If the geeks will inherit the earth, then Brew Lab will likely be leading the charge. Forget your smelly old caffs and insipid brews, or the ever-populating identikit chains pervading the high street – the revolution for something better is upon us. And in the fight for a better bean, and a better spot to sip in, the independent is emerging as king.
Brew Lab was a mighty four years in the making. Keen to get their vision just right, co-owners Dave Law and Tom Hyde took the time to explore the potential of the kind of café they might create – as well as how best to brew. The result is a hip hangout, where the science of, and love for, the coffee-making process, is celebrated – even in the decor, where cool periodic table tiles adorn the walls.
There’s a repurposed vibe here, with bare bricks and distressed floor boards. Creature comforts can be found in the leather armchairs and spongy couches, although the vast majority are happy to sit in the array of metal chairs and wooden tables that are dotted around.
If the seating area is relaxed, up at the counter they mean business. Two filter coffees are brewed every day, as well as popular espresso blends that are roasted on a beloved Slayer Espresso Machine.
Brew Lab attracts a decent mix of students indulging in the free wifi, locals reading and relaxing, and neighbouring workers grabbing a sit-in or takeaway lunch. Expect queues out of the door at peak times, when the day’s salad specials and bulging baps fly off the shelves.
With so many independents blossoming around the city, there’s a nice sense of kinship here. Other local cafés and producers are celebrated on the menu, with fine tea from Pekoe Tea, pastries from Le Petit Francais, cakes from Lovecrumbs and soups from Union of Genius.