The most unusual coffee shops in the world
Which coffee you drink is important, but where you drink it can turn a good cup into a truly great one. Whether it’s in a cosy armchair surrounded by books, a buzzing café decked out in artwork or watching the world go by from a table on a buzzing Parisian pavement, location can be just as important to the way your coffee tastes as how it’s grown and processed.
Want to explore some incredible places to drink coffee? We’ve picked out some of the most unusual coffee shops in the world for you to try when you’re on your travels.
Best for… history lovers
Seattle led the way when it came to coffee shop culture, and this little hole in the wall has been part of the scene since the 1980s. Starting out as a simple espresso cart, they’ve expanded their range over the last four decades but their ethos is the same – great espresso-based coffee served simply and done well. It’s take away only, with just a window to order your drinks, but the queue around the block shows how a simple idea really can stand the test of time.
Best for… a unique experience
Now, we wouldn’t normally advise you drinking your coffee at a urinal, but we’ll make an exception for this quirky coffee bar in the heart of trendy Fitzrovia. A former Victorian toilet, complete with metro tiles, cisterns and decorative urinals separating the seats on the espresso bar, this café serves up a range of sustainable speciality coffees from across the world, plus breakfasts, brunch and lunch.
Best for… creative types
Fancy whipping up a new outfit while you sip your cappuccino? This creative space in Paris could be your new favourite place. The Sweatshop was set up to pair coffee and couture and reintroduce traditional craft skills to this trendy Parisian neighbourhood. Each table comes with its own vintage sewing machine, which you can rent by the hour to complete your latest craft project. A favourite hangout for locals and tourists alike, it’s the perfect place to find inspiration and try a new skill.
Best for… design lovers
We wouldn’t usually recommend a chain coffee shop but this branch of Starbucks is a real must-see. Designed by world-famous Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, this café is decorated with more than 2,000 criss-crossing wooden batons which create a mind-boggling tunnel-like effect. Built in 2011 and nestled among traditional Japanese buildings, this ultra-modern coffee shop is en route to one of the most famous shrines in Japan, making it a popular tourist hangout.
Best for… people watching
There’s no better place to sit and watch the world go by than in the covered walkways of St Mark’s Square in Venice. You’ll pay a premium of course, but it’s worth it to be able to say you’ve visited one of the oldest cafes in the world. Caffe Florian opened in 1720 and is believed to have played host to the likes of Proust, Lord Byron and Charles Dickens over the centuries. With its elaborate Venetian interiors and views over the famous square, it’s the perfect spot to grab a coffee before you head back out on the tourist trail.
Best for… updating your Insta feed
Hidden behind the original façades of two 1980s high street boutiques, this hipster hang out in trendy Shoreditch is bursting with Insta-worthy opportunities. Every corner is bursting with quirky details, from taxidermy displays to ever-changing art installations and fun design details. Great in the day time for coffee and a bowl of churros with chocolate – just order your coffee of choice and find your favourite new up and coming artist while you sip.
Want inspiration for how and where to drink your coffee? Browse the blog for more.