Party on Pavilion (COVID-19 Update)

Detail from the A-board outside Party on Pavilion: "The Roasting Party - Coffee every day!"Party on Pavilion was the first coffee shop from Winchester-based Aussie imports, The Roasting Party, which opened three years ago in August 2017. A lovely little shop on Pavilion Street, off Sloan Square in South West London, it has just enough space downstairs for the counter, while upstairs, a long, thin space provided a bright seating area in the summer and a cosy one in the winter. Then along came COVID-19 and suddenly “cosy” was no longer looking so attractive…

Party on Pavilion reopened in mid-May, offering takeaway service only from the counter downstairs. Although the restrictions have since been eased, the upstairs seating area has remained closed, a decision no doubt helped by the pedestrianisation of Pavilion Street, which is now replete with tables and benches, making it the perfect place to sit and drink your coffee. Talking of which, there’s the usual options from the concise espresso-based menu, along with single-origin pour-over through the Chemex. If you’re hungry, there’s a selection of pastries, cakes (now baked upstairs) and pre-packed salads.

You can see what else I found after the gallery.

  • Pavilion Street, off Sloan Square, looking very different from when I was last there.
  • It definitely has a party atmosphere these days...
  • ... which is just as well, since it's the home of these guys...
  • The Roasting Party, aka Party on Pavilion!
  • Mind you, there have been some changes, thanks to COVID-19, of course.
  • There's now a one-way system, with the entrance through the door on the right...
  • ... complete with handy signs on the pavement to show you where to queue.
  • Meanwhile, the door on the left serves as the exit...
  • ... with the revised opening times written on the window.
  • So let's go in.
  • Sadly you can't go upstairs (where the seating is) since that's closed, so instead...
  • ... turn left into the small downstairs area, which contains the counter.
  • On your way you pass a set of retail shelves with some capsules, while the main...
  • ... retail area is on the other side of the counter, with a range of blends and single-origins.
  • I love the shadow of the writing in the window. I seem to recall taking the same photo...
  • ... when I was here a couple of years ago. This photo, in fact.
  • To business. You order, pay for and collect your coffee at the counter...
  • ... with the concise menu on the back wall...
  • ... along with a mission statement of sorts.
  • There are two blends on espresso: Party (for milk-based drinks) and Drake (for the rest).
  • Once you've got your coffee, it's time to head outside...
  • ... which is a case of follow the arrows.
  • And we're done. Now all we have to do is find a seat.
  • Since COVID-19, the street has been filled with tables, all of which were taken...
  • ... although there was space on this square planter, which had benches around the sides.
  • However, I went for this more conventional bench on the opposite side of the street.
  • They've done a really good job with the street by the way. There are plenty of signs...
  • ... and even a hand sanitising station!
  • I had a flat white, by the way, in my HuskeeCup, although the barista wasn't allowed to...
  • ... touch the cup, so the latte art was free poured. Excellent milk-steaming though!
  • Finally, I picked up a bag of the Drake blend to take home with me.
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In many ways, Party on Pavilion reminds me of Canopy Coffee in my hometown of Guildford. Although the layouts are quite different (to start with, Canopy is all on one floor), they are both coffee shops which, while offering sit-in service in pre-COVID times, are well-suited to takeaway operation. It was therefore unsurprising that Party on Pavilion quickly reopened after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and equally unsurprising that, just like Canopy, it declined the option of reopening its seating area when the COVID-19 restrictions were relaxed in England.

That doesn’t mean you have to drink your coffee on the go, however. With the onset of COVID-19, Pavilion Street has been fully pedestrianised and is now full of tables. Looking north from the southern end near Sloane Square, Party on Pavilion is on the right-hand side, part of a row of shops, including  a wine bar and cheesemongers, while doughnut specialist and baker, Bread Ahead, is just two doors further down.

A large, square planter sits at the southern end of the street, with wooden benches on all four sides, marking the start of the pedestrianised area. This is followed by a line of two/three-person tables running down the centre of the street. Finally, on the left-hand side, are a couple conventional benches against the wall, followed, further up the street, by more tables. The seating is shared with the other businesses, by the way, so none of it is reserved for Party customers.

I’ve been told that the outdoor seating is really popular with the powers that be, which is ironic given the battle Party on Pavilion fought (and lost) when it opened three years ago. Back then, even a single bench was out of the question!

Returning to the present day, you need to head inside to order, following a new one-way system, which is clearly marked by all manner of signs, taking you in through the right-hand door. Turn left at the foot of the stairs (which lead to the closed upstairs seating area), and you’ll find yourself in front of the counter. You order and pay here, then collect your coffee, before leaving through the other door at the left-hand end. It really couldn’t be simpler.

The coffee offering is much as it was before, with a concise espresso-based menu with two options, the Party blend for milk-based drinks and the Drake blend for the others. I had a flat white, which the barista made in my HuskeeCup. I had to put this on the counter, with the barista pouring in the coffee and then free-pouring the milk, all achieved without the barista touching the cup.

The coffee, by the way, was excellent, the Party blend going really well with the milk to produce a sweet, smooth flat white, which I enjoyed sitting on a shaded bench opposite the shop.

December 2020: Party on Pavilion has won the 2020 Happiest Staff Award.

253 PAVILION ROAD • LONDON • SW1X 0BP +44 (0) 20 7730 6655
Monday 07:30 – 16:00 Roaster The Roasting Party (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 07:30 – 16:00 Seating Tables, Bench (outside)
Wednesday 07:30 – 16:00 Food Salads, Cake
Thursday 07:30 – 16:00 Service Counter
Friday 07:30 – 16:00 Payment Card Only
Saturday 09:00 – 16:00 Wifi N/A
Sunday 09:00 – 16:00 Power N/A
Chain Local Visits Original: 25th August 2017, 6th April 2018
Update: 18th August 2020

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