We kick off the second day with shortlist for the 2020 Coffee Spot Award for “Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting”, won last year by Coffee Addict.
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. Note that I was back writing about Coffee Addict again this year, but I decided to keep Coffee Addict off the shortlist so that someone else would have a chance of winning.
You can see who that might be after the gallery.
There are ten Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.
We’ll start in Dublin with Brother Hubbard South, a delightful brunch spot on the south side of the city, home to some awesome brass (or maybe copper) light-fittings that hang from the ceilings in both rooms. These kept me more than sufficiently distracted while I waited for my breakfast (which earned a spot on the Best Breakfast shortlist). You can also sit on the terrace, which earned a spot on the shortlist for the Best Outdoor Seating Award.
Moving on to Witney in Oxfordshire, where Ue Coffee Roasters has a lovely coffee shop in the delightful Old Smithy. However, it was the lights which caught my eye and won it a place on this shortlist, specifically the copper pipe light fittings that run around the walls and ceilings both upstairs and down. Ue Coffee was also shortlisted for the Best Physical Space Award.
Crossing the pond to Atlanta, Georgia, and Octane: Westside, another coffee shop with some impressive lighting. As well as the naked filament light bulbs hanging down over the bar, I was particularly taken by the glitter ball in the middle of the ceiling. Sadly, it was not in use during my (early morning) visit. Octane: Westside has also been shortlisted for the Happiest Staff Award.
Staying the USA, but moving on to Chicago (mirroring my last trip before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold), I was very taken with Fairgrounds, not least because of the Chemex lampshades. However, there were plenty more fancy light fittings to keep me amused as I pondered the spread of COVID-19. By the end of that day, I’d decided to come home. Fairgrounds is also on the shortlist for the Best Breakfast Award.
Staying in Chicago, Intelligentsia in Wicker Park was the last coffee shop I visited before I cut my trip short due to the pandemic. As well as enjoying the coffee, I was struck by the ceiling full of light fittings, which nicely distracted me from the fact that the Governor of Illinois had just announced that all bars, cafes and restaurants would close that evening…
Back in the UK, Notes on St Martin’s Lane was the first coffee shop I had sat in for almost three months. While enjoying my cortado, I reacquainted myself with the lovely light fittings, including the angle-poise lamp chandelier. When I first wrote about Notes in 2013, there was no Best Lighting Award, so I’ve been unable to give it due credit until now. Notes is also on the Best Flat White and Brian’s Coffee Spot Special Award shortlists.
The same goes for the Press Room in Surbiton, which I also wrote about in 2013 before I’d started the Best Lighting Award. Here the coffee not only comes in cups, but it’s written in light bulbs along the wall! There’s also a lovely light bulb chandelier at the back, plus some beautiful lights over the counter. The Press Room is also on the Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station and Brian’s Coffee Spot Special Award shortlists.
Having put Notes, Trafalgar Square on the shortlist, I could hardly miss off Notes, King’s Cross, which has the same angle-poise lamp chandelier, as well as some gorgeous exposed bulbs on the ends of copper pipes. Ironically, when I first wrote about it in 2015, it was narrowly edged out of that year’s shortlist (the first time the Award had featured) by Notes in Crossrail Place. Notes is also shortlisted for the Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station and Best Outdoor Seating Awards.
Staying in London, but over in Hammersmith, Carbon Kopi made an impact, not least for all its fabulous light fittings. I was particularly taken with the ones in the windows. And the ones hanging over the table at the back. Not to mention the reflections of the light bulbs in the glass domes at the counter… Carbon Kopi has also been shortlisted for the Best Outdoor Seating and Best Espresso Awards.
Our final entry on this year’s shortlist is also from London, the original Caravan at Exmouth Market to be precise. I remember being fascinated by the lighting on previous visits, going as far as to take the same pictures of the same light fittings, so this time I thought I should honour it with a place on the shortlist. Caravan has also been shortlisted for the Best Flat White and Happiest Staff Awards.
Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2020.
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