Next in the 2022 Coffee Spot Awards is the shortlist for “Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot”. In 2021 this went to Bank Street Social and it celebrates those Coffee Spots which are firmly rooted in, and which serve, their local communities. Unsurprisingly, the shortlist contains some of my favourite Coffee Spots of the year, which are often slightly off the beaten track.
This Award has quite a wide geographical spread, with Coffee Spots from across America, ranging from California to Portland, Maine, while in the UK, there are several much closer to home on The Wirral.
You can see the shortlist after the gallery.
There are 12 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.
Starting on The Wirral, we have Lateral, a coffee/brunch spot by day and restaurant in the evening. Located in West Kirby (which I can see from my bedroom window), Lateral opened at the start of last year, and is already firmly rooted in the local community. Lateral has also been shortlisted for this year’s Best Filter Coffee Award.
Staying on The Wirral, Elephant Coffee in Neston is a veteran of the area’s speciality coffee scene. Using a bespoke espresso blend roasted up the road in Birkenhead by Adams + Russell, Elephant Coffee is a lovely, cosy coffee shop. Elephant Coffee has also made it onto the shortlists for this year’s Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting and Best Flat White Awards.
Like Lateral, Smalls is a relative newcomer, having only opened at the start of the year. However, it’s already a firm favourite in the West End neighbhourhood of Portland, Maine, where it serves as coffee shop, restaurant and bar. As if that wasn’t enough, at the back of Smalls is a lovely little store, selling groceries, gifts, candles and personal care products, with an emphasis on reuse and local produce.
Staying in Maine and keeping with the theme of multiple roles, Elements is in Biddeford, where it acts as book store, bar and coffee shop, just as the name suggests. All the coffee is roasted by sister company Elements Coffee Roasters, with a standard espresso-based menu plus batch brew and pour-overs.
Back on The Wirral, we have Blooming Skull Coffee in Bebington. Although only offering takeaway coffee, Blooming Skull Coffee is firmly embedded in the local community, with a constant stream of people popping in for coffee during my two visits. Blooming Skull Coffee has also been shortlisted for the Best Takeaway Coffee Award.
Back in America, but this time on the west coast, we find ourselves in Niles in the East Bay, home to Devout Coffee, which has been serving some excellent coffee from its home on Niles Boulevard for more than ten years. Originally this was roasted in the back of the shop, but recently production has moved to a dedicated roastery located next door. Devout Coffee has also been shortlisted for the Best Outdoor Seating and Best Cake Awards.
Talking of places which used to roast on site, we have KaffeeKirsche Café & Bakery in Kreuzberg, Berlin. The roastery moved to a dedicated facility in Tempelhof at the end of last year, leaving a lovely, bright coffee shop on a shady corner. While not as famous as some fellow Kreuzberg specaility coffee legends, KaffeeKirsche is a firm neighbourhood favourite. KaffeeKirsche is also on this year’s shortlist for the Best Filter Coffee Award.
We’re back in America for the last five entries on the shortlist, starting in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, home since 2005 to the original Café Grumpy. Although I knew it from its Manhattan coffee shops, this is where it all began for Café Grumpy, with the roastery just down the street. The modest exterior hides an extensive interior, complete with spacious back room.
Moving to Austin, Texas, and another ex-roastery space in the shape of Flat Track Coffee. The roaster lived in the back of the coffee shop before moving out to to sister shop, Palomino Coffee. When I was there on Saturday morning, the line at the counter often snaked around all the way to the cycle shop which occupies the other half of the building. Flat Track is also on the shortlists for this year’s Best Outdoor Seating and Best Flat White Awards.
Staying in Austin, out next entry is Fleet Coffee, occupying an altogether smaller space in East Austin. A multi-roaster with a rotating cast of roasters from across America, Fleet Coffee has a menu that would put many sit-in coffee shops to shame despite only having outdoor seating, something that also sees it on the shortlist for the Best Outdoor Seating Award.
The Proper Cup is the second entry from Portland, Maine on this year’s shortlist. Located in the residential neighbourhood by Back Cove, it’s a lovely spot, serving Flight Coffee Co. from Bedford, New Hampshire. After two years of serving takeaway only due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s recently reopened for sit-in custom after a complete refit.
Our final entry is from New Orleans.Lowpoint is the spiritual successor of old favourite, Sólo Espresso, taking over the premises and filling the hole in the neighbourhood left when Sólo Espresso had to close in 2020. Offering some excellent coffee and the same warm welcome as Sólo Espresso, Lowpoint has also been shortlisted for the Coffee Spot with the Best Basement Award.
The winner will be announced on Monday, 2nd January. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2022.
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