting out in the sun almost compulsory and earned it a spot on the Best Outdoor Seating Award shortlist. However, to do so would miss out on an even lovelier interior, spread across all three floors of a rambling, old house, each of the five distinct spaces offering something unique. Marmadukes is also on the Best Breakfast and Happiest Staff Awards shortlists.

The front of Yorks Espresso Bar, at the northern end of Birmingham's Great Western Arcade. The door is on the left, and the window-bar is clearly visible through the window to its right.Yorks Espresso Bar

Regular readers know my love of Coffee Spots in Victorian Arcades, so it’ll be no surprise that I fell in love with Yorks Espresso Bar the moment I saw it. Occupying a corner spot at the Colmore Row end of Birmingham‘s Great Western Arcade, it’s an amazing location, spread over a compact, elegant ground-floor and a stripped-back, cosy mezzanine. Yorks Espresso Bar was also shortlisted for Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting Award.

A lovely, creamy piccolo in a classic espresso cup, seen from above on an over-sized floral saucer.Wild & Wood, London Wall

For seven years, Wild & Wood went about its business in a small shop on New Oxford Street. Then, earlier this year, the building was cleared for redevelopment and Wild & Wood was left homeless. Fortunately, Wild & Wood reappeared on London Wall, the owners pretty much transplanting Wild & Wood, keeping the same atmosphere and attitude that made the original so popular. Also shortlisted for the Best Cake Award.

Avenue Coffee on the corner of Glasgow's Great Western Avenue and Barrington Drive.Avenue Coffee, Great Western Road

Glasgow‘s Avenue Coffee sits on the corner of Barrington Drive, a lovely, sunlit spot, decked out in wood, brick and bare stone and with tall windows on both sides. There’s also a mezzanine level which houses Avenue Coffee’s roaster, which earned it a spot on the Best Roaster/Retailer shortlist. Avenue Coffee was also shortlisted for the Best Filter Coffee Award.

A diamond light-bulb hanging over the counter in Grindsmith, Deansgate.Grindsmith, Deansgate

The first of two Manchester Coffee Spots on this year’s shortlist, Grindsmith’s new branch occupies a pair of huge brick archways, as deep as they are tall and only slightly wider. Part of the Great Northern Warehouse, a fantastic example of brick-built Victorian architecture, it shares the space with the building’s main tenants, Central Working and Rise. Grindsmith was also shortlisted for Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting Award.

The words "Now Open! (just...)" written in blue pen on the window of Ancoats, Royal Mills.Ancoats Coffee Co, Royal Mills

The second Manchester Coffee Spots on the shortlist, Ancoats has recently taken over a ground floor spot in Royal Mills, a office/residential development in an old mill complex. Also shortlisted for the  Best Roaster/Retailer and Most Popular Coffee Spot Awards.

A lovely flat white in a classic white cup, complete with impressive latte-art at Notes at Crossrail Place.Notes, Crossrail Place, Canary Wharf

Any of the new branches of Notes could have made this shortlist, but the Crossrail Place branch is my favourite. There’s something about the layout, a bit like a croissant, the appeals to me. Notes was also shortlisted for Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting Award.


A special mention also needs to go to the following, all of whom could have made the shortlist:

Forum Coffee House
Grindsmith
Finca
Society Café Kingsmead Square
Society Café, The Corridor
Café Zee
Pavement Coffeehouse, Gainsborough
Notes, King’s Cross
Quarter Horse Coffee, Birmingham
200 Degrees Coffee Shop
Tamper Coffee, Sellers Wheel
Amid Giants & Idols
Café 1901
Saint Espresso
Artisan Roast, Stockbridge
Farm Girl Café
Boston Tea Party, Ringwood
Intelligentsia, High Line Hotel

And the winner is Marmadukes Café Deli
Runners-up: Ancoats Coffee Co, Royal Mills and Wild & Wood, London Wall

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


If you liked this post, please let me know by clicking the “Like” button. If you have a WordPress account and you don’t mind everyone knowing that you liked this post, you can use the “Like this” button right at the bottom instead.


Don ‘t forget that you can share this post with your friends using the buttons below.

6 thoughts on “2015 Awards – Best Physical Space

  1. Pingback: 2015 Awards – Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting | Brian's Coffee Spot

  2. Pingback: Coffee Spot Awards 2015 | Brian's Coffee Spot

  3. Pingback: 2015 Awards – Best Filter Coffee | Brian's Coffee Spot

  4. Pingback: 2015 Awards – Best Breakfast | Brian's Coffee Spot

  5. Pingback: 2015 Awards – Best Outdoor Seating | Brian's Coffee Spot

  6. Pingback: Marmadukes Café Deli | Brian's Coffee Spot

Please let me know what you think. Guidelines for comments are in the "Posts" drop-down menu.