by Michelle Heffernan
It’s one of life’s great pleasures. It’s a hug in a mug. It’s a wonderfully mindful way to while away hours indulging in the lost art of conversation. If you’re anything like me, you just love a good coffee, with plenty of literature, laughter or chocolate on the side. At Waterford in Your Pocket we want you to combine your love of coffee for your love of our great city-so make a date with herself, himself or just yourself, and experience the best of your local blends at these 5 Great Places for Coffee in Waterford City Centre
My first visit to Blackfriars felt uniquely serendipitous. Nestled in a smallish premises at No. 4 Blackfriars, you’d be forgiven for not expecting much of this little café, and soon find your eating, or, drinking your words. Blackfriars is not merely a café, it’s a coffee shop, a store focused especially on the art of coffee, where the best brewing practices are paramount. All of the coffee here is 100% Arabica, which basically means Blackfriars is focused on coffee of a higher calibre, rather than the easier to source, higher yield Robusta bean variety. Those looking for more fuel than caffeine won’t be disappointed either, the breakfast, brunch, lunch menu here comes highly rated, and the café carries a 4.5/5 rating on TripAdvisor. The only drawback to Blackfriars is its size; at lunchtime you might not manage to find a table, and for me, it does lose points for lacking a properly accessible toilet. However the artisan atmosphere, unrivalled food options and just plain tasty coffee does push Blackfriars high up on my list
You must go to the Arch if you’re after one thing; good coffee and good coffee alone! Reviewers have described this little coffee corner as not just a coffee shop, but an emporium, a centre of coffee if you will, and once you’ve bean (!), you won’t settle for less! The Arch now has two premises in Waterford City centre, the first and more known at 29a George’s Street, and the second now at Peter Street, (next to newly opened coffee conglomerate Café Nerro). The Arch coffee is brewed using 3FE blends, the blend founded and made hugely popular by Irish Coffee entrepreneur and Barista Champion Colin Harmon. Anybody I know, who is really, serious about coffee, will only purchase coffee from the Arch, and I must admit to at times finding this coffee even too rich for my taste. The petite size of their premises makes for an even more personalised coffee experience and you won’t frequent the Arch without receiving friendly service, with real chat and interest, rather than feeling like your coffee and yourself are being passed along a conveyor belt. The only drawback to the Arch, unfortunately, is that, it’s really a take away coffee spot, as seating indoors and outside is limited on both sites. As coffee often takes effect on our bladders too, the absence of toilet facilities here does diminish its appeal. Nevertheless, it’s a truly cracking cup of coffee, even the most cynical of coffee snobs couldn’t but enjoy this brew
I think if I won the lottery, I would just buy Larder, and spend my days chatting with tourists and locals , people watching over pastries and cappuccinos. Larder, at 111a, Henrietta Street, is just an adorable little spot, and I can’t help but feel the sun always comes out to shine whenever I visit. As with the Arch, this coffee shop is on the small side, with seating limited to about 5-8 maximum indoors and just two tables outside. But the bright airy décor, intimate interaction and smell of fresh sourdough bread just transform this tiny premises into a real gem, where you may feel you’re being served personally in a French kitchen, rather than a café on the quay. Reviewers rave as much about the Portuguese tarts and strawberry cake as the coffee itself, and Larder scores extra points for me too for providing coffee cups that are biodegradable. Overall Larder makes me feel like a bit of a tourist in my own city, stumbling across a delight I had not anticipated. I challenge you not to like it!
New to the Waterford coffee scene is Tom’s Kitchen, a cute and quirky looking store front towards the end of Michael street, just close to the Hub bar. Opened just less than a year, this endearing little local enterprise is really adding a much needed charm to Michael Street, and the coffee and grub inside carry the same fanciful appeal as the pretty façade. Run by Tomek Mirkowski, (yes there is a Tom), Tom’s Kitchen focuses on a locally sourced food and drink experience, often using foods from the Widger’s butchers just across the way to provide a warm, genuine, homely experience of cosy coffees, cakes, sandwiches, breakfasts, lunches and desserts. Much like Larder, Tom’s Kitchen gives the feel of really stepping into someone’s kitchen, for a very personal and sincere customer experience, but here the slightly larger room does afford a little more privacy, making this, for me ,a top spot for a coffee date! If you haven’t yet been, or seen Tom’s Kitchen, keep an eye out next time you’re heading up Michael Steet for some errands; you’ll see a side to Waterford ,and coffee culture here, that’s only just beginning.
Yep, I have to throw the Parlour Vintage Tea Rooms into this list, as I just adore the place. Forget the coffee. I would come here to buy just about anything, as I cannot think of a nicer atmosphere to surround myself in. For anyone unfamiliar with the Parlour Vintage Tea Rooms, they are situated in the old Chamber of Commerce building at 2, Great George’s Street, and they are just about the closest thing you’ll get to a coffee served with a little drop of magic on the side. Step into the Parlour Vintage Tea Rooms and you will step back in time, as sounds of singers from golden ages serenade you, servers in fantastic French maid style attire take your order, and all the ornaments , furnishings and feels of a time gone by, transport you to another realm, making you feel like a member of a high coffee society, rather than some wan who came into town looking for a cuppa joe. Admittedly, the coffee here is not in the same league as others mentioned, and the place is a tad pricier than most others, but the experience is one of a kind, the only place in Waterford I would wager that offers coffee, cake and whimsy, leaving you spellbound in a kind of dreamy nostalgia for the duration of your stay. Get down there!
What’s your favourite place to have coffee in Waterford? Send us your thoughts for our next coffee blog at firstname.lastname@example.org