Romantic Coffee Shop Date Suggestions
- Opposite, Queen Victoria St, Leeds
This new cafe in Leeds’ gentrified Victoria Quarter is the sister cafe to Opposite 2 launched in 2005 “opposite to” Leeds university. Owner Lou Henry, who says she “just fell” into the business, uses a higher coffee to milk ratio than most, makes her mocha with real chocolate and it’s a syrup-free zone. Each cup is brewed fresh to order, proving that good things do come to those who wait.
- Tina we Salute You, King Henry Walk, London
Owners Steve and Danny used to have a market stall on Brick Lane selling cup cakes, but decided to go for something a bit more permanent when they opened this cafe in Dalston earlier this year. A tempting range of baked goodies still lurks behind the glass counter, though. Take a seat around the Antipodean-style communal table, or customers can plonk on a sofa outside on clement days. Loyal drinkers sign the wall with a marker pen to notch up purchases rather than carry a card around. Don’t get too attached to the art on the walls, it changes every few months. And the name? It’s a long story, so best ask when you drop by – it’s a friendly place, they won’t mind telling you.
- Relish, Foundry Court, Wadebridge, Cornwall
An affable bunch who do a good range of coffees from macchiatos and flat whites to affogatos and even a fluffy – that’s just foam and sprinkles – as well as a good range of food alongside. A portion of the profits go to a local Cornish hedgehog rescue centre (ah!), so feel good fuelling your caffeine habit. There’s a deli next door if you want to stock up for picnics.
- Red Roaster, St James’s St, Brighton
A Brighton favourite. Unpretentious, functional, friendly and stuffed with locals who come for the excellent coffee and the best hot chocolates on the south coast. As well as the large indoor space there’s a smaller outdoor area for catching a few rays, although stalwarts sit outside year-round. There’s often good live music here in the evening, too.
- Dose Espresso, Long Lane, London
A small space with queues out the door at busy times, but office workers bypass the chains at the end of the street for one of New Zealander James Phillips’ coffees, crafted with love on his La Marzocco machine. There are a few seats inside, otherwise take away and explore the streets around Smithfield Market and the Barbican. Phillips maintains a strong ethical bias, promising to treat everyone well in the coffee process, be they growers at the start of the process to city analysts receiving their cup at the end.
- Kilimanjaro, 104 Nicolson St, Edinburgh
Amid the charity shops of Nicholson street, a mix of locals, students and tourists bypass Starbucks and head to this unpretentious place for a quality brew and a chance to settle down with the papers. There’s a good range of sandwiches, soups and all-day breakfasts, too.
- Roasters Coffee, Aberdeen Walk, Scarborough
Think of the Yorkshire seaside and you probably conjure up images of a nice warming cuppa as a haar blows in off the North Sea, but this café – owned and run by Barry Lawrenson – is the place to go for a superior coffee. A journey around the world in a cup, from Ethiopia to Nicaragua via Java, Colombia and India – Lawrenson has forged strong relationships with roasters, growers and import partners.
- Apple Tree, Barton Marina, Burton-on-Trent
This cafe has established a strong local following due in part to its young, welcoming staff – and it’s not every place that has narrow boats bobbing close by. As well as a good range of coffees and other drinks, the Apple Tree sources healthy foods locally and fairly, and has a deli attached as well. The courgette cake with lime icing is a winner.
- Coffee Aroma, Guildhall Street, Lincoln
Opened four years ago, this place has well-trained staff and good-quality coffee, which, the co-owner explains, he lets drip through his machine for longer than most for a richer flavour. On Friday and Saturday nights, it’s open until 11.30pm – a place for people to come and chill out rather than get hammered. It’s also open for breakfast with upmarket fare: eggs Benedict rather than butties.
- Monmouth Coffee, Monmouth St, London
In a tourist friendly-spot near Covent Garden, though you can also find them in their larger shop opposite Borough Market. If you’re not taking away, try and grab one of the tables at the back (not easy at busy times) or sit on the bench outside even if you’re not a smoker and watch the great and the good saunter by. A very tempting array of cakes, too.