We kick off the third day of the 2018 Coffee Spot Awards with the shortlist for the “Coffee Spot with the Best Outdoor Seating” Award, celebrating all those wonderful Coffee Spots with excellent outdoor seating. This was won last year by St Martin’s.
To qualify for this award, it’s not just a case of sticking a couple of tables or chairs on the pavement outside your coffee shop. Too often, what could be a lovely spot is marred by traffic noise, or cramped conditions, or just being in the wrong place. The best outside seating is often away from the road and passing pedestrians and offers shelter from the wind, rain and/or sun (although rarely all three at once!). Fortunately, there are plenty of Coffee Spots which do exactly that and this is one award I could have filled many times over!
You can see the shortlist after the gallery.
There are 15 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.
The Pocket, from Belfast, occupies the ground floor of an old townhouse and has a lovely outdoor seating area at the front, separate from the pavement by some lovely railings. Even better is the great view of Queen’s University, which is right across the road. The Pocket was also shortlisted for this year’s Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting and Best Cake Awards.
The Coffee Lab is right on the main road running through Stockbridge on the top floor of a lovely old building overlooking a courtyard. The outside seating is on a balcony overlooking the courtyard and with great views down the High Street and to the hills beyond. The Coffee Lab was also shortlisted for Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot and Most Popular Coffee Spot Awards.
Another that was also shortlisted for Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot Award, Grasshopper Café is in the small town of Hope, in the heart of the Peak District, There’s a wonderful garden in the yard at the back, with plenty of seating and views of the magnificent Peak District hills to go with your coffee. Grasshopper Café has also been shortlisted for the Most Popular Coffee Spot Award.
Switching to Arizona, to Scottsdale in fact, Fourtillfour has a simple front deck that is pretty much perfect, although I suspect that may have to do with the climate as much as anything. I certainly enjoyed siting out there drinking my coffee. The shop itself is tiny, so it’s just as well there’s plenty of seating out front!
The Epiphany is the in-house cafe for the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol. It has free use of the whole of the massive balcony at the front of the gallery for its outdoor seating! Simple awesome! The Epiphany has also been shortlisted for this year’s Best Espresso and Best Cake Awards.
Technically, the outdoor seating at Exeter’s Camper Coffee Co. isn’t outdoors. Instead, it’s in a covered courtyard at the back of McCoys Arcade. That said, I don’t care, since it’s lovely and it means you can sit outside when it’s raining, which is good enough for me.
Blue Bottle Coffee in Tokyo is down a narrow, quiet side street, above a clothing store at the back of the quiet courtyard. The outdoor seating in question is on a long balcony which runs along the front of the building, shaded by leafy trees. Your biggest problem is going to be getting a seat! Blue Bottle Coffee was also shortlisted for Best Filter Coffee Award.
From Japan to Thailand, and to a leafy residential area in Bangkok . Lan Din Coffee is off the courtyard of the Pantip Suites Hotel. There’s plenty of seating out front, with views across the sheltered, shady courtyard, which makes for an ideal spot to enjoy your coffee (unless you’re there during a downpour). There’s also plenty of shade from the fierce Thai sun.
Back in Tokyo, Onibus Coffee has a small but wonderful outdoor seating area down the side of the two-storey building, complete with wooden benches and shade from plants growing overhead. Onibus Coffee is also on the Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station and Smallest Coffee Spot shortlists.
Staying in Tokyo, The Roastery by Nozy has an awesome courtyard out front, with multiple seating options, including some that are under the shelter of the restaurant above, providing much needed shade in the summer. The Roastery by Nozy has also been shortlisted for both this year’s Coffee Spot with the Best Basement and Best Espresso Awards.
Back to South West London and The Black Chapel, a legendary coffee shop located on the west side of Chapel Yard, a sheltered, pedestrian space just off Wandsworth High Street. Although there’s not much seating out there, it’s a lovely spot to enjoy your coffee, particularly if you like watching the planes flying over on their approach to Heathrow Airport. The Black Chapel is also on the Smallest Coffee Spot and Most Passionate About Coffee shortlists.
Kickapoo occupies a bright, airy spot in the historic Third Ward, down where Milwaukee’s three rivers converge before flowing into Lake Michigan. Set on a block back from the river front, there’s a lovely outdoor seating area that stretches along the front of the coffee shop, glass panels high above providing shelter from the elements. There’s some more exposed seating off to the right. Also shortlisted for this year’s Best Espresso Award.
Back in Tokyo, the Single O roastery has an amazing tasting room attached, complete with a neat outdoor seating area set back from the quiet side street. Even better is the large awning that projects from the front of the roastery, providing much needed shelter from both sun and rain. The Single O Tasting Bar has also been shortlisted for the Best Roaster/Retailer Award and the Brian’s Coffee Spot Special Award.
One of a small band of speciality coffee shops in Rome, The Tram Depot is not much more than a kiosk, decorated to look like a tram, where you can stand at the counter enjoying your espresso. Oh yes, and there’s a spacious outdoor seating area, nestling under the shade/shelter of two large umbrellas, where you have the benefit of full table service.
A long-time Coffee Spot favourite, Lemana Coffee & Kitchen is at the end of a short alleyway off Lymington High Street, with a spacious courtyard in front, providing copious outdoor seating. A gazebo at the back of the courtyard provides shelter during inclement weather. Lemana Coffee & Kitchen has also been shortlisted for this year’s Happiest Staff Award.
A special mention needs to go to the following:
Cottontree Coffee Roasters for its secluded location and pair of outdoor tables
Melbourne in Lichfield, Bolt Court for its cute little outdoor seating area
Flat White Café for the multiple outdoor seats in the lane outside
Stockholm Roast / The Tobacco Stand for its sheltered, single outdoor table
And the winner is Lemana Coffee & Kitchen
Runners-up: The Epiphany and Fourtillfour
Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2018.
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