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Cool Coffee Spots

Shall we hunker down with something frothy while we wait for Spring to appear? Here's Plymouth's best indie's.

The one benefit to this big old freeze we’ve been having? I’ve been able to justify factoring in a warming coffee stop, literally every ten minutes when I’m out – what?! It’s hard work pounding the streets in sub-zero temps.  I think it’s time I shared with you a few of my favourites and I’m starting with Plymouth.  The good news? This city’s coffee scene is on the up and up, people!


The Hutong Cafe

coffee with flower froth in a blue cup on a wooden table

Just outside the arches into the Royal William Yard, is this former pub-turned super-cool cafe. Its cosy waterfront location, tasty breakfast and lunch menu, lovely, lovely team and ever-growing list of pop-up events has seen the Hutong clan receive masses of praise over the past year since they opened; but the coffee is what remains at the core, here.  Honestly, perfect Every. Damn. Time.  Read more of my musings on this one here.



Rockets & Rascals

coffee beans

A very cool, relaxed, family-friendly cafe within a bicycle emporium, which spills out onto the cobbled streets of the historic Barbican in the warmer months. Industrial interior, plenty of bike gadgetry and a really, really good cup of coffee (you can even take home a bag of their own ‘King of the Cobbles’ house blend). The food menu is tempting, too, geared towards protein and carb-loading cyclists; think avocado on sourdough and belgian waffles along with toasties and energy-boosting treats. Even if you’re not remotely interested in two-wheeled transport, you’ll love it.



interior coffee shop

Plymouth’s teeniest, tiniest, coolest new cafe with a veeeeiewww! Off the cobbles of Sutton Harbour, in the arches of an old garage, is Koffiehuis. There may only be a handful of seats, but what is there is done very stylishly in a Scandi kind of way and, once you have coffee in hand, turn around and just gaze at the boats bobbing on the glistening waters of the harbour, it’s hypnotic.  You may even spot the resident seal, who’s clearly partial to the Koffiehuis vibe.



Rhubarb & Mustard


If you’re walking from the city centre towards King Point Marina and the Royal William Yard, you’ll discover this little beauty en-route. Across the road from Plymouth Pavilions and a few doors down from the historic Duke of Cornwall Hotel, Rhubarb & Mustard is an inviting little pitstop where the food deserves as much of a shout-out as the coffee (from Yallah Coffee Roasters in Falmouth). Scribbled up on a hanging roll of paper each day, the freshly made soup and sandwich menu is interesting and flavoursome, going beyond the usual breakfast and lunchtime favourites and the cakes come from the fab Exploding Bakery in Exeter. The service is always with a smile here, too.


Good Coffee Headquarters

Over on Ebrington Street, increasingly touted as Plymouth’s hippest, is the first of two cracking indie coffee spots. Good Coffee Headquarters (GCHQ) is about as laidback and pared back as it gets. In an iconic building, with lots of wood and splashes of retro decor, including these fab reupholstered cinema seats (a nod to its past as a theatre), the Italian wood-roasted coffee beans are blended freshly in-house with serious passion. Kick back, spin some vinyl on the deck and watch the world go by.  You can read more on this one, here.



Prime Cafe

cafe interior

A buzzy, friendly spot, as popular with in-the-know shoppers spilling out from Drake Circus as it is with the student brigade. Warm and quirky interiors, slouchy sofas and plenty of space to hug a decent coffee while catching up on gossip, this one’s an Ebrington Street institution.



Column Bakehouse

latte on chopping board spoon

Two awesome locations for Plymouth’s first social enterprise bakery. You can visit the original kitchen and cafe at Devonport’s Historic Guildhall (home to lots of fairs and pop-ups throughout the year); or you can stop by the new Cafe and stores at Ocean Studios within the Royal William Yard.  Both have individual charm, both serve great coffee, pastries and bakes and the loaves are worth the visit alone.


Hive Cafe, Estover

coffee shop interior wooden table glass water bottle

Out of town and off the beaten track, this one’s a total Godsend for people living and working in the Estover area, who, before now were limited to supermarket cafes on their lunch breaks. On an industrial estate, next to a gym, Hive Cafe is an Australian-inspired super-cool haven for people who love a menu with healthy options, washed down with great coffee.  I recommend the pancakes and anything from the smoothie menu, too.  Relaxed, friendly and the treadmill-pounding going on next door may just inspire you. I said may…


The Mad Merchant

exterior of old building with black frames and windows

I’ve not had a chance to drink here, yet (there’s only so much of a caffeine hit a girl can take!), but I did stick my nose in recently and liked what I saw. Tucked away on New Street off the Barbican, in a quirky, listed building, there’s a cafe space downstairs, a garden outside and a bookshop space up higgledy piggledy stairs, where you can peruse the selection of books, vinyl and games.  Buzzy and busy with an arts vibe, I’m hearing good things about the Mad Merchant, not least about the coffee. I’m looking forward to going back and staying put for a frothy one, next time.


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7 comments on “Cool Coffee Spots”

  • Martintob April 27, 2018

    Hi All im noob here. Good article! Thx! Love your stories!

  • Jane March 5, 2018

    I’m with Christina .. why dont you pop along and do a proper review of the wonderfullness that is MAKE … so much more than just a coffee! Love Hutong and Prime and am going to add koffeehuas and the Hive to my must try list … Also dont forget the very awesome breakfast favourite which is Jackas … so much good stuff in Plymouth ….How about a piece on some of the Social enterprise projects in Plymouth …

    • sharonryan March 5, 2018

      Ooh, all food for thought, Jane! *scribbles notes furiously* – thanks for the encouragement, too! Sharon x

  • Jeannette Blackaller March 4, 2018

    Great review of coffee shops, none of which I have tried. One thing would help me, as a wheelchair user, is if when reviewing places like this you could perhaps indicate how accessible they are. Perhaps a star system? I do miss delving around the more tucked away areas, and with very poor health don’t get out much at all. Your restaurant reviews sound amazing, but I can’t eat a meal anymore, and it is perhaps feasible that a trip out for a cup of good coffee would be just the thing for a nice outing with my husband. Jeannette

    • sharonryan March 4, 2018

      Hi Jeannette, thank you so much, both for the kind words and for the feedback. That’s a good idea and I’ll take that on board going forward. There are indeed some great places to grab a nice cuppa and I’ll be sure to indicate accessibility from now on. Thanks again and wishing you a good week ahead, Sharon x

  • Christina March 4, 2018

    Have you been to Make @140 Vauxhall Street? Amazing coffee and food is stunning.

    • sharonryan March 4, 2018

      Ooh, yes, Christina! Another corker – thanks for bringing this one up as it probably deserves as much recognition! I’ve only popped in briefly but liked what I saw (and smelt!) – one to add to the ‘to do’ list! x


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