Starbucks, Costa & Cafe Nero… no thank you, I’ll take one of these unique independents instead
Last Saturday was ‘Small Business Saturday’, a campaign that encourages people to support small businesses in their communities by shopping local – something very close to my heart. I wanted to get involved and help, and what better way than to create a guide to Brighton’s best independent coffee shops.
I have actually been working on this all year, testing out all the places you’ve recommended to me on Twitter, and now finally, I’ve got my act together and written this.
As I’m more of a tea than a coffee drinker you’ll have to forgive me that there’s not a very detailed coffee evaluation. These spots are worthy of the mention for so much more than just their coffee, as you’ll see when you read my top 10.
1. Twin Pines – 11 St James’ Street
This new kid on the block is effortlessly cool and the perfect portal to get lost in – especially if you go downstairs, which feels more like a living room than a coffee shop. The coffee cups are a real treat too, handmade by Finola Ceramics. There’s no WiFi because this place is old school, so put the tech down and soak up the stylish 1920s decor. Open from 9am every day.
2. Salvage Cafe, 84 Western Road
Here everything is for sale, from the seats you sit on to the pictures on the walls. In fact, last time I visited we ended up bringing a rather lovely vintage clam-shaped sofa home. There’s more than 20 different types of tea and plenty of cake to indulge in too. Open from 8:30am weekdays and 9am Saturday and 11am Sunday.
3. Coffeetzar – 97 Trafalgar Street
Amongst the hustle and bustle of Brighton’s vibrant lanes, there’s a tranquil haven that is Coffeetzar. Bright and airy with a shabby chic feel about it, Coffeetzar serves up smooth Cuban coffee and selection of homemade cakes and savouries, with gluten-free and vegan options aplenty. Open from 8:30am Monday-Saturday and 9:30am Sunday.
4. Marwoods – 52 Ship Street
Prepare to fall down a rabbit hole before walking into Marwoods, as this place feels like a lucid dream. Look up and down when you visit, as there’s much to take in. Kamikaze action men, taxidermy and model planes clutter this tiny café but in a way that’s completely brilliant and fascinating. Don’t forget to explore the secret garden out back too. Open from 8am weekdays, 9am Saturday and 10am Sunday.
5. The Flour Pot Bakery – 40 Sydney Street
Don’t be fooled by the name, The Flour Pot may have started out as an artisan bakery but it’s grown into much more. Locally roasted and freshly ground Small Batch coffee is offered alongside a range of breads, cakes, pastries and warming soups. The decor is beautiful too all marble, copper and wood, like it’s straight out of The White Company catalogue. Open from 8am Monday-Saturday and 9am Sunday.
6. Bond Street Coffee – 15 Bond Street
These guys are the coffee connoisseurs of Brighton, serving coffee that’s ethically traded and sourced from privately owned farms and co-operatives of small hold farmers around the world. The beans are also roasted by them at their roastery near Handcross, West Sussex. My favourite spot is the upcycled bus seat in the window, perfect to share between two. Tea comes in a proper teapot and it’s nothing short of excellent. Open from 8am on weekdays, 9am Saturday and 10am Sunday.
7. Nowhere Man – 53 Upper North Street
Just like a time machine, Nowhere Man transports you back to the 70s with its hipster cool retro decor. Downstairs also doubles up as a music and comedy venue. Arrive early to bag the best seat in the house – up at the window in the cosy leather armchair. Order the huge pancake stack if you’re feeling peckish. Vegan or gluten intolerance? That’s not a problem here either. Open from 8:30am weekdays and 9am weekends.
8. Pelicano – 28 Sydney Street
Right in the heart of the North Laine, on Sydney Street is Pelicano. A roastery house, not just a coffee shop. It serves single-origin artisan coffee (freshly roasted each week), a large range of loose teas and freshly made sandwiches, salads, paninis and breakfast snacks every day. Sit out front and let the quirky characters of Brighton entertain you or hideaway in the garden out back. Open from 9:30am every day except Saturday, when it opens at 8:30am.
9. Moksha Caffe – 4-5 York Place
Down on York Place, this unsung hero and family run cafe has been going about its business quietly for 9 years. The coffee is roasted locally in Littlehampton and the cafe even has its own ‘Moksha blend’, which can be bought to drink in, or as beans to take out. The Huevos Benedictos breakfast is one of my favourites too. Open from 7am weekdays and 8am weekends.
10. Cafe Coho – 53 Ship Street
On the corner of ship street, right next to Marwoods, is Cafe Coho. The coffee served is Union Coffee, which is hand-roasted in small batches to ensure paramount quality and freshness. Food-wise I can never resist the toasted sausage bap with homemade chutney. This spot is open late too (until 7pm), so it’s great for an after-work rendezvous. Open from 7am weekdays and 9am weekends.
There must be hundreds of coffee shops in Brighton that are worthy of mentions but I couldn’t squeeze them all into the post. However, if there’s somewhere I’ve missed off that is really quite unique, please leave a comment and let me and other readers know! As always, please click the little heart if you’ve liked the blog.