SHOTS Espresso Bar (aka Shots by Saints, Shots for short) is an offshoot of Saint Kitchen, in St Paul’s Square, Birmingham. It occupies the same location on nearby Water Street as the now defunct Upstairs Coffee, a delightfully tiny gem that was on the ground floor, but upstairs from a cocktail bar (which has also gone, replaced by a men’s hairdressers). If you remember Upstairs Coffee, then Shots will be instantly recognisable, right down to the La Marzocco Linea espresso machine, wood panelling and gorgeous light fitting.
However, some things have changed. For example, batch-brew has joined the usual espresso-based menu, with all the coffee coming from Extract Coffee Roasters (which also supplies Saint Kitchen). There’s also a small selection of tea, plus Kokoa Collection hot chocolate. Even better, while Upstairs Coffee only had takeaway cups, Shots has a handful of proper cups for those staying to drink their coffee.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
SHOTS Espresso Bar is just around the corner from Saint Kitchen, no more than a couple of minutes’ walk, with an A-board on the actual corner, pointing you in the right direction. You’ll find Shots halfway along Water Street, a tiny spot between two brick pillars on the northern side of the street, the front consisting of small, square-paned windows, the door inset on the left. There’s just enough room inside for the counter at the back, while at the front, to the left of the door, a couple of chairs stand at a small bar. However, Water Street is quiet (and sunny) enough that sitting on the bench outside is an option.
The interior is fitted out with reclaimed materials. The amazing ceiling, for example, is actually wallpaper, stained with turps. The mirror, which takes up the entire wall on the right-hand side by the counter, is actually an old, multi-paned window, while all the wood was reclaimed from local buildings. Even the lights, including the awesome central light fitting, are recycled.
Although the layout’s pretty much identical to the original Upstairs Coffee (given the size of the space, that’s not surprising), Shots is a separate business with no connection its predecessor. The premises had stood empty for some time until February this year, when Shots moved in at the invitation of the landlord, who was a regular at Saint Kitchen. Although it’s close to Saint Kitchen, the two businesses complement each other, Shots providing a handy overflow for Saint Kitchen, particularly if all you want is a quick coffee on the way to work. That said, with its gorgeous interior, it’s also a worthy destination in its own right.
The coffee is all from Bristol’s Extract Coffee Roasters. The batch-brew, which changes on a monthly basis, was a Muhura Rwanda during my visit. Meanwhile, there’s a single option on espresso, which was Extract’s summer special, Unkle Funka, a naturally processed Colombian. I tried it as an espresso, a rich, sweet, fruity coffee which showcased natural coffee at its best. It proved very popular this summer (it was also the espresso at Saint Kitchen), so was kept on as long as possible. However, it ran out earlier this month, replaced by an El Salvador which, at the time of writing, has itself just been replaced. Why not pop down and see what Shots has got lined up for you?
December 2018: Shots Espresso Bar was a runner-up for the 2018 Smallest Coffee Spot Award.
|32-35 WATER STREET • BIRMINGHAM • B3 1HL|
|Monday||07:30 – 15:00||Roaster||Extract (espresso + batch brew)|
|Tuesday||07:30 – 15:00||Seating||N/A|
|Wednesday||07:30 – 15:00||Food||N/A|
|Thursday||07:30 – 15:00||Service||Counter|
|Friday||07:30 – 15:00||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa (£4 minimum)|
|Chain||Local||Visits||20th August 2018|
Liked this? Then take a look at the rest of Birmingham’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Birmingham.
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