Public Space

A flat white in a handleless ceramic cup at Public Space, Amsterdam.Public Space is another Amsterdam Coffee Spot that came highly recommended by various people, with the added bonus that it is a rare speciality coffee outpost north of the River IJ. Public Space is also unusual in that it is a restaurant serving speciality coffee, rather than a coffee shop serving great food. Public Space is open in the morning/afternoon for coffee and lunch (although a breakfast service is coming soon) before re-opening in the evening for a full dinner menu.

Occupying part of the ground floor of a very modern high-rise building in a new development (which is still under construction), Public Space is, as the name might suggest, very spacious, with a small outdoor seating area, and much more inside, where coffee shop style seating (sofas, armchairs) mixes with tables for more formal dining.

I can’t speak to the restaurant/dinner side of Public Space, having only visited once, on a Sunday lunchtime. However, even though it’s a restaurant rather than a coffee shop, Public Space more than holds its own when it comes to coffee, with a single-origin from Manhattan Coffee Roasters on espresso, another on daily batch brew, and multiple options on pour-over through the Tricolate brewer.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • On the ground floor of a tall, modern tower block, past the Albert Heijn supermarket...
  • ... stands Public Space, a restaurant and speciality coffee shop.
  • This is a better view of Public Space, its front all glass and concrete.
  • There's a little bit of outside seating here, in the shape of three picnic-style tables.
  • The entrance, meanwhile, is between the obligatory rows of parked bikes.
  • Stepping inside, you're greeted by this concrete counter, the kitchen...
  • ... visible behind it through an opening in the back wall.
  • Looking to the left of the counter, you can see how high the ceiling is at the front...
  • ... while it's only slightly lower at the back, supported by a row of concrete pillars.
  • The seating on this side of Public Space is a mix of individual tables...
  • ... which are laid out for formal dining.
  • The decor, meanwhile, is in keeping with the concrete theme...
  • ... although I was very taken with these illuminated frames on the walls.
  • There's more seating to the right of the counter, starting with...
  • ... this ten-person communal table at the front.
  • There's another communal table, which is behind this potted plant.
  • This one, however, has benches rather than chairs.
  • There's also this couch and comfortable chairs at the far end of Public Space.
  • Other lounge-style seating is dotted around, like this couch and comfortable chairs.
  • First and foremost, Public Space is a restaurant, and this features things like...
  • ... wine displayed on the wall.
  • However, it's also a fully-fledged speciality coffee shop...
  • ... with a Victoria Arduino Black Eagle espresso machine (pleasingly in black)...
  • ... and coffee from Rotterdam's Manhattan Coffee Roasters.
  • There is a separate lunch menu, along wtih drinks and pastries.
  • Lunch has starters, mains and a dessert. I decided to skip the main and just have the...
  • ... blue corn quesadilla starter...
  • ... and the steamed lemon cake dessert.
  • And, of course, there was coffee, a lovely flat white, served in an equally lovely...
  • ... handleless cup, which is where I'll leave you.
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Public Space is easily accessible from central Amsterdam by the free ferries which constantly shuttle across the River IJ from the northern side of Amsterdam Centraal Station. A short walk from the ferry terminal, it occupies part of the ground floor of a glass and concrete tower block next to an Albert Heijn supermarket.

The front of Public Space is all glass, with glass double doors offset to the right and three four-person picnic tables outside, along with plenty of bicycle parking. Inside, the front half of Public Space is open to a height of perhaps two storeys, while to the rear, the ceilings, which is supported on four, square concrete pillars, still impressively high. Overall, it’s around twice as wide as it is deep, with a central island counter directly ahead of you as you enter. You can order coffee to go here, or wait to be seated if you want to stay.

The seating is split into two areas, with around a third to the right of the counter, and the remainder to the left, while the kitchen is visible through an opening in the wall behind counter. The seating is a mix of two- and four-person tables, the bulk of which are to the left, with some lounge-style seating in the shape of armchairs and sofas. There’s a ten-person communal at the front on the right, while behind it is a smaller one, this time with benches. In all, Public Space seats around 60 inside and that’s with the tables by no means crammed in.

Public Space offers separate lunch and dinner menus, while before noon, it’s much more of a coffee shop, with a selection of pastries, although by the time you read this, there may well be a breakfast menu as well. I arrived on Sunday lunchtime, having taken the ferry across the River IJ from my hotel, the first time I’ve been north of the river, despite having been to Amsterdam on multiple occasions.

The full lunch menu has starters, main courses and dessert. Having been over-eating all week, I was trying to be good, so I had the blue corn quesadilla starter, skipped the main course and went straight to dessert, which was the steamed lemon cake.

I’ve had quesadillas in several locations around the world and have always found them to be a bit hit and miss. This one was okay, but probably confirms that quesadillas are not really for me. On the other hand, the lemon cake was excellent, a very lemony steamed sponge, with the sauce like a lemon custard. It was definitely one of the culinary highlights of my week in Amsterdam.

When it comes to coffee, Public Space uses Manhattan Coffee Roasters from nearby Rotterdam, with a single-origin on espresso (a naturally-processed Ethiopian during my visit), There’s another single-origin (which changes daily) on batch brew, while you have multiple options on pour-over through the Tricolate brewer, a new preparation method to me.

However, since this was my first coffee of the day, I kept things simple with a flat white, my coffee arriving in a beautiful, handleless cup. The naturally-processed Ethiopian went well with the milk, producing a smooth, well-balanced flat white, the perfect accompaniment to my lunch, and well worth the ferry ride across the IJ.

BERCYLAAN 301 • 1031 KP AMSTERDAM • NETHERLANDS +31 (0) 20 737 0822
Monday CLOSED Roaster Manhattan (espresso + filter)
Tuesday CLOSED Seating Tables, Sofas
Wednesday 09:00 – 16:00 / 18:00 – 23:00 Food Lunch, Dinner, Cakes
Thursday 09:00 – 16:00 / 18:00 – 23:00 Service Table
Friday 09:00 – 16:00 / 18:00 – 23:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 09:00 – 16:00 / 18:00 – 23:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 09:00 – 16:00 Power No
Chain No Visits 12th March 2023

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