2018 Awards – Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting

The London Grind logo, taken from the wall outside.We kick off the second day with shortlist for the 2018 Coffee Spot Award for “Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting”. This was won last year by London Grind.

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.

  • Exe Coffee Roasters, with some really interesting light-fittings down in Exeter.
  • The Pocket, flying the flag for Belfast with some rather interesting light-fittings.
  • Panther Coffee, in Coconut Grove in Miami, has some excellent, on-point lighting.
  • 200 Degrees carries on a long tradition of excellent lighting with its branch in Leeds.
  • A newcomer in Chester, Moss Coffee has some interesting geometric light 'shades'.
  • The Black Penny in the heart of London with its countless light bulbs.
  • RuNam Bistro, Hanoi, an elegant coffee shop with some elegant lights to go with it.
  • Velodrome Coffee Co, lighting it up on the southern shores of Lake Superior.
  • Another newcomer in Chester, Short + Stout also has interesting geometric light 'shades'.
  • Metal Hands Coffee Co in Beijing, very on-point with its lighting.
  • The Coffee Dispensary in Cheltenham, so good it made it into this year's Calendar.
  • And finally, Glasgow's Toro Coffee, with some very photogenic light fittings!
Exe Coffee Roasters, with some really interesting light-fittings down in Exeter.1 The Pocket, flying the flag for Belfast with some rather interesting light-fittings.2 Panther Coffee, in Coconut Grove in Miami, has some excellent, on-point lighting.3 200 Degrees carries on a long tradition of excellent lighting with its branch in Leeds.4 A newcomer in Chester, Moss Coffee has some interesting geometric light 'shades'.5 The Black Penny in the heart of London with its countless light bulbs.6 RuNam Bistro, Hanoi, an elegant coffee shop with some elegant lights to go with it.7 Velodrome Coffee Co, lighting it up on the southern shores of Lake Superior.8 Another newcomer in Chester, Short + Stout also has interesting geometric light 'shades'.9 Metal Hands Coffee Co in Beijing, very on-point with its lighting.10 The Coffee Dispensary in Cheltenham, so good it made it into this year's Calendar.11 And finally, Glasgow's Toro Coffee, with some very photogenic light fittings!12
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There are 12 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.

A lovely light-fitting from Exe Coffee Roasters in Exeter, made from an upcycled espresso boiler.Exe Coffee Roasters

Exeter’s Exe Coffee Roasters has some lovely lighting made from old espresso boilers (see the photo to the left). There are also lights made from old colanders, an excellent example of upcycling if ever I saw one. It’s also a lovely space and could have been on the shortlist for the Best Basement Award, only the basement wasn’t open to the public when I was there. Exe Coffee Roasters has also been shortlisted for the Best Filter Coffee Award.

An over-sized pocket-watch, part of the Alice in Wonderland theme, which hangs on the wall by the door at The Pocket in Belfast.The Pocket

The sole entry from Northern Ireland on the shortlist, The Pocket, which has a strong Alice in Wonderland theme, also has some pretty awesome lighting. This includes lots of exposed light bulbs which look great against the bare brick walls and also when reflected in the windows. The Pocket is also shortlisted for this year’s Best Outdoor Seating and Best Cake Awards.

A bare light bulb in a wire cage, seen from below at Panther Coffee, Coconut Grove.Panther Coffee, Coconut Grove

Miami’s Panther Coffee has some excellent lighting, starting with the neon Panther Coffee logo sign. This includes exposed light bulbs in cages (like the one to the left) and some lovely light bulbs in glass domes. The reflections of the lights in the glass kept me amused for ages! Panther Coffee has also been shortlisted for the Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot Award.

An Indonesian single-origin espresso in a classic black cup, served at 200 Degrees in Leeds.200 Degrees, Leeds

The Nottingham-based 200 Degrees chain has always had some excellent lighting and the branch in Leeds is no exception. All the usual favourites are there, including the neon fireplace, the exposed light-bulbs in cages, the fancy lamp shades and the occasional multi-lamp chandelier. The lighting is worth the entry price (usually one cup of coffee, minimum) alone! 200 Degrees has also been shortlisted for this year’s Best Cake Award.

Some lovely latte art in my flat white, made with the Arboretum Blend from Dark Woods and served at Moss Coffee, Chester.Moss Coffee

Moss Coffee is a relatively new entrant in Chester, a lovely little spot near the station. It has a lot going for it, not least some excellent lighting, starting with the obligatory exposed bulbs, although these look to be of the low-power variety to me, so kudos to Moss Coffee for that. I was also taken by the strange geometric “shades”. Moss Coffee was also shortlisted for the Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station and Most Popular Coffee Spot Awards.

The front of The Black Penny on London's Great Queen Street, four small tables sheltering under the black awning.The Black Penny

The Black Penny, in West Central London, has been around for a while. It’s a gorgeous building with some stunning light fittings. I lost count of the number of exposed light bulbs, some hanging down from the ceiling on their own, while others are on the ends of angled pipes. The highlight is the clusters of bulbs, particularly those over the espresso machine at the front of the counter. Also on the Best Physical Space Award shortlist.

My coffee at RuNam Bistro in Hanoi, made with a traditional cup-top filter and beautifully-presented on a ceramic tray. Note the bowl of hot water the cup is standing in, which keeps the coffee warm.RuNam Bistro, Hanoi

Hanoi’s RuNam Bistro is a beautifully-appointed building, complete with a lovely upstairs and a wonderful balcony. However, as elegant as the physical space is, the light fittings are just as good, matching the bistro’s general fit out, blow for blow. I was particularly taken by the cylinders that hang down over the counter. RuNam Bistro has also been shortlisted for this year’s Best Physical Space Award.

The front of Velodrome Coffee Co in Marquette, Michigan.Velodrome Coffee Co

Veldrome Coffee Co was a find on my recent Midwest road trip, a lovely coffee shop and roastery in Marquette on the southern shores of Lake Superior. However, what’s got it onto this particular shortlist is the rather fabulous pipework chandelier that hangs in the side room at the back. The tin ceiling’s also kind of neat. Velodrome Coffee Co. has also been shortlisted for this year’s Best Roaster/Retailer Award.

The Short + Stout logo from above the door of the shop in Hoole.Short + Stout

A second entry from Chester, Short + Stout opened in Hoole this summer to much acclaim. While, quite rightly, people praised the coffee and the brunches, I also found the light-fittings caught my eye, particularly the open metal lattice light “shade” that I spent ages photographing from every angle… I’m sure everyone does that and it’s not just me… Short + Stout has also been shortlisted for this year’s Best Breakfast Award.

The Metal Hands Coffee Co logo from the wall outside Metal Hands in Beijing.Metal Hands Coffee Co

Beijing’s Metal Hands Coffee Co has a very distinctive look and feel, one that would be familiar to coffee shop visitors all over the world. That said, the lighting is very on-point, with plenty of exposed bulbs at the ends of copper pipes hanging down from the ceiling or poking out of walls. There are also some lovely glass lamp shades. Metal Hands has also been shortlisted for the Smallest Coffee Spot Award.

A lovely flat white, made with Extract's Strongman/woman seasonal espresso, and served in a classic black cup at The Coffee Dispensary in Cheltenham.The Coffee Dispensary

Cheltenham’s Coffee Dispensary, in the heart of the city, has several notable features, not least the coffee, but I was drawn to the lovely lighting, particular the multiple strings of bulbs hanging down from a central ceiling rose in the front and back rooms. I also liked the geometric metal “shade” (ie offers no shade at all) which made it into this year’s Coffee Spot Calendar.

The Toro Coffee logo, taken from the sign outside the shop on Pollockshaws Road.Toro Coffee

Glasgow’s Toro Coffee has been open for even less time than Short + Stout, but it has made just as big a splash. Like Short + Stout, my eyes were drawn to the excellent light-fittings, with their exposed bulbs in wide metal cages, topped off with metal domes. They did prove rather photogenic… Toro Coffee has also been shortlisted for the Best Filter Coffee and the Happiest Staff Awards.


And the winner is Exe Coffee Roasters
Runners-up: The Coffee Dispensary and Panther Coffee, Coconut Grove

Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2018.


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8 thoughts on “2018 Awards – Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting

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