Posts Tagged ‘indie coffee shops’

Reclaim the Streets Lincoln

June 13, 2020

Saturday 13 June 2020 day eighty two of coronavirus lockdown in Lincoln. How many weeks has the city had to pedestrianise the city centre leading up to and including Bailgate, to enable independent coffee shops and restaurants to put their tables in the streets?

It is a tragedy the number of coffee shops and tea rooms either closed or eking out a meagre living on takeaways.

Sincil Street two coffee shops, Central Coffee House and 200 Degrees.

Central Coffee House closed, overlooks sterile open space. No indication of when or if it will open.

200 Degrees opened a few weeks ago for takeaway, overlooks a sterile open space.

Stokes on High Bridge, High Street, will open in a few days time for takeaway only.

Coffee Aroma closed. Will open sometime in the near future for takeaway only. They wished to open with tables in the street. They asked and received an emphatic no from County Hall.

Unfortunately we will not agree to you increasing the number of tables and chairs you use or the size of the area that you have at the current time (your enclosure needs to still be only outside the frontage of your premises).

Not even the courtesy of an explanation.

Angel Coffee House, closed, no indication if or when may open.

Madame Waffle closed. Not open in the foreseeable future. Will announce when open.

Margaret’s Tea Room. Open for tea and coffee takeaway. Overlooks a square where would love to place tables.

The Cheese Society currently closed, adjacent to the same square overlooked by Margaret’s Tea Room, where they too could place tables and chairs.

Many tea shops on Steep Hill, but not open, no indication if or when will open.

I talked to the owner of one tea shop. She thinks she may be able to open with restrictions on numbers but no idea when.

The one exception, Bookstop Cafe, located in a Norman croft below a Norman building which houses Imperials Teas, purveyors of fine tea, coffee and chocolate. They opened a few weeks ago for takeaway tea and coffee, tables outside. The tables removed by edict of  a Town Hall jobsworth acting like the Stasi on a tip off.

In Bailgate only Sanctuary in the Bail open for takeaway tea and coffee. Would love to see Bailgate pedestrianised and tables in the street.

There are several restaurants in Bailgate. Only Elite on the Bail open, serving takeaway fish n chips out the back. Elite on the Bail overlooks a square where tables could be placed.

We must reclaim the streets.

We hear the sound of birdsong, the streets are traffic free, the cities are pollution free. There can be no return to normal as normal was not normal.

We have been jolted into another now. We must maintain our city centres car and pollution free.

In Athens in the evening the streets turn into restaurants. Athens is expanding its network of pedestrianised streets.

Northern Ireland is looking at expanding the number of tables in the streets.

Sheffield has plans to expand pedestrianised streets.

Paragon Chambers in Hull, coffee shop encouraged to place tables outside.

North Laine in Brighton the restaurants, coffee shops and other shops are in the street. There are plans to expand the pedestrianised streets.

Soho has plans to pedestrianise the area, turn into one large open air coffee shop and restaurant. Currently awaiting approval from Westminster Council.

Unless indie coffee shops and restaurants are allowed to spread their tables into pedestrianised streets few will survive covid-19 pandemic.

Many coffee shops have no future. Too small to manage social distancing. A kiosk can survive on takeaway only, a coffee shop with higher overheads cannot.

We had sunniest May on record, Mediterranean climate. The tragedy indie coffee shops and restaurants were not able to spread their tables into the street.

Win win for everyone. Kick starts the local economy, maintains social distancing, helps local businesses back on their feet, improves city centre ambience.

It is not only coffee shops at risk it is the entire supply chain. There are the coffee roasteries that supply the coffee shops, the growers who supply the coffee beans.

We all have to act. If not, we lose our coffee shops.

Talk to local councils and councillors, change the mindset that allows traffic into city centres, pedestrianise the city centre, allow indie coffee shops and restaurants to spread their tables into the street, no chains no pubs No Smoking.

Government has to extend furlough for local businesses if they are unable to open. Reducing social distancing from two metres to one metre does not help as it greatly increases the risk for staff and customers.

Lincoln should follow the example of Soho, Soho Summer Street Festival, introduce with immediate effect temporary measures for the summer, Sincil Street, High Street, Cornhill, The Strait, Steep Hill, Castle Hill and Bailgate, pedestrianised, tables in the street, indie coffee shops and restaurants, no chains no pubs No Smoking. Then carry out consultation with the aim to make permanent.

Update: Excellent news from Soho. The area to be pedestrianised, roads closed to traffic, indie coffee shops and restaurants to spread their tables into the streets. And not only Soho, Covent Garden and other areas too. The excellent news from Soho only serves to Illustrate how backward Lincoln and lacking in vision. County Hall and City Hall have had weeks to implement a similar scheme in Lincoln, enable indie coffee shops and restaurants to spread their tables into the street, to help them get back into businesses. It revitalises the local economy, improves the ambience of the city centre.

Covid-19 indie coffee shops

June 12, 2020

Will indie coffee shops survive covid-19 pandemic?

I will roughly divide thoughts, observations and conversations before lockdown, during lockdown and what will happen next.

Maybe ten days before lockdown, a visit to Nottingham a large city, not deserted but few people about. One coffee shop closing early few customers. Next coffee shop, few customers, less than half their usual number of customers,  numbers dropping daily.

A couple of days before lockdown, visiting Sheffield a large city, station deserted, a kiosk on my way into the city centre told me I would find the city centre deserted, few people about, little open, restaurants I passed by, the few that were open, the few that had customers maybe a couple of diners. I ate and had coffee at Marmadukes, a coffee shop usually very busy, I was the only person there. Business down by at least 80%. Coffee shops were closing at three. In part no customers, in part to let staff home before rush hour, not that there was a rush hour. Talking to the owner of another coffee shop, the question on his mind, how was he to survive?

Before lockdown, measures were already in place, hand sanitiser by the entrance, compostable coffee cups, contactless cards, no reusable cups.

The kiosk in Sheffield I passed by earlier, after I talked to them, a sign no reusable cups.

Lockdown a mixed blessing, at least cost of staff covered by furlough, rents deferred.

Lincoln a city during lockdown. The chains stayed open for a few days then closed. Indie coffee shops closed immediately. A few weeks ago, one large coffee shop a small chain opened for takeaway. A slow trickle of customers but I doubt it will cover the cost of two staff. The only advantage, they are open before the corporate chains, maybe they will attract and retain some of their clientele.

Many coffee shops have no future. Too small to manage social distancing. A kiosk can survive on takeaway only, a coffee shop with higher overheads cannot. The large coffee shop, once rents and business rates kick back in, would not survive.

We had sunniest May on record, Mediterranean climate. The tragedy indie coffee shops and restaurants not able to spread their tables into the street. Win win for everyone. Kick starts the local economy, maintains social distancing, helps local businesses back on their feet, improves city centre ambience.

One coffee shop asked. They received an emphatic no. They currently employ eight staff on furlough. When furlough ends six will lose their jobs leaving two for takeaway coffee, but not a viable businesses.

Unfortunately we will not agree to you increasing the number of tables and chairs you use or the size of the area that you have at the current time (your enclosure needs to still be only outside the frontage of your premises).

Not even the courtesy of an explanation.

Looking at Guildford, the corporate coffee chains that litter our town centres, cafes pretending to be coffee shops, three coffee shops. Of the three I cannot see Canopy Coffee or Surrey Hills surviving as they do not have the option to expand into the street. Krema yes, if allowed to expand into Tunsgate, if not no. When first open, Krema did have its tables in the street and was ordered to remove them.

It is not only coffee shops at risk it is the entire supply chain. There are the coffee roasteries that supply the coffee shops, the growers who supply the coffee beans.

We can hear bird song, streets are traffic free, cities pollution free. We have been jolted into another now. There can be no going back to normal as normal was not normal.

We have to reclaim the streets.

In Athens in the evening the streets turn into restaurants. Athens is expanding its network of pedestrianised streets.

Sheffield has plans to expand pedestrianised streets.

North Laine in Brighton the restaurants, coffee shops and other shops are in the street. There are plans to expand the pedestrianised streets.

Soho has plans to pedestrianise the area, turn into one large open air coffee shop and restaurant. Currently awaiting approval from Westminster Council.

We all have to act. If not, we lose our coffee shops.

Talk to local councils and councillors, change the mindset that allows traffic into city centres, pedestrianise the city centre, allow indie coffee shops and restaurants to spread their tables into the street, no chains no pubs No Smoking.

Find and locate your local indie coffee shops. Support them.

If anyone wishes to follow me on social media, I will try and post every day indie coffee shops worth visiting and supporting. No guarantee they are open or when they will open.

Buy coffee. If not from a local coffee shop, from a coffee roastery.

Buy bean-to-bar craft chocolate.

Support local businesses.

Government has to extend furlough for local businesses if they are unable to open. Reducing social distancing from two metres to one metre does not help as it greatly increases the risk for staff and customers.

Take back coffee culture

May 9, 2016
Jam of the Week

Jam of the Week

Adbusters Jam of the Week:  Take back coffee culture: Support indie coffee shops.

Despite years of backlash, Starbucks can still be found on every corner around the globe. Its efforts to create an ethical image have done little to hide its dominating nature.

For centuries, coffeehouses were meeting places for philosophers, artists and activists. That’s where big ideas percolated and revolutions were hatched. But who wants to talk politics at Starbucks? Despite their attempts to manufacture an atmosphere of creativity and community, Starbucks remains an invasive presence in any neighborhood.

This week let’s break the corporate chain. Take a stroll in your neighborhood and zero in on one independent coffee shop you really like. Get to know the owner and the baristas who work there. Make it the place where from now on you connect with your community and your friends.

A couple of blocks from Adbusters, here in the Fairview Slopes neighbourhood of Vancouver, is a wonderful little indie coffee shop called Wicked. We go there almost every day, often to strategize and cook up campaigns . . . there’s something truly wonderful about being plugged in like that.

This week let’s give the indie coffee movement a worldwide boost . . . let’s walk away from Starbucks and never go back.

This is the revolution of everyday life.

For the wild,

— Team Adbusters

Old Town Square in Prague, girl drinking from a Starbucks takeaway. Another girl approaches, ‘scuse me, can you tell me where I can find Starbucks?

One of those moments when you want to cringe.

Starbucks at Prague Castle

Starbucks at Prague Castle

Prague Castle, the location with the most stunning view over Prague, occupied by Starbucks. A grass terrace, a spiral stone staircase. They were even queuing.

Why do people drink this disgusting coffee? Do they have no self-respect? is there something wrong with their sense of taste?

And it is not only Starbucks, Caffe Nero, Costa, are no better.

Nor is there any excuse when there are quality indie coffee shops, with their own unique atmosphere, where the barista can tell you more than you ever wished to know about coffee, where the coffee actually tastes good, is usually sourced direct from the farms, where you meet interesting people, and they pay their fair share of tax.

If you find an indie coffee shop serving excellent coffee with atmosphere, tell your friends, make it your meeting place.

The very first coffee shops in London were where people went to read newspapers, to discuss the issues of the day.

Morning coffee in Stokes on High Bridge

January 17, 2013
Stokes on High Bridge

Stokes on High Bridge

latte and cappuccino

latte and cappuccino

It is not many coffee shops have been running for over 75 years, been in the coffee business for over a century, in a building dating from c 1540, on a mediaeval bridge, built on Norman foundations.

Stokes on High Bridge was plastered over as a Victorian ‘improvement’. It was restored in 1902 back to the original wooden beams. Now a Grade I listed building owned by English Heritage, leased to Stokes.

The fires on the first and second floors with their beautiful copper canopies, are not modern fakes. Originally fired by coal, then gas, now electric.

Last week, Stokes lovely and warm and cosy on first and second floors. Not today. The ground floor coffee bar cold. Each time the door was opened, a blast of Arctic air into the shop. The first and second floors cool. No insulation on the building, -5 C outside. earlier it had been -8 C.

Cappuccino and a Latte. Real coffee, not the rubbish that masquerades as coffee in Costa or tax dodging Starbucks.

I learnt something today. Serving coffee in soup bowl, is not the best way to serve coffee.

I also learnt one reason why people of no taste may drink what masquerades as coffee in Costa or Starbucks. Super-size the coffee into a soup bowl and people think they are getting a bargain. Quite why anyone would wish to drink a larger portion of something disgusting is still baffling. And still be ripped off, a coffee, a factory cake, and little change from a fiver.

I learnt that there was and maybe still is a loyalty card valid for all participating indie coffee shops in Lincoln. This is an excellent idea, and if it still exists, it needs a relaunch with publicity.

A variant of the Costa (dis)Loyalty Card

What also is needed is the Bailgate Pound, which can be stretched beyond The Strait, Steep Hill, and Bailgate to encompass other local businesses like indie coffee shops. The opportunity to launch a Bailgate Pound two years was lost because the business organisation that clams to represent local business proved to be clueless.

The local council fails to look after the local economy, does not even begin to comprehend a local economy, preferring instead to promote national chains (which drain money out of a local economy) not local businesses (which recycle money within the local economy).

A good example is Sincil Street. The only remaining heritage around the Central Market, which the council wishes to destroy.

The staff at Stokes are brilliant. You can tell they love their job, are proud of what they do, and are friendly with customers. Even though busy, they have time to chat. Only a couple of visits and you are acknowledged as a regular.

And of course they serve great coffee, delicious looking home made cakes.

Top Story in Make Mine Tea (Friday 18 January 2013)

Synchronicity: A lovely blonde who was in Stokes when I popped my head in a couple of weeks ago was not there. I asked where she was. To my surprise, Amazon. I mentioned Paulo Coelho, not known, but they were aware of The Alchemist. One of the two books I picked up from Readers Rest a couple of days ago (sadly closing down) was The Alchemist. Leaving Lincoln, I got a lift in during the morning, I did not fancy catching a bus in sub-zero temperature, I caught a taxi. Curious I asked the taxi driver where he was from. Brazil!

Café 44

December 27, 2012
Café 44

Café 44

Tea and bacon sandwich in Café 44. Lovely indie coffee bar with art by Phil Martin lining the walls.

Last week I popped my head into Café 44. It was packed.

I thought the same today. I was the only one there.

I ordered tea and a bacon sandwich. The bacon sandwich was a mistake. Not that there was anything wrong with it, just too much to eat for mid-morning, a scone or a biscuit would have sufficed.

Downstairs the walls were lined with paintings of Lincoln by Phil Martin. Upstairs, via some very narrow and steep stairs reflecting the age of the building, more art. By the entrance, a collection of photos of Lincoln.

Café 44 is worth a visit for the art alone, though polite to have at least a cup of coffee or tea.

Something I have noticed with indie coffee bars, something you will never find in Costa or tax dodging Starbucks, is a love of what they are doing. This was apparent at Café 44 as soon as I walked in the door.

I had chat with who I assumed was the owner and the staff. All were very pleasant and cheerful. What I noticed was they seemed to know their customers not only to greet by name but also by what they would require.

The coffee is Stokes, quality coffee, fair trade. Served in glass, not a mug or a soup bowl.

The cakes are sourced locally, from a coffee shop in Burton Road.

One thing Lincoln has, a lot of indie coffee shops and few chains like Costa or tax dodging Starbucks.

Why go in Starbucks or Costa for rubbish coffee and factory cakes and sit a a cloned corporate coffee shop, when you can be surrounded by real art, sip real coffee and eat home made cakes?

Café 44 is located in Sincil Street more or less opposite the main entrance to the Central Market.

It is tragic that Sincil Street is earmarked for demolition. It is all what remains of the heritage around the Central Market, and even it has been ruined and the market a shadow of its former self. It is heritage that provides opportunities for indie coffee shops like Café 44 and lends character to an area.

Where there is development, there is a lot of money sloshing around. Plus a council lacking in vision and failing to look after the best interests of a thriving local economy.

Contrast threatened destruction of Sincil Street with North Laine in Brighton. A thriving, vibrant local economy full of indie coffee shops like Café 44, a diverse range of small independent retailers, an area of character worth a visit.

Indie coffee shops in Lincoln

December 21, 2012
Café 44

Café 44

Olibers coffee shop

Oliver’s coffee shop

Modern Classics

Modern Classics

Bunty's Tea Room

Bunty’s Tea Room

I was pleasantly surprised at the number of new coffee shops in Lincoln.

What is good news is to see that indie coffee shops have got in first, rather than aggressive chains and peddlers of bad coffee like Costa and tax dodger Starbucks.

Café 44 in Sincil Street, art by Phil Martin on the walls, quality fairtrade coffee from Stokes.

Oliver’s coffee shop in The Strait, nicely done out, but not always open.

Modern Classics, a little further up The Strait than Olibers, an unfortunate garish sign outside, inside very retro, more of a traditional café than a coffee bar, fresh made cakes, locally sourced food, Stokes coffee.