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.
November 2019: I’ve learn, via Phil Wain, that Rag & Bone is no longer at Sharps, the coffee operation having been taken over by Good as Gold.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
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)|
|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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