Timberyard, Seven Dials
When the London’s Best Coffee app informed me that a new espresso bar had opened right on my usual route through Covent Garden up to UCL, I knew that it wouldn’t be long before I stopped by. And I’m glad I did, because the new Timberyard location has quickly become one of my favourite places in town for my morning boost.
This is their second location—I hadn’t previously visited their Old Street shop, simply because that’s not a neighbourhood I pass through very frequently. This new space is positively cavernous, especially given the downtown location: seating spread out over two floors, with a large central service area that practically overflows with delicious sandwiches and treats.
Like the Old Street location, the decor is faux-distressed, assembled from mismatched armchairs and suitcase coffee tables, which may or may not actually come from thrift stores. That aesthetic hides a very tech-savvy, business-oriented core. There’s a bookable conference room in the basement, and an A/V room with a data projector and sound system that patrons are invited to use if they’re not creating a distraction. Many of the counter seats upstairs come with an iPad on a stand, for casual web browsing. I imagine they’re hoping that somewhere in the shop, the next billion-dollar (OK, pound) startup is gathering steam as a rag-tag bunch of spunky twentysomethings sit huddled around the pale glow of a Macbook.
They also serve coffee. In fact, they serve the hell out of it. Your drink will arrive on a heavy wooden slab, accompanied by a sugar bowl, a water bottle and a glass. This presentation is probably the prettiest I’ve experienced in the city, inevitably made even prettier through the substitution of a Rocket Cup.
My espresso was delicious, too. I have a theory that the best way to pull a perfect shot is to use a brand new espresso machine. That’s useful for me (I can simply seek out newly opened cafes every day), and less useful for the cafes (unless they want to buy a new machine every two weeks). It also probably helps that they draw their water from a reverse osmosis machine, which suppresses some of the variability in the city’s water supply that they otherwise might have to work around.
I have since also indulged in some of the treats and lunches at both Timberyard locations, and their food is as tasty as their coffee. The service is always friendly, too (the manager recognized me during a return visit, and asked if I had brought the cup again). You can bit I’ll be there plenty more times before my sabbatical runs out.
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