The last of today’s 2017 Coffee Spot Awards shortlists is the “Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot”. In 2016 this went to No 12 Easton and it celebrates those Coffee Spots which are firmly rooted in, and which serve, their local communities. Unsurprisingly, the shortlist contains some of my favourite Coffee Spots of the year, which are often slightly off the beaten track.
This Award has quite a wide geographical spread, with Coffee Spots from Madison, Tokyo and from across the UK from Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Cockermouth, Glasgow, Harrogate, Leeds, London, Manchester and York.
You can see the shortlist after the gallery.
There are 15 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.
Situated on a sunny corner on the other side of the river from the centre of Cambridge, Stir is the epitome of a neighbourhood coffee shop. There’s something here for everyone: a large, outdoor seating area, a cosy corner, a back room for events. It’s no surprise that the community has embraced Stir, with cycles and rowers making it a destination. Stir is also shortlisted for the Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting & Most Popular Coffee Spot Awards.
I’m indebted to my friend Alexandra for introducing me to Nkora, a lovely spot in Shoreditch. It has a gorgeous upstairs space, a lovely, secluded garden at the back and an amazing, cosy basement for which Nkora has already been shortlisted this year. What struck me was the number of locals popping in to say hello for their coffee. Nkora is shortlisted for this year’s Most Popular Coffee Spot Award.
A little off the beaten track in York, Stanley & Ramona is run by a lovely couple, disappointingly called Lee and Lucy, although they do redeem themselves by having alliterative names. A small cosy, spot, you’re obliged to talk with Lee & Lucy who are excellent company, although they spent most of my visit insulting the other customers. Stanley & Ramona is shortlisted for this year’s Happiest Staff and Smallest Coffee Spot Awards.
A tiny place down in Brixton, Balance has just enough space for the counter where you can order and wait for your coffee. If you want to sit down, you need to head outside (although you’re welcome to stand at the counter and drink your coffee) where you’ll find a bench & two tables on the pavement. Despite the lack of seating, it has a neighbourhood vibe. Balance is also on the Best Coffee Spot Near a Railway Station & Smallest Coffee Spot shortlists.
25A Old Market, Old Market Street, east of Bristol city centre, is the younger sibling of No 12 Easton, which won last year’s award. As well as being a coffee shop of some note, the other thing it shares with No 12 is that it’s a deli and general provisions store. 25A Old Market has also been shortlisted for this year’s Coffee Spot with the Best Basement and Most Popular Coffee Spot Awards.
Just south of Tokyo’s Shinagawa Station is a lovely residential area where I ended up staying on my trip this year. The added bonus was discovered when I was wandering down the street: the delightful Kaido Books & Coffee, a coffee shop downstairs with a large, spacious bookshop upstairs. Kaido is also on the Best Overseas Coffee Spot Award shortlist.
The Cran’ in Finnieston, at the eastern edge of Glasgow’s West End, is named after a local landmark, a large crane on the Clyde. Occupying a quirky space which reflects something of the history of the building it occupies, it has a real community feel. The Cran’ also made the Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting & Best Physical Space shortlists.
Westmoreland Speciality Coffee is out in the sticks, on the very edge of Harrogate, a whole 10 minutes’ walk from the railway station and maybe 15 minutes from the far flung reaches of the centre of the town. Set up in the summer of 2014 by the very lovely Jamie, it was originally at No 8, but it outgrew the space and moved down the road with the help of many of its regular customers, closing overnight and reopening the next day. Westmoreland has been shortlisted for the Happiest Staff and Coffee Spot Special Awards.
A second entry from Harrogate, LMDC Espresso Bar is a stalwart of the town’s coffee scene. With a cosy, welcoming atmosphere, you’ll get an equally warm welcome from the owner, Leslie, and Head Barista, Elliott. If you’re hungry, the counter’s loaded with homemade cakes, while there are good breakfast/lunch options, all prepared in the kitchen at the back from locally-sourced ingredients. LMDC Espresso is shortlisted for the Happiest Staff Award.
Tucked away in the residential streets northwest of the centre of Cardiff, Lufkin roasts all its coffee on a 10kg Golden Roaster which you can see behind the counter. Lufkin only roasts single-origins, mostly for use in-house on espresso and pour-over. Lufkin has also been shortlisted for this year’s Best Physical Space and Best Roaster/Retailer Awards.
Johnson Public House is something of a stalwart of Madison’s small, but growing, speciality coffee scene. Located just north-east of the Square, the spiritual and literal centre of Madison, it’s the coffee shop equivalent of the pub on the corner. Johnson Public House, a family-run business, set up a roasting arm, Kin-Kin, which now supplies the bulk of the coffee.
Down by the river in Leeds, on a quiet street running parallel to the railway tracks, you’ll find Kapow Coffee. There’s not much seating, but what Kapow lacks in space, it makes up for in cosiness and a friendly atmosphere.
Located in Cockermouth, The Moon & Sixpence is an old name for a new business. It harks back to when the owner, Stephen, was a young boy, when the premises was a clothes shop. Stephen was keen to bring back the old name and the links with the past, a sense of community and continuity running through the business. The Moon & Sixpence has also been shortlisted for this year’s Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting and Best Cake Awards.
Manchester‘s Another Heart To Feed is a Melbourne-inspired coffee shop and kitchen which opened in March this year, serving food from an all-day brunch menu and some excellent coffee from London’s Union. Another Heart To Feed offers full table service, a carafe of water and menu magically appearing on your table as you are invited to take a seat. Another Heart To Feed has also been shortlisted for this year’s Best Breakfast Award.
On Caledonian Road, around the corner from King’s Cross Station, stands a new name in a familiar spot. In the premises once occupied by Pattern Coffee, House of Morocco provides an interesting fusion of western, third-wave coffee shop and Moroccan culture, it’s a relaxing, friendly spot. House of Morocco was also shortlisted for this year’s Best Coffee Spot Near a Railway Station Award.
Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2017.
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