The third shortlist in the 2021 Coffee Spot Awards is for the “Coffee Spot with the Best Basement” Award which went to Short + Stout in 2020. As regular readers will know, I have a soft spot for Coffee Spots with good basements. To some, a basement is a dark, sometimes dingy, cramped space. However, when they are at their best, basements are cosy, welcoming spaces that provide the perfect spot to curl up with your coffee.
This award celebrates those Coffee Spots with outstanding basements, the sort of places you want to go and spend all day in! It also includes those Coffee Spots which, while not technically basements, have that basement-like feel to them. I must confess that theis year I was struggling a little for entries on this shortlist, so I may have stretched that definition more than I normally do.
You can see the shortlist after the gallery.
There are eight Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.
I’ve been meaning to visit Chief Coffee in Chiswick since it opened in 2015, so, of course, when I did finally visit, it was while the basement was closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, I did get to peer in through the door and the pinball machines looked very fine. What’s that? Didn’t I mention that as well as being an excellent coffee shop (good enough for a place on the Best Filter Coffee Award shortlist), Chief Coffee also offers loads of arcade games (top floor) and pinball (basement)? Shame on me!
Sticking with basements I didn’t actually get to sit in, Electric Coffee Co. on Goldhawk Road has a lovely, multi-roomed basement, although at least with this one I got to walk through it on my way to the toilet (as with Chief Coffee, the basement was closed at the time due to COVID-19 restrictions). Electric Coffee Co. was also shortlisted for the Best Cake and Most Popular Coffee Spot Awards.
When I first visited Tilt in 2016, Tilt hadn’t long since opened and the basement was still a work in progress. On my return over five years later, I was pleased to see that the basement (both rooms) was open and full of pinball machines. Just for good measure, Tilt had also added a top floor and, to keep me on my toes, is planning to open another room in the basement! Tilt is also on this year’s shortlist for the Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting Award.
Tucked away in an interestingly-shaped corner in Coventry, Bean & Leaf has a wonderfully cosy basement, accessed via a narrow staircase at the back of the wonderfully cosy upstairs. If there was ever a place to while away an afternoon with some excellent coffee, then this is it! Talking of which, Bean & Leaf has been shortlisted for the Best Espresso and Happiest Staff Awards.
This is the original Java Roastery, which began life as Java Lounge in Moseley Village in 2005. Since then it has grown considerably in size, but it still retains the original basement, a wonderful affair full of sofas and armchairs that offers a contrast to the spacious, light-filled upstairs. Java Roastery has also been shortlisted for the Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting and Best Physical Space Awards.
Caffi Caban was an unexpected find in the wonderful Snowdonia countryisde (which earned a place on the Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot shortlist). Technically, there isn’t a basement, but there’s a wonderful outdoor terrace (good enough for the Best Outdoor Seating shortlist), and beneath that, a spacious garden which I’m classifying as a basement for this award. And a very fine basement (err, I mean, garden) it is!
The Jester’s Tower is on the top floor of a 13th century postern tower in Conwy town walls (which is why it’s also on the shortlist for this year’s Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot and Best Physical Space Awards). From there, stairs lead down to a lower floor, which, while techincally not a basement, has all the qualities of one, including some lovely sofas.
Wimbledon’s Saucer & Cup brings this shortlist to a close with an actual basement. It’s another place that, like Chief Coffee, is somewhere that I’ve wanted to visit ever since it opened in 2014. Even better, the basement was actually open when I visited. Wonders will never cease! Saucer & Cup has also been shortlisted for the Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station and Best Espresso Awards.
Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2021.
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