Over the past year, we've seen a range of new collaborations in the artisan coffee scene. Dunne and Frankowski brought artisan coffee to the front of a Barber's in Fitzrovia. Leya's in Shoreditch opened offering artisan coffee in the environment of a high-end restaurant. The University of Warwick have worked to bring artisan coffee to all its commercial outlets on campus.
The Gentlemen Baristas have brought a new (and perhaps long overdo) collaboration to the London Coffee scene. Specialty Coffee but in a British-style pub.
Meet the Victoria, a refurbished pub just off of Mile End Road and Mile End Station. Completely transformed by the Yummy Pub Co, the Victoria retains the traditional pub facade and interior, but adds an endless Swiss-army knife of quirks such as a cocktail bar in the basement and a set of themed rooms at the top.
|The Gentlemen Baristas Themselves|
Matt (@Gladieater) and I are were invited to attend their "coffee" soft launch, a preamble before the launch of the Victoria itself. Edward from the team greeted us at seven in the morning in typical Victorian-style dress sporting a waxed handlebar mustache and quickly ushered us inside.
Right in the front of the pub, separated by rabbit wire is the Gentlemen's Baristas' spot. This is akin to a coffee shop within a bar, not simply an espresso machine behind one. The creation of Henry Ayers, a judge of the UK Barista Championships and Edward Parkes, a trained actor turned coffee expert, this is the first planned site for the Gentlemen Baristas, culminating in the opening of a standalone store sometime later this year.
Henry and Edward explain that customer service and politeness are at the forefront of their operation, which fits with their apt name and "gentlemen" theme. They are currently working with a roaster in the South West. All their coffee carries their "Gentlemen Baristas" branding and there are hopes to move their roasting operation to London in the future.
Henry and Edward have definitely caught on to something. The space ticks all the boxes. For those wanting breakfast or a snack, there's the pub kitchen upstairs. Presumably those at the pub with friends can order a coffee instead if they don't fancy a drink. But for those who want to have a more intimate chat or experience with a barista- there's a large table with four bar chairs opposite the espresso machine.
It's a great set up and a smart collaboration. One to definitely check out if you live in the East End and definitely a welcome addition to the long stretch of Mile End Road, an area that has quite a shortage of specialty coffee.
110 Grove Road