We kick off the third day of the 2019 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 Lemana Coffee & Kitchen.
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.
There are 18 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.
The Cartel Coffee Lab in Scottsdale, Arizona, is a pretty awesome space in its own right, particularly the cosy back room, but it’s the outside seating that has won it a spot on this shortlist. Sure, there’s a bench out front on the sidewalk, but the real treat is the covered corridor down the side, outside and yet shaded, plus sheltered from the (very occasional) rain.
Staying in Arizona, but a little further north, Firecreek Big Park is just south of Red Rock Country, and has a large outdoor patio in front of the store. The best part though, is the view, looking north to the sandstone beauty of Red Rock Country. The coffee, roasted in-house up in Flagstaff, is pretty decent too!
Presta Coffee, Mercado San Augustin
Still in Arizona, but now a good deal further south in Tucson, Presta Coffee’s original location in Mercado San Augustin has the benefit that you can sit wherever you like in the market, including outside in the central courtyard. If, of course, you can find a seat… Presta Coffee has also been shortlisted for the Best Flat White Award.
Staying in America, but moving north to Chicago, the Intelligentsia on North Milwaukee Avenue in Logan Square has a neat outdoor seating area opposite the front of the coffee shop, on the side of the pavement. Normally, with a busy road like Milwaukee Avenue right next door, I wouldn’t be so keen, but this uses some very clever screening to reduce the impact of the traffic.
Located in the ancient Water Town of Zhujiajiao, on the western outskirts of Shanghai (which gained it a spot on the shortlist for the Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot Award), The Point is a wonderful coffee shop/roaster in its own right. It’s also got a gorgeous, multi-floor, interior but the best part is the terrace at the back, overlooking the Dianpu River, and the famous Fangsheng Bridge. The Point has also been shortlisted for the Best Cake Award.
Verve Coffee Roasters, Spring Street
One of four Verve outlets in Los Angeles, the Spring Street location is in downtown LA, occupying the ground floor of a large, standalone building. The interior is lovely, but it’s the front third of the building, open to the street, providing a sheltered outdoor seating area that has won Verve a spot on this shortlist.
From Los Angeles to London, and The Beehive in Bethnal Green. It is a social enterprise, part of the Bethnal Green Mission Church, with a lovely basement (which won it a spot on the Coffee Spot with the Best Basement Award shortlist). However, it’s the outdoor seating area at the northern end of Paradise Gardens that qualifies The Beehive for today’s shortlist.
A chance find directly outside my office in Canary Wharf, 640East won itself a spot on the shortlist for the Best Takeaway Coffee Award. However, it’s also an awesome place to sit in (although it does only have disposable cups, so don’t forget to bring your own). You can sit inside, but best of all is the large outdoor seating area to the left of the two counters, complete with tables and sofas.
The first place I visited on this summer’s trip to Prague, it’s fair to say that I loved everything about Pražírna Kavárna, from its vaulted exposed brick ceilings and walls to the multiple rooms, each with its own character (earning it a place on the Best Physical Space shortlist). However, what really won my heart was the massive, secluded courtyard at the back, enclosed by high walls on all four sides, with several mature trees towering over it.
Pavilion Café is an old hand in London‘s speciality coffee scene, serving great coffee and food from a circular, glass-domed pavilion (hence the name), the outdoor seating lining the shore of the West Lake in Bethnal Green’s Victoria Park, a setting which got it onto this shortlist as well as the one for the Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot Award.
The Pilgrm is a boutique hotel just south of Paddington Station. While there’s coffee downstairs from Workshop, upstairs is a lovely lounge. Although primarily for hotel guests, you’re welcome to take your coffee up there, which also gains you access to the long, thin outdoor terrace running along the front of The Pilgrm’s first floor. The Pilgrm has also been shortlisted for this year’s Best Physical Space and Best Breakfast Awards.
Back to Prague and Mamacoffee Londýnská, the second place I went for coffee after Pražírna Kavárna. Now a chain of six coffee shops, this is the original, with a large, raised decking area in front of the shop. This shelters under a tall, mature tree which provides shade in the mornings, and is surrounded on three sides by railings and flowerbeds.
Voyager Craft Coffee is in San Jose, on the busy Stevens Creek Boulevard. However, it’s well set-back from the highway at the back of a small mall, which makes its outdoor seating area all the more attractive. This is tucked in down the left-hand side, with a handful of round, three-person tables. Shaded in the morning, it does catch the full force of the sun during the rest of the day.
Wood St Coffee has been an ever-present in Walthamstow for almost as long as I’ve been doing the Coffee Spot. Now in its third incarnation at the Blackhorse Workshop, there’s a large outdoor seating area at the front, complete with long, communal tables. Wood St Coffee also been shortlisted for the Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot and Best Breakfast Awards.
Espresso Station, Moor Street Station
The Espresso Station in Birmingham is a true station coffee shop, located on the concourse of the lovely Moor Street Station (which obviously won it a place on the shortlist for the Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station Award). However, the outdoor seating, sheltering under the soaring glass and cast-iron of the station roof, is what got it a place on today’s shortlist.
Returning to Prague for a third time, Head Shot Coffee, Palackého was one of my regular escapes from the office during coffee breaks. It has a lovely setting, occupying a bright, open space bordering onto the delightful Františkánská Zahrada (Franciscan Gardens). There’s also a sheltered courtyard with four outdoor tables.
Back in the UK and to Canterbury, where Coffee Curiosity is an oasis of calm on Tannery Square, just a few minutes’ walk from the bustle of the Medieval city centre. Tannery Square, by the way, is the perfect setting for Coffee Curiosity’s outdoor seating, secluded and under the shade of a large try. Coffee Curiosity has also been shortlisted for the Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot and Most Passionate About Coffee Awards.
Returning to the USA and to the Twin Cities in Minnesota, Spyhouse Coffee is in St Paul, occupying the ground floor on a sunny corner. The interior is lovely, but even better is the secluded garden at the back, where you’ll find several tables and bench seats.
A special mention needs to go to the following:
Stan’s Bike Shack, more than a shack in the Sussex countryside
Berdena’s in Scottsdale, Arizona, pipped to the post by Cartel
Press Coffee Waterfront, another strong showing from Scottsdale
Madcap, Fulton, with picnic tables on the forecourt of an old garage
B2 Coffee, with the outdoor seating at San Jose’s San Pedro Square Market
Flywheel Coffee Roasters, and its lovely, sheltered seating area at the back
Ritual Coffee Roasters, Hayes Valley, a container with multiple outdoor tables
Canary Coffee, with a large outdoor terrace to go with a cosy interior
Espressino, on London’s Chapel Yard in Wandsworth
Long & Short Coffee, Walthamstow, part of of Crate and its extensive outdoor seating
Le Cafe Alain Ducasse, Coal Drops Yard, with several tables out front
% Arabica, Arashiyama, which has the perfect setting, but can only must a single bench
Bread, Espresso & Arashiyama Garden, where you can sit outside under the eaves
Ipsento, in Chicago, pipped to the post by Intelligentsia
Fortitude Bakehouse, with its row of outdoor tables on the Colonnade
And the winner is Pavilion Café
Runners-up: The Point and Pražírna Kavárna
Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2019.
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