We kick off the second day with shortlist for the 2019 Coffee Spot Award for “Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting”. This was won last year by Exe Coffee Roasters.
Lighting in coffee shops has long held a fascination for me, with most of the galleries containing a shot or two of an interesting light-fitting. This Award celebrates those Coffee Spots with particularly outstanding lighting.
You can see the shortlist after the gallery.
There are 15 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.
Cartel Coffee Lab occupies a beautiful, sunlight spot in Downtown Tucson, good enough for it to be on the shortlist for the Best Physical Space Award. Despite this, it also has some amazing light fittings. And, of course, the usual excellent Cartel coffee, six seasonal single-origins, all roasted in-house and available through the Chemex. One of the single-origins is on espresso while another is available as a daily batch brew option.
The Steam Room is the Birmingham suburb of Harborne. It has some lovely light- fittings, which are particularly welcome in the cosy room at the back. The Steam Room has also been shortlisted for this year’s Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot and Most Popular Coffee Spot Awards.
Next stop is Philadelphia, where Rally is another sun-filled coffee shop with some awesome light-fittings. There’s also a great range of coffee from local roaster Blind Tiger Coffee (set up by Charlie, one of the baristas at Rally). There’s a concise espresso-based menu, plus batch-brew and pour-over through the Clever Dripper. Rally has also been shortlisted for the Best Filter Coffee Award.
Stumptown’s long association with Ace Hotels has seen its coffee shops in various hotels in cities across America. One common feature is the high standard of the fit-out which extends, in the case of the New Orleans Ace Hotel, to the lighting, which is stunning. It’s also good enough for a place on the Best Physical Space Award shortlist. Finally, Stumptown has also been shortlisted for the Happiest Staff Award.
B2 Coffee occupies a small corner in the communal hall of the San Pedro Square Market in downtown San Jose. One of the area’s speciality coffee pioneers, it serves some excellent coffee from sister company, Kickback, while also having some outstanding light fittings, courtesy of a complete refit of the lighting in the main hall. B2 Coffee has also been shortlisted for the Best Filter Coffee and Best Cake Awards.
I’ll be honest, the doughnuts are the main draw of Chicago’s Doughnut Vault (if you get up early enough that is). However, it’s also a pretty decent coffee shop (good enough to have been shortlisted for the Coffee Spot with the Best Basement Award) and it happens to have a stunning central chandelier, which gained it a spot on this shortlist.
From Chicago to Streatham and Big Bad Wolf Coffee, which, as a coffee shop, is good enough to be shortlisted for this year’s Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot Award. However, it’s also got some lovely lighting, particularly at the back of the long, thin store, where it goes well with the exposed brick walls. Big Bad Wolf Coffee has also been shortlisted for this year’s Most Passionate About Coffee Award.
The original Second Shot in Bethnal Green is a social enterprise, helping homeless people. It’s also a lovely little coffee shop (earning a place on the Smallest Coffee Spot shortlist), with some excellent, understated light-fittings. When it comes to coffee, Second Shot stands on its own two feet, up there with some of the best in London, offering a different roaster on espresso and filter. Second Shot is also on the Brian’s Coffee Spot Special Award shortlist.
Canary Coffee was one of my chance finds of 2019, attached to my hotel in Canary Wharf, which was enough to get it on this year’s shortlist for the Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot Award. It also has some excellent light fittings, from exposed bulbs to the industrial lights beloved on third wave coffee shops (and me, obviously).
Knockbox Coffee is one of the stalwarts of London‘s speciality coffee scene, a lovely little spot on Lamb’s Conduit Street in Bloomsbury (earning a place on this year’s Smallest Coffee Spot Award shortlist). Like many of this year’s entries, it doesn’t lack natural light, with windows on two sides, but that doesn’t stop it from having some lovely light fittings.
The original Cherry Espresso in the Uptown District of New Orleans is best described as a “typical American coffee shop” (and a very nice one at that). The second location, in the Lower Garden District, has the feel of an elegant New Orleans mansion and, naturally enough, it has the lighting to go with it. And the coffee too. Cherry Coffee Roasters is also shortlisted for the Best Physical Space Award.
Birmingham‘s Java Lounge occupies a lovely old building on Colmore Row, good enough for a place on the Best Physical Space Award shortlist. It has an excellent array of lighting, including the traditional bulbs in cast-iron cages, industrial lights, and, taking pride of place in the back room, a lovely large circle hanging from the ceiling, from which hangs multiple exposed light bulbs.
Coffee Addict is a recent addition to the area around London‘s Victoria station. It’s a small, but striking space, with beautiful, flower-decked walls (good enough for this year’s Smallest Coffee Spot shortlist). However, it’s the amazing circle of bulbs hanging from the ceiling that caught my eye, gaining Coffee Addict a place on the shortlist as a result. Coffee Addict has also been shortlisted for the Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station and Most Passionate About Coffee Awards.
65mm Coffee in Tonbridge started life in the Old Fire Station, but has now moved to its own place opposite the castle, where the interior designers have done a fantastic job, including the lighting, which is excellent. This is all backed out with some great coffee and some awesome brunch options. 65mm Coffee also been shortlisted for the Best Flat White and Best Breakfast Awards.
Curio Espresso and Vintage Design in Kanazawa takes its name in two parts, with the Vintage Design giving a clue as to its look and feel. Decorated with vintage pieces originally bought for the owners’ house, it has some fantastic light fittings which would grace any coffee shop. Curio Espresso also been shortlisted for the Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot Award.
Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2019.
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