Bold Street Coffee Update

The Bold Street Coffee sign, back outside the shop on Bold Street, Liverpool.Bold Street Coffee, a legend of Liverpool’s speciality coffee scene, was opened in 2010 by the equally legendary Sam Towil (who, incidentally, now lives in Llangollen, where he runs Sam’s Coffee). I visited in 2013, returning almost exactly seven years later to see how it was faring during the COVID-19 pandemic. In between, Bold Street Coffee has been through a lot, including having to leave its beloved Bold Street home in January 2018, only to return at the end of the year, bigger and better than ever.

Then came 2020 and COVID-19 which forced Bold Street Coffee to close, along with everyone else, in March. Bold Street Coffee partially reopened in May, offering an extremely popular weekend take-out service, before fully reopening in early July, following the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions in England.

If you’re familiar with Bold Street Coffee of old, the new layout is very similar, only with a larger, open kitchen and more seating at the back. There are also three tables outside on the temporarily-pedestrianised Bold Street. The menus are slightly limited for the moment: there’s no second option on espresso, while filter is restricted to batch-brew, but hopefully things will be back to normal soon.

You can see what else I found after the gallery.

  • Bold Street Coffee, back on Liverpool's Bold Street...
  • ... and how it looked on my first visit in 2013. There have been changes to...
  • ... the street itself, which has been temporarily pedestrianised during COVID-19.
  • As a result, Bold Street Coffee has put these three four-person tables on the street...
  • ... which join the existing bench outside.
  • There are details of the takeaway breakfast menu in the window...
  • ... as well as some specials on a blackboard by the door.
  • Stepping inside, here's a view of the front part of Bold Street Coffee...
  • ... and here's a broadly equivalent view from my visit in 2013.
  • ... back when the tables were all a little closer together!
  • The biggest change is against the right-hand wall where these round tables used to be.
  • Now there are just two small tables, a solitary, single-person one...
  • ... and this long, thin, three-person one, a reaction, I suspect, to COVID-19.
  • The counter has retained its cusomary position on the left...
  • ... while opposite it are this box seat and world map, both original features.
  • The counter in more detail...
  • ... and a broadly equivalent view from 2013.
  • The biggest change is at the back where all there used to be was this little nook.
  • Now Bold Street Coffee carries on with an open kitchen on the left...
  • ... effectively an extension of the counter, complete with under-counter seating.
  • There's more seating in the space opposite: two of these four-person tables...
  • ... and one solitary two-person table.
  • Bold Street Coffee has always displayed artwork. This is by Ben Horton (from 2013).
  • During my latest visit, the display was 'Ain't No Time To Hate', a collaboration between...
  • ... local and international artists, Bold Street Coffee and The Anthony Walker Foundation.
  • More of the artwork from 'Ain't No Time To Hate' in the back of Bold Street Coffee.
  • As well as the temporary exhibitions, this map of the world's coffee growing regions...
  • ... has been on the walll opposite the counter since at least 2013.
  • Obligatory light-fitting shot.
  • To business. The counter is much as it was, although the equipment has been upgraded.
  • The espresso machine still takes pride of place at the front of the counter...
  • ... with the filter set-up on the back wall behind it.
  • The filter options during my most recent visit. There was...
  • ... a dedicated brew bar before COVID-19 (this is from 2013) which should be back soon.
  • At the other end of the counter is the cake selection...
  • ... behind which is an old-fashioned turntable, along with a record library (from 2013).
  • The tea, coffee and food menus are displayed on the wall behind the counter...
  • ... with all the food being prepared in the open kitchen at the back.
  • I made the most of this to have the BSC Veggie Fry, which came in a cardboard tray.
  • I paired this with a lovely flat white, served in a proper cup and...
  • ... with some gorgeous latte art, which is where I'll leave you.
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The first change is related to COVID-19, the council having pedestrianised Bold Street from 10:00 – 18:00, allowing the many restaurants, bars and cafés to put tables outside on the busy street. These are limited to the width of the shop-front, so Bold Street Coffee, which is quite narrow, can only fit three four-person tables outside, but they’re a welcome addition to the bench, which is still there, in front of the window.

Talking of which, the front of Bold Street Coffee is still pretty much all glass, with the large window on the left and door on the right. Inside, it goes a long way back, considerably further than before, the result of a refit, funded by the successful Kickstarter campaign which followed Bold Street Coffee’s departure and subsequent return in 2018.

Originally, Bold Street Coffee occupied maybe two-thirds of the depth of the building, with seating in the first third, the counter in the second third and a very small seating area beyond that. Now it extends to the back of the building, where you’ll find an expanded, open kitchen and more seating, plus tantalisingly, steps leading down to the basement. This, however, is still a work in progress, but hopefully will be open soon.

The front two thirds of Bold Street Coffee haven’t changed that much, with the front third given over to the seating. The long bench against the left-hand wall is still there, lined with two-person tables (usually eight, but reduced to six due to COVID-19), while there is more seating opposite, against the right-and wall. This currently has just two tables, a long, thin, three-person one and a solitary small, square, one-person table.

The middle third remains the domain of the counter, which is still on the left, although it’s undergone something of a makeover since my 2013 visit. Opposite is a large, box-shaped bench along the right-hand wall, above which is a map of the world, showing the coffee-growing regions (both are original features).

The final third is new, the space created by the refit. On the left, following the counter, is the open kitchen, with some counter-style seating along the front, complete with six stools. It’s a bit high for working/eating, but is very good if you’re just drinking coffee. Next are the stairs to the basement, then the toilet, right at the back. Meanwhile, on the right, there are three tables, a pair of four-person ones and a solitary two-person one, although I suspect there were more pre-COVID.

Bold Street Coffee is still very loud, although at least I appreciated the 1980s classic rock that was playing when I came in (chosen by the barista and played on a turntable behind the counter).

A final thing that hasn’t changed is the excellence of the coffee. Bold Street Coffee currently has a bespoke house blend from Has Bean on espresso, which made for an excellent flat white, sweet and fruity. There are plans for this to be joined by a single-origin option in due course. Similarly, a return to serving V60 and AeroPress is on the cards, but for now there’s only batch brew, with two options, one from Has Bean, the other from a guest roaster, with a new option going up every three days or so. During my visit, the guest was from The Barn, with local roaster, Crosby Coffee, due on next.

I was there for lunch, Bold Street Coffee making much of its “Buoys”, toasted brioche buns with various fillings. I was tempted, but went for the BSC Veggie Fry, selecting poached eggs and extra toast, which was a good move. Although it came with toast, this was on the bottom with everything (homemade beans, spinach, mushroom, hash browns, plus my poached eggs) piled on top. It was, by the way, excellent, so much so that I could forgive it being served in a cardboard box!

89 BOLD STREET • LIVERPOOL • L1 4HF +44 (0) 151 707 0760
Monday 08:00 – 18:00 Roaster Has Bean + Guests (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 08:00 – 18:00 Seating Tables, Counter, Bench; Bench, Tables (outside)
Wednesday 08:00 – 18:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 08:00 – 18:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 08:00 – 18:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 09:00 – 17:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 09:00 – 17:00 Power Yes
Chain No Visits Original: 20th September 2013
Update: 7th September 2020

If you liked this Coffee Spot, then check out the rest of Liverpool’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Liverpool.

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5 thoughts on “Bold Street Coffee Update

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