If there’s one thing I’m discovering about life in the big city it’s that the obvious places to go are not always the best. For example there was no question over where we were spending our first night of freshers week back in September – GATECRASHER. Have we been back since? No. I find this also applies to coffee shops. Most people will think ‘coffee? STARBUCKS’. But I’m getting bored of the big chains; you always know exactly what you’re getting and what you’re getting isn’t always great. So me and my pal Sarah are making it our mission to discover alternative places to go for a good ol’ chinwag over a coffee and cake, and we were not disappointed this week when we tried Urban Coffee Company for the first time.
Urban Coffee Company is an independently run set of three coffee emporiums in Birmingham. Sarah and I visited their flagship emporium on Church Street just off St. Phillip’s square, but you can also find them in the Jewellery Quarter and in Harborne.
The first thing I noticed was how full the shop was compared to the relatively quiet streets outside – you got the impression you had been let in on a secret that all these people already knew, the secret of where to get good coffee. We were served by two members of staff who took the time to be friendly despite how busy they were. The selection of coffee was a little daunting for the non-connoisseur like myself so I ordered a trusty cappuccino which was top notch (yes that is as technical as my coffee describing gets). With cakes on the other hand I am as experienced as they come, and choosing between the freshly baked selection was not easy.
Both Sarah and I were really impressed with the food and drink and it was all reasonably priced; we even bought another cake to take out once we had finished. There is much more to Urban Coffee Company than cake and coffee however; they also serve light meals and ‘drinks for grown ups’. Their happy hours for said drinks are 5pm – 7pm every week day and include ‘Martini Mondays’ (any 2 Espresso Martinis for £7) and ‘Thirsty Thursdays’ (any 2 cocktails for £8). The Church Street emporium also puts on events such as their ‘feminist meet up’ (6pm – 7pm on a Wednesday) and a live lounge night (7pm – 9pm on a Friday).
Urban Coffee Company really can offer what no chain of coffee shops can; a modern but homey atmosphere where the devotion and passion of the staff can be felt in the air and tasted in the coffee.