2016 Awards – Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting

A black circle surrounding a woman in silhouette blowing on a cup of coffee. The words "Society Cafe with love from Bath" are written around the circle.We kick off the second day with shortlist for the 2016 Coffee Spot Award for “Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting”. This was won last year (the Award’s first year), by Society Café, The Corridor.

Lighting in coffee shops has long held a fascination for me, with most of the galleries containing a shot or two of an interesting light-fitting. This Award celebrates those Coffee Spots with particularly outstanding lighting.

You can see the shortlist after the gallery.

  • Birmnigham's Tilt has some great lighting both upstairs and in the basement.
  • Better known for its hot chocolate, L.A. Burdick, Harvard, also has captivating lights.
  • I was won over by the copper kettles in the Uncommon Ground Coffee Roastery in Cardiff.
  • Liverpool's Coffee & Fandisha (that's coffee & popcorn to you & me), plus amazing lights.
  • Fix 126, in the heart of Shoreditch, doesn't just do great coffee. The lighting's great too.
  • The original of the Grind chain, Shoreditch Grind sets the (lighting) standard for the rest.
  • Can you guess from the picture which light-fitting caught my eye at Kaffeine Eastcastle?
  • Asado Coffee, in Chicago's River North, which has put some old lanterns to great use.
  • Case Study Coffee Roasters' Downtown branch in Portland does more than great coffee...
  • ... as does Portland Roasting in its The Cupping Room Cafe. Check out the portafilters.
  • Liverpool's Filter + Fox, great coffee, great setting and fantastic lights.
  • The gleaming Modbar at London's Modern Society, but the chandeliers also caught my eye.
  • Artigiano Espresso, Reading, continuing the Artigiano chain's high standard of lighting.
  • The new 200 Degrees on Carrington Street in Nottingham has some great stained glass.
  • Finally, the lights in Bristol's Wainwright's Speciality Coffee kept me captivated for hours!
Birmnigham's Tilt has some great lighting both upstairs and in the basement.1 Better known for its hot chocolate, L.A. Burdick, Harvard, also has captivating lights.2 I was won over by the copper kettles in the Uncommon Ground Coffee Roastery in Cardiff.3 Liverpool's Coffee & Fandisha (that's coffee & popcorn to you & me), plus amazing lights.4 Fix 126, in the heart of Shoreditch, doesn't just do great coffee. The lighting's great too.5 The original of the Grind chain, Shoreditch Grind sets the (lighting) standard for the rest.6 Can you guess from the picture which light-fitting caught my eye at Kaffeine Eastcastle?7 Asado Coffee, in Chicago's River North, which has put some old lanterns to great use.8 Case Study Coffee Roasters' Downtown branch in Portland does more than great coffee...9 ... as does Portland Roasting in its The Cupping Room Cafe. Check out the portafilters.10 Liverpool's Filter + Fox, great coffee, great setting and fantastic lights.11 The gleaming Modbar at London's Modern Society, but the chandeliers also caught my eye.12 Artigiano Espresso, Reading, continuing the Artigiano chain's high standard of lighting.13 The new 200 Degrees on Carrington Street in Nottingham has some great stained glass.14 Finally, the lights in Bristol's Wainwright's Speciality Coffee kept me captivated for hours!15
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There are 15 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.

The Tilt A-board, proudly displaying Tilt's credentials: craft beer, speciality coffee, loose-leaf tea and pinball. Naturally.Tilt

Tilt opened its doors on Birmingham’s City Arcade in November last year, making it, as far as I know, just the UK’s second speciality coffee and pinball joint. Mind you, Tilt’s not just coffee-and-pinball. It’s coffee-craft-beer-and-pinball. And wine. And spirits. And loose-leaf tea. Plus there’s a cracking basement which got Tilt on the shortlist for the Best Basement Award. However, we haven’t yet mentioned the awesome lighting. Oh, and that Tilt’s also on the Best Espresso Award shortlist.

The single-source chocolate options at L.A. Burdick in Harvard, chalked up on a board, complete with tasting notes.L.A. Burdick, Harvard

Harvard is where I first discovered the awesome hot chocolate served by L.A. Burdick. However, let’s not forget that the ever popular Harvard also has some outstanding lighting. The hot chocolate probably edges it though. Sadly I don’t have a Best Hot Chocolate Award…

The word "Uncommon GROUND COFFEE ROASTERY" written in black inside a white circle on a black background.Uncommon Ground Coffee Roastery

There are many things to admire about  Cardiff’s Uncommon Ground Coffee Roastery, not least its location in the fabulous Royal Arcade, with its lovely outdoor seating (which has got it on the shortlist for the Best Outdoor Seating Award). There’s also its basement-like atmosphere, which in turn requires plenty of light. And what light it is, especially the old copper kettles.

A miniature Jebena, the traditional Ethiopian coffee pot, on a table at Liverpool's Coffee & FandishaCoffee & Fandisha

Liverpool’s Coffee & Fandisha is an Ethiopian Coffee themed shop (Fandisha is the popcorn that the Ethiopian people serve with their coffee). However, its charms stretch far beyond that, including some outstanding food (which got it a place on the shortlist for the Best Breakfast Award). Then there’s the lighting, particularly the array of bulbs which hang down over the counter…

A flat white in a glass from Fix 126, sporting particularly impressive latte art.Fix 126

Fix 126 flies a little under the radar in the heart f Shoreditch, where its surrounded by some really excellent coffee shops. Not that this phases Fix, which more than holds its own, serving a range of coffee (espresso & pour-over). However, what’s got it in the running for a Coffee Spot Award is its outstanding lighting, including some very lovely bare bulbs.

The Shoreditch Grind logo, written on the wall of Shoreditch Grind.Shoreditch Grind

London’s Grind chain started with Shoreditch Grind on Old Street Roundabout. Despite having windows on three of the four sides, Shoreditch Grind also has some excellent lighting (in common with all the Grinds). Shoreditch Grind is also on the shortlist for Best Espresso Award.

The front of Kaffeine, door to the left, windows to the right, with a pair of benches in front of the window acting as tables.Kaffeine Eastcastle

The long-awaited second branch of London’s legendary Kaffeine, Eastcastle is a masterpiece of design and efficiency. It also has some lovely lighting, including a neon sign on the back wall. Kaffeine Eastcastle is also on the shortlist for the Coffee Spot Special Award.

A mug of filter coffee from Asado, River North.Asado Coffee, River North

I was given a behind-the-scenes tour of the then-unopened Asado Coffee in River North in Chicago. Occupying a lovely spot in what was the loading dock of an old industrial building (which is now used for offices), Asado Coffee has some fantastic light fittings which include some reclaimed lanterns. Asado has also been shortlisted for the Best Overseas Coffee Spot Award.

The words Case Study Coffee in gold on black written in an oval around a line-drawing of a coffee bean.Case Study Coffee Roasters, Downtown

Case Study Coffee Roasters in downtown Portland is the first of two shortlisted entries from Portland (Oregon). Coffee shop and roaster, Case Study’s downtown branch is a gorgeous place, with glass down two side. That doesn’t stop it from have some awesome light-fittings though. Case Study is also shortlisted for the Coffee Spot Award for Best Espresso.

A light bulb from the Cupping Room at Portland Roasting in Portland, Oregon, held in a light-fitting made from an upturned portafilter.Portland Roasting, The Cupping Room Cafe

The second entry from Portland (Oregon) is the Portland Roasting’s Cupping Room Cafe, which is attached to the roastery. It has some amazing light-fittings, including using old portfilters to hold naked light bulbs.

The writing on the window: Filter + Fox | Cafe - Bar - HideoutFilter + Fox

Liverpool’s Filter + Fox, on Duke Street, is an elegant spot with excellent service which could have been shortlisted for any number of awards. Instead, it will have to make do with this and spots on the shortlists for the Best Cake and Best Physical Space Awards.

A gleaming, chrome Modbar grouphead in action at Modern Society on London's Redchurch Street.Modern Society

London’s Modern Society is on Redchurch Street, in the heart of Shoreditch. It’s both a life-style store and a cutting edge coffee bar, which, like Filter + Fox, could have featured in any number of shortlists. Its amazing chandeliers won it a place on this shortlist, while the all-round beauty of the store got it onto the shortlist for the Best Physical Space Award.

The letter A in a circle, mounted on a exposed brick wall. The circle is wrapped in fairy lights.Artigiano Espresso, Reading

The branch of Artigiano Espresso on Reading’s Broad Street continues the trend of physically amazing spaces. This one has two floors, kitted out with numerous exceptional light-fittings which is why  it has gained a place on this shortlist. There’s a strong correlation between excellent light fittings and physical beauty, so it’s no surprise that Artigiano Espresso is also shortlisted for the Best Physical Space Award.

A piccolo in a glass and on a green saucer, made with the guest espresso at 200 Degrees, Carrington Street.200 Degrees, Carrington Street

Like Artigiano Espresso, 200 Degrees has a reputation for physically sumptuous fit outs. This, it’s second branch in Nottingham, continues that trend and could easily have won it a place on the Best Physical Space Award shortlist as well. Instead, as well as its excellent lighting, which includes two stained-glass windows at the back, 200 Degrees is shortlisted for the Best Coffee Spot Near a Railway Station Award.

The Wainwright's Speciality Coffee logo from the store in Clifton, Bristol.Wainwright’s Speciality Coffee

Our final entry is Bristol’s Wainwright’s Speciality Coffee. which does what it says on the tin (name). Indeed, the coffee was good enough to gain it a spot on the shortlist for the Best Espresso Award, while the amazing lights are what’s got it here.

A special mention also needs to go to the following:

Tradewind Espresso, another Bristol favourite, with its stained glass in the front window
Wyndham Tea, excellent lighting, to go with excellent tea and coffee
Roasted Brown, which graced the cover of this year’s Coffee Spot Lighting Calendar
Prolog Coffee Bar, a quirky shop in Copenhagenwith some quirky light-fittings too
Cafephilia, a Moseley favourite with some lovely lamps and light-fittings made from pipes
The Espresso Library, chandeliers and bare lightbulbs galore in Cambridge
The Speciality Coffee Shop, another Nottingham favourite that graced the Coffee Spot Lighting Calendar

And the winner is Uncommon Ground Coffee Roastery
Runners-up: Coffee & Fandisha and Tilt

Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2016.


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