As the clear, crisp days compete with the cold, wet ones for supremacy, you need a warm winter refuge where you can settle in at lunchtime or after work, nurse a hot drink and indulge your senses. The Danish even have a word for this concept of winter cosiness: hygge.
Yorks Bakery Café
1 Newhall Street (just off Colmore Row), B3 3NH; 0121 236 8090; website
Its industrial light, exposed brickwork and generous table space make it a favourite of freelancers and young professionals. Claiming audaciously to be the provider of #BrumsBestBreakfasts, the venue certainly offers a tempting spread of brunch-style options. With pizza and craft beers now on the menu, there’s an added reason to stay in later and avoid the cold.
Urban Coffee Company
30 Church Street, B3 2NP; 0121 236 0207; website
With three branches in Birmingham now, this urban café with a rustic feel seems to be doing something right. I’m most often at the Church Street branch, opposite the historic Eye Hospital building and in the heart of the business district. As you’d expect, daytime sees the coffee shop catering to a suited clientèle in urgent need of caffeine and panini. The evenings have a more relaxed pace, with regular book club meetings and film nights drawing a trendier crowd.
Six Eight Kafé
6/8 Temple Row, B2 5HG; 0121 448 8089; website
Tiny and tucked away by the Great Western Arcade, a mall for independent boutiques, 6/8 has nonetheless built a solid reputation as a purveyor of high quality coffee. I met the owner soon after he opened up a couple of years ago, learning about the meticulous process of selecting the right blend, and his ambition to bring Continental café culture to Birmingham.
500-504 Moseley Road, Balsall Heath, B12 9AH; website
Calling itself an ‘art and community cafe’, Ort is bang on the money if you feel the need to scratch that hipster itch. Located in Balsall Heath, a pretty gritty part of the city, the café has nevertheless managed to create an oasis of culture, with art classes, language lessons and the occasional street food pop-up making Ort much more than just somewhere to grab a flat white.
138 Alcester Road, Moseley, B13 8EE; 0121 449 8751
One of my personal favourites, and a recent addition, Cafephilia occupies a prime position on the corner of Moseley high street, where you can slide into the red leather seating, order a steaming hot mocha and watch the world go by. If you’re peckish, a range of cakes and muffins (made with locally-sourced flour, I believe) are on hand. Too cool to be a coffee shop, Cafephilia’s sign declares it to be a ‘coffee bar’.
The Manic Organic Café
46 Poplar Road, Kings Heath; 0121 441 3802; website
Just down the road from leafy Moseley, you come to bustling Kings Heath. The Manic Organic Café is a charming spot that embodies the bohemian spirit of both these suburbs. You’ll find flyers for meditation classes or children’s yoga on the table in the window.
On the menu, what you won’t find is meat. The Manic Organic is a vegetarian-friendly zone, and the coffee and tea is organic. Their almost political commitment to fine, freshly prepared food is summed up on their website thus: ‘The Revolution Will Not be Microwaved.’
Find more cafes and restaurants in Dine Birmingham’s A-Z restaurant guide.
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