In a nutshell:
-an eco-conscious coffee shop in the heart of Bournemouth
-the rockstar of UK coffee shops: pioneering, welcoming, and effortlessly cool
-come here for food, coffee, fresh juices – a pit-stop in Bournemouth you’d be silly to miss
-voted top 50 coffee shops in the UK
There are a fair few independent specialty coffee shops to choose from in Bournemouth. But if we’re talking supreme excellence then there is only one King that reigns here, and it is South Coast Roast.
“It’s like that cool guy from school who went to underground raves, but woke up early to do litter-picking”
South Coast Roast is a rebel with a cause. It’s cool with a conscience; edgy with warmth; it’s like that cool guy from school who went to underground raves, but woke up early the next morning to do litter-picking. As well as being effortlessly cool, South Coast Roast has a real mission at heart – a mission that sets out to make a difference.
As soon as you step upon the premises, a placard reads: ‘The cup stops here: no excuse for single use’ – their eco-values are sincere and unapologetic, requiring customers to either bring their own reusable cup for takeaway drinks, or buy one of their reusable ones. Inside, it feels like stepping into a downtown Indie club: a heavy Indie playlist throngs the room, exposed bricks line the walls, and my eyes were drawn to the neon-lit Juice Bar offerings, in the way one might be drawn to the cocktail bar on a night out. It felt unbelievable that a place this cool could be doing good; but once I got settled in, I began to unpick the finer details.
“It’s a place to hang out, to eat good food and to be in the company of others, away from the technology of the modern world”
Here and there, little dollops of conscientious do-gooding act as gentle reminders of their cause (locally-made jams, Bonsan vegan chocolate spread available to buy, as are Huskups and Lomoko lunch boxes). I soon realised that their edgy style is a clever trick of the mind – this is a virtuous place at heart, but little details reminiscent of a night out make you feel at ease. I don’t know about you, but some coffee shops are a little too healthy and preachy for me, making me want to rebel the minute I step outside. South Coast Roast gets the balance just right.
Functionality-wise, it’s big enough to facilitate a variety of coffee-house needs, particularly for families and large gatherings on the central communal table, and social catch ups or solo-working on other tables. It’s a place to hang out, to eat good food and to be in the company of others, away from the technology of the modern world. Once it has you though, it’s tough to break away and continue your day outside of the South Coast Roast utopia.
The coffee is great. They don’t succumb to a standardised way of doing things (I would have been disappointed if they did). Americanos come in a normal mug (!), lovingly chipped and well worn, with a tiny milk bottle on top – this hark back to simplicity was a welcomed touch. Other times I was here I had lattes and flat whites, all of which were excellent. The coffee is from local roastery, Bad Hand Coffee, with the same eco-values as South Coast Roast (well worth a visit to their website to read about their eco-solutions in the About section and their advice on grind and making the perfect cup of coffee in their FAQs).
The food is delicious, locally sourced and made from scratch right behind the counter. Brunch is served all day, alongside soup options, bagels and a bodia bowl (note the kitchen closes at 3pm). I had avocado and halloumi on toast – accounting for the fact this is quite a simple dish, it was delicious. So much so, I continued to have it all week. If this is anything to go by, I have no doubt the rest of the menu excels on all accounts (click here to see the full menu). They have a great range of cakes, sweet treats and juices too. It is their aim to create an all vegan menu soon, so keep an eye on plans for that.
All in All:
An all round excellent coffee shop. They’ve created a space that welcomes everyone, delivering top standard coffee and food, whilst also carrying out an eco-mission that sets them apart in the level of its ambition. All of this they do with such style and ease, it makes you want to get involved too – not because they preach, but because they will do it anyway. Bournemouth is lucky to have such a pioneer leading the way in terms of a local, independent business that serves the environment, community and other local businesses, whist also delivering excellence at the same time. A masterclass in not only a coffee shop, but in a business – especially in the climate of today. Bravo. May all who follow take note.
Things to know:
-all day brunch/lunch
-kitchen closes at 3pm
-alternative milk options
-fully licensed (beer and wine available)
-all vegan menu coming soon
–Opening times: 8-5pm (Mon-Fri); 9-5pm (Sat); 9-4pm (Sun)
–Address: 24 Richmond Hill, Bournemouth, BH2 6EJ
Recommended things to do nearby:
-Bournemouth beach – a mere 5/10 min walk away
–Lowther Gardens – grade II listed Victorian gardens located right next to South Coast Roast
–Bournemouth Pavilion for no.1 touring shows, concerts, comedy and more
–Smokin’ Aces – a watering hole for whiskey and cocktail lovers (live music some nights)
–Sandbanks, hailed as one of Britain’s best beaches
-Walk along the Jurassic Coast
–Old Harry Rocks for a walk with a view (and a pub)