2020 Awards – Best Physical Space

The Pražírna Kavárna logo, a black and white line drawing of a roaster. Am I the only one who thinks it looks like a steam train?Next up today, the 2020 Coffee Spot Award shortlist for “Best Physical Space”, which was won last year by Pražírna Kavárna. One of the most important things for me is how a Coffee Spot looks and feels. This, to me, is just as important as the coffee.

This award celebrates those Coffee Spots in which there’s a pure joy in just sitting there, soaking it all in. It’s not just about physical beauty and elegance. Instead, it’s as much about atmosphere, layout and overall feel.

You can see who is on the shortlist after the gallery.

  • Let's get started with Press Coffee and its glorious new coffee shop/roastery in Phoenix.
  • Moving over to Prague where Coffee and Riot inhabits a vaulted, basement-like space.
  • Kiss the Hippo, Richmond, spread over two floors, with a lovely upstairs space.
  • Ue Coffee Roasters at The Old Smithy, easily the oldest (building) on this year's shortlist.
  • The Miners Coffee & Characters, a modern, Scandi-inspired fit out in Prague.
  • Quarter Horse Coffee, Birmingham, remodelled over the summer.
  • Staying in Birmingham, Wayland's Yard is still a lovely space, despite COVID-19!
  • Obscure Coffee in Chester has a bright, open front and a cosy, dark room at the back.
  • Ceylon House of Coffee just oozes quality on Guildford High Street.
  • 92 Degrees, like having coffee in someone's (very large) sitting room.
  • Queens of Mayfair, another oozing quality (to match that of the coffee).
  • Finally, Attendant Clerkenwell, a quirky, oddly-shaped gem.
Let's get started with Press Coffee and its glorious new coffee shop/roastery in Phoenix.1 Moving over to Prague where Coffee and Riot inhabits a vaulted, basement-like space.2 Kiss the Hippo, Richmond, spread over two floors, with a lovely upstairs space.3 Ue Coffee Roasters at The Old Smithy, easily the oldest (building) on this year's shortlist.4 The Miners Coffee & Characters, a modern, Scandi-inspired fit out in Prague.5 Quarter Horse Coffee, Birmingham, remodelled over the summer.6 Staying in Birmingham, Wayland's Yard is still a lovely space, despite COVID-19!7 Obscure Coffee in Chester has a bright, open front and a cosy, dark room at the back.8 Ceylon House of Coffee just oozes quality on Guildford High Street.9 92 Degrees, like having coffee in someone's (very large) sitting room.10 Queens of Mayfair, another oozing quality (to match that of the coffee).11 Finally, Attendant Clerkenwell, a quirky, oddly-shaped gem.12
Photo Carousel by WOWSlider.com v4.6

There are 12 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.

My cortado, made with the La Esperanza Colombian single-origin, roasted on-site and served in a glass, on a wooden tray, with a glass of water at the side.Press Coffee, The Roastery

Let’s begin in Phoenix, with the new coffee shop and roastery of old favourite, Press Coffee (which made it onto the Best Roaster/ Retailer shortlist). It’s a beautiful space with the coffee shop at the front, roastery at the back and a particularly lovely mezzanine above. It also has an amazing outdoor seating area which sits under a lattice-work extension at the front of the building, getting it onto the Best Outdoor Seating shortlist too!

A washed Colombian espresso from Rebel Bean, served in a classic white cup at Coffee and Riot in Prague.Coffee and Riot

From modern to (relatively) old, as we head over to Prague and Coffee and Riot, which occupies a pair of small, inter-connected rooms (small enough for Coffee and Riot to be shortlisted for the Smallest Coffee Spot Award). These have a basement-like feel (hence a place on the Coffee Spot with the Best Basement shortlist), the second of which is particularly lovely, which is why it’s here.

The Kiss the Hippo logo, an orange hippopotamus in silhouette.Kiss the Hippo, Richmond

Kiss the Hippo’s flagship coffee shop/roastery is right in the heart of Richmond on George Street. Spread over two floors, I liked both downstairs (where you’ll find the counter and, behind a glass wall at the back, the roastery) and the upstairs, which I was particularly taken with. Kiss the Hippo is also on this year’s shortlist for the Best Roaster/Retailer Award.

My flat white, made with the guest coffee, a washed El Salvador, and served at The Smithy, one of two Ue Coffee Roasters shops in Witney. I've drunk half of my flat white, which reveals Ue Coffee Roasters written on the inside rim of the cup.Ue Coffee Roasters at The Old Smithy

One of three Ue Coffee Roasters’ coffee shops in Witney (counting the cafe/kitchen at the roastery) this one is spread over two floors in The Old Smithy. No-one seems to know exactly how old The Old Smithy is (I suspect several hundred years), but it’s lovely, particularly the upstairs. The Old Smithy has also been shortlisted for the Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting Award.

The sign from outside The Miners Coffee & Characters in Prague.The Miners Coffee & Characters

Back in Prague, The Miners Coffee and Characters had only just opened in Vinohrady when I visited. It’s an interesting space, with an entry lobby area, the counter off to the left and the main seating ahead of you at the top of a broad flight of stairs. It has a minimalist, Scandi-inspired feel to it.

 

The Quarter Horse Coffee logo: a profile of a knight from a chess set, surrounded by an oval with the words "Quarter Horse Coffee" written around the outside.Quarter Horse Coffee

I’ve always liked Quarter Horse Coffee’s space in Birmingham, which got an honourable mention in the Awards when I first wrote about it in 2015. Over the summer, it got a complete makeover, which, in my opinion, just made it even better, cleverly breaking up a single space into multiple, cosy ones. Quarter Horse Coffee has also been shortlisted for the Best Flat White and Best Espresso Awards (thanks to an awesome tasting flight).

The new one-way system at Wayland's Yard to keep everyone safe during COVID-19.Wayland’s Yard, Birmingham

Staying in Birmingham, Wayland’s Yard is another large space, cleverly split up into smaller spaces, with lounge-style seating at the front, while the back holds more tables and chairs. It’s had a makeover since my first visit and I particularly enjoyed the addition of the booth on the left-hand side, just before the counter. Wayland’s Yard has also been shortlisted for the Best Espresso and Best Breakfast Awards.

A lovely flat white, made with Climpson & Sons signature Estate espresso, served in a classic yellow cup at Obscure Coffee in Chester.Obscure Coffee

Our next entry takes us to Chester and Obscure Coffee, which is split over two rooms, neither of which is very big. If you are claustrophobic, you might want to stick to the bright, well-lit front room, where a makeover of the tables has led to a lot more seating. However, my favourite, by far, is the small, cosy, windowless back room. Obscure Coffee has also been shortlisted for the Smallest Coffee Spot Award.

The logo of the London House of Coffee, the parent to the Ceylon House of Coffee, on the front of the counter.Ceylon House of Coffee

At the other end of the scale, the Ceylon House of Coffee opened this summer on Guildford High Street. Large and well-appointed, it’s a lovely spot, designed to reflect the 19th century coffee houses of Colombo, when Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) was a major coffee grower and exporter. Ceylon House of Coffee has also been shortlisted for the Best Roaster/Retailer and Most Popular Coffee Spot Awards.

The 92 Degrees logo, taken from above the counter on the Hardman Road coffee shop.92 Degrees

Moving up to Liverpool, 92 Degrees occupies a large bright, high-ceilinged space in an Art-Deco building dating from 1931 that was built as part of the School for the Blind. With its armchairs and sofas, it’s the sort of coffee shop that you could easily lose yourself in for an afternoon. Or possibly longer…

 

The unassuming façade of Queens of Mayfair, the central door flanked by two tall, square-paned bay windows. There's also a table on the pavement in front of the window to the left of the door.Queens of Mayfair

Queens of Mayfair is the second entry on this year’s shortlist which opened this year. Located in the heart of Mayfair, it oozes opulence, its fixtures and fittings in keeping with a high-end appeal which boasts the UK’s most expensive cup of coffee (although it’s a lot more than that). Queens of Mayfair has also been shortlisted for the Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot and Most Passionate About Coffee Awards.

My espresso, served in a classic black cup, at Attendant Clerkenwell, made with the Brazilian Esmeralda house espresso.Attendant Clerkenwell

Our final entry sees us staying in London with Attendant Clerkenwell at the top of Leather Lane, one of three (for now) Attendants. A lovely, quirky, irregularly-shaped spot with gloriously high ceilings, I particularly loved the five-sided back room where I spent most of my time. Attendant Clerkenwell has also made it onto this year’s shortlist for the Best Espresso and Happiest Staff Awards.


And the winner is Obscure Coffee
Runners-up: Queens of Mayfair and Attendant Clerkenwell

Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2020.


If you liked this post, please let me know by clicking the “Like” button. If you have a WordPress account and you don’t mind everyone knowing that you liked this post, you can use the “Like this” button right at the bottom instead.


Don’t forget that you can share this post with your friends using the buttons below.

7 thoughts on “2020 Awards – Best Physical Space

  1. Pingback: 2020 Awards – Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting | Brian's Coffee Spot

  2. Pingback: 2020 Awards – Best Espresso | Brian's Coffee Spot

  3. Pingback: 2020 Awards – Coffee Spot with the Best Basement | Brian's Coffee Spot

  4. Pingback: 2020 Awards – Best Outdoor Seating | Brian's Coffee Spot

  5. Pingback: 2020 Awards – Best Flat White | Brian's Coffee Spot

  6. Pingback: 2020 Awards – Best Breakfast | Brian's Coffee Spot

  7. Pingback: Attendant Clerkenwell | Brian's Coffee Spot

Please let me know what you think. Guidelines for comments are in the "Posts" drop-down menu.