Dragging yourself bleary eyed through Portsmouth in search of caffeine, or just after a comfy corner to enjoy a cup of coffee?
Emily Turner hunts down the ten best places in Portsmouth to grab a mug of that all important beverage.
Le Café Parisien
— Le Cafe Parisien (@lecafeparisien) September 16, 2015
This is a hugely convenient and well placed café. Although it’s bright yellow and blue décor are as likely to shock you into consciousness as the fantastic Lavazza coffee, Le Café Parisien is a great place to make a pit stop whether you’re heading into Guildhall Walk, down into Gunwharf, or over into Southsea. If tea’s more your thing than coffee, you can grab a cuppa for £1.50 here.
1-13 Lord Montgomery Way, 023 9283 1234, lecafeparisien.com
The downstairs cafe at Portsmouth City Museum is my personal go to place for coffee and cake. It serves up a cracking beverage with a nice slice of cake at a very fair price. Take some time to have a look around the museum as well – it’s free and well worth a visit.
Museum Rd, Portsmouth, PO1 2LJ, portsmouthcitymuseums.co.uk
This seaside themed emporium is a real favourite to grab a cup of coffee – it’s friendly, comfortable, and relaxing. Picnic style tables, bunting, blue and white walls, welsh dressers displaying crockery, and seaside artwork available to purchase on the walls. Aside from its cosy atmosphere, it’s also the only place I’ve ever been in Portsmouth which clarifies the distinction between galettes, which are savoury batter, and crepes, which are typically sweet. Indulge in a Nutella crepe with vanilla ice cream while you recaffinate, or refuel with a pastry, sandwich, or Panini before you head back out into the world.
106 Marmion Road, 02392 178727
Manna Tea Rooms
Manna Tea Room has a really artsy vibe – there’s a paper mache deer head on the wall, a white silhouette cuckoo clock on the wall, doily lampshades, a studio white background and wide mirrors seemingly doubling the café’s space. As it’s facing Portsmouth Cathedral, it’s a stone’s throw away from the seafront, and only a short walk away from both Gunwharf and Clarence Pier. Apart from serving up a decent cup of coffee, there’s a great selection of cakes, or you can grab a quick bite from their menu as well.
39 High Street, 023 9286 2011
The Duke of Buckingham
The Duke of Buckingham, as you may have guessed, is not your typical coffee shop. It’s rather a pub that happens to serve a really good cup of coffee. Alternatively, you can get your hands on a huge pot of tea for only two quid. It’s warm, welcoming, and extremely well priced for what you get. It’s an interesting place to have a look around sober as well – look closely at the walls and you’ll see all manner of strange paraphernalia tucked away. There’s also a completely inexplicably placed bookshelf tucked away near the ceiling – see if you can spot it next to the random strip of stained glass window in place of ceiling.
119 High Street, 023 9282 7067, dukeofbuckingham.co.uk
— Porters (@PortersSouthsea) August 31, 2015
Albert Road is the home of the alternative in Portsmouth. Galleries, alt bars, clothing shops, crime novel specialists and the King’s Theatre share the same short stretch of road, and in the very heart of it all sits Porters. With its low ceilings, indie music soundtrack and relaxed vibe, it’s comfortable, unpretentious, warm and inviting – pull up a pub stool or a lazy brown leather chair and reanimate yourself with the very decent cup of coffee they’ll brew you here.
31-35 Albert Road, 023 9229 3474
Just over the road from Porters, opposite the King’s Theatre, sits The Vaults. This is a pub, bar, music venue, restaurant and coffee shop all rolled into one. It calls itself ‘one of Southsea’s best, and most popular watering holes’, and I’m inclined to agree – it’s quirky, eccentric, welcoming, atmospheric, and serves a really great cup of coffee.There’s a bunch of different rooms at different levels, so it’s easy to not realise how much is really there. Head along and keep an eye out for the resident ghost.
41-47 Albert Road, 02392 864 712, wine-vaults-southsea.co.uk
I’m not too sure what it says about Portsmouth that one of the city’s best places to grab a coffee is a ‘50s American style diner. Despite evoking a time and a place 60 years and 4,000 miles away, Mumm’s is a no fuss, no frills café, and a favourite with students. You’ll get a coffee for a very fair price in this restaurant, which has gridded tables, barber shop patterned poles, and walls adorned with prints of Doris Day, Marlon Brando, James Dean and Audrey Hepburn. Whether you’re trying to chivvy yourself awake in the morning, or winding down at 5 in the afternoon, step into Mumm’s for a dependably good dose of caffeine.
2 Festing Buildings, 023 9281 4916
Cha Cha’s, as you have probably deduced from the name, is a music themed establishment. Located on Palmerston Road, it’s right next to the shopping centre and just down the road from Southsea Castle and the seafront. There’s a bit of an Americana vibe to the musical leanings – which, as we’ve seen with Mumm’s, seems to be a bit of a running theme for Portsmouth – and the coffee is really, really good.
93 Palmerston Road, 023 9229 3806
Pie & Vinyl
— Pie & Vinyl (@PieandVinyl) October 9, 2015
A record café with an entire room dedicated to vinyl, this little café down Castle Street has got an incredibly unique vibe, and it can also hit you up with a pretty decent coffee. Pie & Vinyl is decorated with paraphernalia from decades past – knitted toys, Victoriana pianofortes, cross stitched pictures of ships and biblical scenes, taxidermy, old maps, flower arrangements – and, obviously, some great tunes are always on play here. Aside from the great coffee, the team here can also brew you up a cracking English Breakfast – they use ‘Wonky Pot Tea’, which is produced in Wickham by a creative group of tea lovers.
61 Castle Road, 023 9275 3914, pieandvinyl.co.uk