Rag & Bone Coffee at Sharps

The menu board from Rag & Bone Coffee at Sharps Coffee Bar in London.Sharps Coffee Bar, on Windmill Street, is something of a fixture in the London speciality coffee scene, having been around almost as long as the Coffee Spot. For those who don’t know, Sharps is a two-for-one, with a barber shop at the back and a lovely coffee bar at the front. It started life with London coffee legends Dunne & Frankowski, but it was taken in-house in 2014, with some equally famous names, such as Michael Cleland (Assembly) and David Robson (ex-Association Coffee) taking over behind the counter.

Fast forward five years and things have, in some ways, come full circle, with Harry and Alfie of Rag & Bone Coffee taking over the coffee operation at the start of February. Superficially, little has changed, with the layout still essentially the same. This includes the iconic Kees van der Western Spirit espresso machine, clearly visible through the window. However, there are subtle changes, including a new menu board, while the coffee has changed, Rag & Bone bringing in its house-blend from Old Spike Roastery on espresso, with various guests on filter, both batch-brew and pour-over through the V60. If you’re hungry, there’s a small range of pastries and several toast-based options.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • On Fitzrovia's Windmill Street, there's a familiar sight...
  • ... Sharps Barber Shop and Coffee Bar.
  • The twin A-boards tell the story of the two sides of the business.
  • At first sight, not much has changed: there's the Kees van der Westen in the window.
  • But wait! Stepping inside, something is different. The seating in the window's still there...
  • ... but the menu board gives it away: Rag & Bone has taken over the coffee bar!
  • The rest of the coffee bar is much the same: the counter is still there on the left, while...
  • ... the seating  is still there on the right, starting with this double bench next to the door.
  • This is followed by two more benches facing each other across a second coffee table.
  • There's a third coffee table beyond these, this time in front of a box-shaped bench.
  • The tables, by the way, are neat, two-level affairs, the lower level used for storage.
  • A view of the rear of Sharps, with the barbers shop at the back. There's more seating...
  • ... starting with a pair of stools at the counter's end, plus a pair of benches...
  • ... in front of the glass partitions separating the coffee bar from the barbers shop.
  • A view of the seating from the back...
  • ... while here's a view of the whole coffee bar...
  • ... finishing up with the counter.
  • Obligatory light-fitting shot.
  • Obligatory bare light-bulb shot.
  • Down to business. The two-part counter dominates the left-hand side of the coffee bar.
  • You order here at the side of the front half of the counter...
  • ... where you'll also find the menu on the wall to the left of the espresso machine.
  • If you're interested, the barber shop menu is on the wall next to the door.
  • Back to the counter and the pastries & food options are next to the till.
  • There's a choice of toast, avocado on toast or a toastie.
  • The espresso machine, a gorgeous Kees van der Westen Spirit, is off to the left...
  • ... presenting its sleek profile to the window.
  • The rest of the coffee operation is against the wall at the back of the counter.
  • The espresso grinder is on the left, along with the Moccamaster batch-brewer.
  • There's also pour-over through the V60, with the coffee choices on the shelves above.
  • The options during my visit.
  • Nice cups.
  • I decided on an almond croissant, while for coffee...
  • ... I went with my barista's recommendation of a Nicaraguan from Deptartment of Coffee.
  • It was served, as it should be, in a carafe with a cup on the side.
  • I've leave you with this view of my coffee.
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If you’re familiar with the various incarnations of Sharps Coffee Bar over the years, then you’ll recognise the basic layout (window-bar, large counter on the left, seating on the right, barbers at the back). Outside, six lime green fold-up chairs line up beneath the broad window, three matching tables in front of them.

The door, which is on the right, leads into the familiar interior. There’s a five-person window bar immediate to the left, with the two-part counter set back a little against the left-hand wall. There’s space for a couple of stools at the far end of the counter, but the bulk of the seating is on the right, starting with a pair of two-person benches on the right-hand wall facing a narrow coffee table. Next comes another pair of benches, this time aligned front-to-back, facing each other across a second coffee table. Finally, there’s a box-like bench against the wall towards the back with a third coffee table.

Each of the three coffee tables is long and thin, a shelf below holding various items, including cacti and Caffeine Magazine. Beyond this is a coat rack for the barbers, then comes a wooden-framed glass partition separating the coffee bar from the barbers shop at the back. This has a pair of benches, one to either side of the central opening, which are used as overspill seating for the coffee shop if required.

The counter dominates the left-hand side. A two-part affair, the smaller, rear section provides the seating, while the front section is home to the coffee part of the operation. The sleek lines of the three-group Kees van der Western Spirit espresso machine sitting on the front of counter catch the eye as you enter. You order down the side of the counter, where you’ll find the pastries and the limited toast-based menu. You also get a great view of the espresso machine in action from here.

As well as espresso, there’s batch-brew from the ever-reliable Moccamaster, located on the back wall next to the Mahlkönig K30 espresso grinder. Meanwhile the ubiquitous Mahlkönig EK43, which does all the filter coffee, is at the other end of the counter.

Talking of coffee, the house-blend on espresso is from Old Spike Roastery, something which takes Sharps Coffee Bar back to its roots, Old Spike’s director of coffee being Rob Dunne of none other than Dunne & Frankowski. Having tried it when I visited Rag & Bone (a coffee cart in front of a church near Victoria station), I took a look at the pour-over options, which consisted of four single-origins. I had a choice of a Kenyan or Colombian from Notes, the last of a Yemini coffee from Has Bean and a washed Nicaraguan from Department of Coffee. I was steered towards this last option by my barista, who declared that it was her favourite. Who was I to disagree?

My coffee, which I paired with an almond croissant with a rich, creamy filling, was served in a carafe with a small cup on the side. A rich, smooth coffee, it went down a treat, the perfect re-introduction to Sharps and Rag & Bone Coffee.

9 WINDMILL STREET • LONDON • W1T 2JF
www.sharpsbarbers.com +44 (0) 207 636 8688
Monday 08:30 – 16:30 Roaster Old Spike (espresso) + Guests (filter)
Tuesday 08:30 – 16:30 Seating Window-bar, Tables, Tables (outside)
Wednesday 08:30 – 16:30 Food Pastries, Toast
Thursday 08:30 – 16:30 Service Order at Counter
Friday 08:30 – 16:30 Cards Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 08:30 – 16:30 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday CLOSED Power No
Chain Local Visits 14th February 2019

Liked this? Then don’t forget to check out the Coffee Spot Guide to London for more great Coffee Spots.


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2 thoughts on “Rag & Bone Coffee at Sharps

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