2018 Awards – Best Outdoor Seating

A lovely flat white made with the Friday Street Blend at St Martin's in Leicester.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.

  • The Pocket, in Belfast, with some great views from the seating out front.
  • Coffee Lab, Stockbridge, with a balcony overlooking a courtyard.
  • Grasshopper Cafe, and its magnificent Peak District views from the garden at the back.
  • Fourtillfour, which has the perfect climate for its front deck.
  • The Epiphany, in the RWA in Bristol, where it has the entire balcony at its disposal.
  • Camper Coffee Co., technically not outdoor seating since it's a covered courtyard.
  • Blue Bottle Coffee, Aoyama, with another lovely, shady balcony.
  • Lan Din Coffee, enjoying the courtyard of the Pantip Suites Hotel.
  • Onibus Coffee, Nakameguro, with a delightful shady outdoor seating area down the side.
  • The Roastery by Nozy, and its magnficent courtyard out front.
  • The Black Chapel, on the west side of Chapel Yard just off Wandsworth High Street.
  • Kickapoo Coffee, Milwaukee, with a sheltered seating area out front.
  • Single O Tasting Bar, with a neat outdoor seating area set back from the quiet side street.
  • The Tram Depot, with a spacious seating area nestling under two large umbrellas.
  • Lemana Coffee & Kitchen, down a side alley with a courtyard and gazebo as well!
The Pocket, in Belfast, with some great views from the seating out front.1 Coffee Lab, Stockbridge, with a balcony overlooking a courtyard.2 Grasshopper Cafe, and its magnificent Peak District views from the garden at the back.3 Fourtillfour, which has the perfect climate for its front deck.4 The Epiphany, in the RWA in Bristol, where it has the entire balcony at its disposal.5 Camper Coffee Co., technically not outdoor seating since it's a covered courtyard.6 Blue Bottle Coffee, Aoyama, with another lovely, shady balcony.7 Lan Din Coffee, enjoying the courtyard of the Pantip Suites Hotel.8 Onibus Coffee, Nakameguro, with a delightful shady outdoor seating area down the side.9 The Roastery by Nozy, and its magnficent courtyard out front.10 The Black Chapel, on the west side of Chapel Yard just off Wandsworth High Street.11 Kickapoo Coffee, Milwaukee, with a sheltered seating area out front.12 Single O Tasting Bar, with a neat outdoor seating area set back from the quiet side street. 13 The Tram Depot, with a spacious seating area nestling under two large umbrellas.14 Lemana Coffee & Kitchen, down a side alley with a courtyard and gazebo as well!15
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There are 15 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.

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 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 awesome latte art in my flat white at Coffee Lab, Stockbridge.Coffee Lab, Stockbridge

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.

A blazing log in the wood-burning stove in the back room of Grasshopper Cafe in Hope.Grasshopper Café

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.

Fourtillfour in Scottsdale, operating out of this neat little space at the back of a patio.Fourtillfour

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 logo of The Epiphany, a speciality coffee shop at the RWA in Bristol.The Epiphany

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.

The front of Camper Coffee Co. in McCoys Arcade, Exeter, with both door (right) and window (left) open to the courtyard.Camper Coffee Co.

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.

 

The remains of my single-origin Kenyan pour-over in a glass mug, as served in Blue Bottle in the Aoyama district of Tokyo.Blue Bottle Coffee, Aoyama

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.

My espresso, in a classic cup on a lovely saucer, made using a blend of coffee from Chiang Mai, and served in Lan Din Coffee, Bangkok.Lan Din Coffee

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.

A chalk drawing from the wall upstairs in Onibus Coffee.Onibus Coffee, Nakameguro

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.

My 8oz latte in a classic tulip cup at The Roastery by Nozy.The Roastery by Nozy

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.

An espresso at The Black Chapel in Wandsworth, pulled on a 1958 Faema Lambro.The Black Chapel

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.

An organic Guatemalan Concepcion single-origin espresso from Kickapoo in Milwaukee, served in a classic white espresso cup with an oversized handle.Kickapoo Coffee, Milwaukee

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.

Beans & Dreams decoration, taken from the wall in the Single O roastery in Tokyo.Single O Tasting Bar

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.

The Tram Depot logo from the side of the kiosk in Rome.The Tram Depot

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.

The Lemana Coffee & Kitchen logo from the sign on the wall at the end of Madeira Mews in Lymington.Lemana Coffee & Kitchen

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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12 thoughts on “2018 Awards – Best Outdoor Seating

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