One Shot

The One Shot logo, an eight-engined, propeller-driven flying boat, painted on the side of the wall of One Shot.After my recent Manchester exploits (Cup North, Pot Kettle Black, Caffeine Magazine), I thought it high time I returned to Philadelphia, a city with many similarities to Manchester, to finish writing up the Coffee Spots from my trip back in March. So, I present, without further ado, One Shot, which was introduced to me by my host, Greg of Coffee Guru App.

To the north of the centre, One Shot is a lovely spot, best known for its food and, as a result, a very popular brunch spot. Naturally enough, Greg and I went there for Sunday brunch. It’s been serving great food and equally great coffee since 2005 and, in 2011, moved a short distance from its original location to its current premises, spread over two floors on the corner of W George and N American Streets.

A long, thin store, downstairs is dominated by the counter, while upstairs is given over to a wide range of seating options, including a lounge/library area (with its own motorbike) right at the front. There’s also seating outside. The food is varied, with numerous specials, while the main menu changes on a seasonal basis. The coffee, meanwhile, is from Stumptown.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • If you come at it from along W George St, there doesn't seem much to One Shot...
  • .... However, go around the corner and you will see its full extent!
  • Just in case you didn't know where you were...
  • Some of the outside seating options.
  • The A-board makes a pretty good case for going in...
  • ... while there are special boards on the walls.
  • That one was for drinks, this one for brunch.
  • Nice sign.
  • Stepping inside, a panoramic view of the downstairs from just inside the door.
  • And in slightly more detail, with the seating on the left.
  • You can also perch at the end of the counter if you like.
  • The view looking back the other way. Great tin ceiling.
  • I liked the table in the window, but it was taken. We sat on the right instead.
  • The seating in more detail.
  • Another view of the counter.
  • At the back, beyond the counter, the kitchen takes up most of the space...
  • ... while on the left, the stairs tempt you.
  • The view from the top of the stairs, looking back along the length of the store.
  • There's this long, communal table just as you come in.
  • Back here it's all wood-cladding and bare brick.
  • One Shot through the looking glass.
  • Artwork adorns the walls.
  • There are plenty of smaller tables upstairs too.
  • And when I say plenty, I mean it!
  • However, the best part is right at the front, where there's a lounge/library area.
  • Books to left of me...
  • Books to the right...
  • And a motorbike, naturally. The stairs lead to private quarters upstairs.
  • For some reason I really liked this window...
  • Time, however, to head back downstairs.
  • The light-fittings are really lovely.
  • Last one, I promise.
  • Mirror, mirror, on the wall... What's that I spy?
  • An owl. Of course. How silly of me not to realise.
  • Some of the history of One Shot.
  • An interesting proposition when you come to pay...
  • So, to business. There's a lot of cake...
  • Cake, in more detail.
  • Even more cake.
  • The drinks menus are written on mirrors above the counter. Easier to see than photograph!
  • The drawers contain tea...
  • Who is the coffee from again?
  • I liked the takeaway cups.
  • Coffee bloggers. You can't take them anywhere without them taking pictures of everything!
  • Clearly my conversation wasn't up to much: Greg had brought some reading material along!
  • My flat white, beautifully presented in a glass.
  • Brunch!
  • I leave you with this: always a good sign when the milk holds the latte art :-)
Photo Carousel by v4.6

Approaching One Shot from the east along W George Street, it doesn’t look like much, just a narrow storefront in a brick-built three storey building, door on the left, square window to the right and a few tables out front on the sidewalk. However, turn the corner onto N American Street and you begin to get the full extent of One Shot as it extends a long way down the street, more tables gracing the sidewalk and catching the afternoon sun.

Stepping inside, you get the full force of One Shot’s long, thin nature. To your right, a table occupies a prime spot by the window, while ahead of you, two wide bays occupy the left-hand wall, but it’s the counter that dominates the downstairs, taking up most of the right-hand wall. You can perch at the end, across from the door, but otherwise it’s a case of filing up past the cakes to the till where you order your coffee (and wait for it) and/or your food (which is brought to your table).

Opposite the counter is the bulk of the downstairs seating, each bay being fitted with a padded bench and filled with small, round tables. At the back, beyond both seating and counter, a long flight of stairs on the left-hand wall (the kitchen is on the right) leads up to the best part of One Shot, the upstairs seating area. This runs the full length of the store, the stairs depositing you at the back.

Here you’ll find any number of tables, large and small, while beyond them, right at the front, there’s a lovely lounge/library area, with a pair of large sofas flanking a coffee table, with armchairs and a padded bench. At the far end are two bright windows while the walls on either side are lined with bookshelves. Oh, and there’s a motorbike. Naturally.

Despite its long, thin layout, One Shot is bright and spacious, helped by multiple windows and a generous provision of lights. Downstairs the décor is wooden floorboards, wood and plaster walls and a tin ceiling, while upstairs is bare brick and wood-cladding at the back with more of a homely feel in the front.

The food is typical American café fare, sandwiches, bagels, lots of eggs, omelettes and the like. There’s also a more-than-decent selection of cakes and pastries. The coffee is more orientated to the chains, with two-shot and four-shot lattes coming in 8, 12 and 16oz sizes, along with 8 and 12oz cappuccinos. You can also get espresso and Americano if you don’t fancy milk, plus bulk brew drip using One Shot’s own bespoke blend from Stumptown (the espresso is Stumptown’s Hairbender blend).

Having come from brunch (8am – 3pm), I settled on grilled goat’s cheese, tomatoes and greens on bread, while Greg had a wrap. We both went for flat whites, eschewing the larger coffee offerings. These arrived in glasses, with a similar presentation to that we’d just had in Ox. The taste was very similar too, the Hairbender once again going very well with milk. I paired this lot with a biscuit on the side, being very fond of American biscuits (for the uninitiated, this is similar to a British scone, a point proved somewhat by the healthy serving of jam that came with it). Delicious!

217 W GEORGE STREET • PHILADELPHIA • PA 19123 • USA +1  215 627 1620
Monday 07:00 – 17:00 Seating Tables, Benches, Comfy Chairs, Sofas; Tables (outside)
Tuesday 07:00 – 17:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Brunch, Cake
Wednesday 07:00 – 17:00 Service Order at Counter (Food), Counter (Coffee)
Thursday 07:00 – 17:00 Cards Mastercard, Visa ($10 minimum)
Friday 07:00 – 17:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Saturday 07:00 – 17:00 Power Upstairs
Sunday 07:00 – 17:00 Mobile N/A
Chain No Visits 9th March 2014

Liked this? Then take a look at the Coffee Spot Guide to Philadelphia for more great coffee Spots.

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