Second Shot made its name as a coffee shop and social enterprise, tackling homelessness one espresso at a time. Plenty of coffee shops offer help with pay it forward schemes, but Second Shot’s founder, Julius Ibrahim, went one step further, employing people affected by homelessness, giving them jobs in the short-term and careers in the longer-term.
Second Shot opened its first branch in Bethnal Green in 2016, but I didn’t manage to visit until two months ago. Then, just over a month later, Second Shot opened its second location, this time in Marylebone, between the station and Edgeware road. This time I didn’t want to leave it as long, so when the England vs Ireland Test Match at the nearby Lords’ Cricket Ground finished early, I saw my opportunity and went along.
Like the original in Bethnal Green, Second Shot stands on its own two feet as a speciality, multi-roaster coffee shop, up there with some of the best in London. It offers a different roaster on espresso and filter, along with a small brunch menu and a selection of cake. While the shop’s quite small, it’s larger than the original, plus there’s a specious basement/training room.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Second Shot opened on Church Street in Marylebone, just east of the street market, although on Saturdays, the market extends to in front of the shop, so you might have to keep an eye out for it. Otherwise, on the south side of the street, Second Shot’s simple façade is easily spotted. The front is all glass, other than the sign, running the full width across the top of the windows. There are two of these, which run floor-to-ceiling, flanking the central, glass double doors.
Inside, the layout is pretty simple, with the counter on the right and the seating on left, starting with a two-person window-bar to the left of the doors. Meanwhile, the broad windowsill to the right has a series of wide shelves holding the day’s selection of cakes and pastries (although by the time I arrived, half an hour before closing, these were somewhat depleted).
Beyond this, the broad, uncluttered counter runs down the right-hand side, pride of place going to a two-group La Marzocco Strada espresso machine, followed by its Mythos One grinder. Next comes a selection of beans, a sample of cakes and the till. There’s just as much workspace behind the counter on the back wall, where there’s an EK43 grinder and the batch brew set-up, plus a small food preparation area. The menus, meanwhile, are on the wall behind the counter, along with the grid for the pay if forward coffee scheme. There’s also a more detailed, printed food menu on each table, offering a selection of bowls and sandwiches.
Opposite the counter, a long, wooden box-seat bench runs almost the full length of the left-hand wall, with six, two-person tables in front of it, each with a chair opposite. Then, at the far end, are the stairs, which run from right-to-left, leading down to the basement, a set of retail shelves above.
At the moment, the basement is a fairly sparse affair. There’s a counter under construction at the end by the stairs, which I believe will be part of the training facility, while for the moment the only seating is a large, communal table on the right-hand side, seating provided by a pair of benches along either side.
During my visit, the espresso, which was served from a standard menu, was a Peruvian single-origin from Cast Iron Roasters, the same as on offer at the original in Bethnal Green. This changes every three months or so and is joined by Square Mile’s seasonal decaf. Meanwhile, on batch brew, Second Shot had a Los Chorros single-origin from Honduras, roasted by The Barn in Berlin, the beans changing whenever Second Shot gets through a bag.
Since it had only been open for three weeks at the time of my visit, Nadine, the manager, was offering all the coffee at £2 a cup, partly to tempt the locals in. When this introductory offer is over, she’ll start offering pour-over alongside the batch brew, the beans drawn from a variety of roasters.
Since I was thoroughly over-caffeinated after my morning at the Test Match, I had a decaf cortado, which was lovely, smooth and sweet. I paired this with a raspberry muffin (coconut and chocolate custard were other options). This was just as good, lovely cake base, shot through with really tasty raspberry jam.
|49 CHURCH STREET • MARYLEBONE • LONDON • NW8 8ES|
|Monday||08:00 – 16:00||Roaster||Guests (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 16:00||Seating||Tables, Window Bar; Table (downstairs)|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 16:00||Food||Sandwiches, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||08:00 – 16:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 16:00||Cards||Yes|
|Saturday||08:00 – 16:00||Wifi||Free (with login)|
|Chain||Local||Visits||27th July 2019|
You can also see what fellow coffee blogger, Bex of Double Skinny Macchiato made of Second Shot when she visited a couple of weeks before me.
Liked this? Then take a look at the rest of London’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to London.
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