Coffee often rewards the adventurous spirit, the traveler willing to go that little further down the road. It’s a land of little secrets and unexpected moments. For the visitor, or newcomer to the coffee scene in York no place more embodies this idea for me than The Attic Gallery Coffee Bar. In King’s Square tucked inconspicuously next to Cafe Nero, there is a door marked Harlequin Coffee House, very easy to overlook and yet so very worth looking for.
Once you step through the door, you climb a flight of stairs up to a space larger than you’d expect, and arrive at a typical looking cafe, inside you can get some great food an a good cup of tea or coffee. But, in a style reminiscent of Harry Potter, if you arrive at the right time from Thursday to Saturday and you’re willing to climb one more flight of those stairs, you will find a coffee haven, a magical world for lovers of the bean and those ready to explore its depths, alike.
On the face of it The Attic Bar could be a simple extension of the main cafe, serving a range of food and drink and offering a great atmosphere to relax. But a more careful examination shows you that something else awaits you here, nestled atop the buildings of the Square. The espresso machine is pretty much a normal sight, but you will also notice a pour over setup and a board of coffees hinting at a world of discovery, trust me, you are right in amongst it, this place is a real gem in Yorks coffee scene.
The selection of coffee comes from the always on point, Hasbean Coffee Roasters. The well thought out coffee board carries a range of six coffees, available to order using various brewing methods, along with “The Attic Revolver” a guest espresso option, which changes regularly. The non espresso offerings can be brewed with a classic pour-over V60, an Aeropress, or in a Chemex. This variety of brewing options, combined with the range of coffees on offer is a real treat for both the coffee lover, and a great way to explore coffee if you are new to the many flavours. The Chemex option is for me a particularly well thought out concept, the menu recommends it to share, and it is a lovely way to do so, the sight of the Chemex on the table between two cups is delightful and there is real joy in pouring the coffee and tasting it with a friend.
When it comes to making your choice you are well looked after. The team have excellent knowledge and a real enthusiasm for the product, they can help you find the coffee you want to try and the brewing method to get the best from it. If you just love your classic espresso drinks don’t worry, the barista skills here definitely do not suffer from the broadening of brewing options, a well judged and cleanly pulled flat white is no problem and the quality of your drink is clearly of real importance to the team.
A basic but well executed menu offering, wraps, sharing platters and light bites is available in the coffee bar itself, so no problem to grab a snack or light lunch with your coffee.
If you are looking for a broader menu then the cafe downstairs will have you covered. Food allergies and dietary preferences are catered for and the team will happily answer any questions you may have.
Hasbean coffee beans are available to purchase, along with coffee equipment and related items, including the current version of the excellent North and North Wales Independent Coffee Guide. In addition to its great coffee, the Attic also serves a selection of gins with a similar passion and attention to detail, so those of us whose palate enjoys the botanical spirit can enjoy a great evening here.
The Attic is, to me something akin to the coffee equivalent of Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley, a hidden world of coffee right in the heart of York. Right next to the commercial nouse and branding of Cafe Nero, sits a door that will, at the right time on the right day, whisk you away and into the world of independent and speciality coffee. As a coffee enthusiast the coffees, brewing methods and the conversation with the team are a real joy. Equally if you are new to coffee and want a place to explore it more, the Attic is well recommended, not only for its range but for the attitude and breadth of knowledge of the team.
2 King’s Square, York, North Yorkshire, YO1 8BH
Thursday – 12.00 – 19.00
Friday – 12.00 – 23.00
Saturday – 11.00 – 23.00
Harlequin Cafe (Espresso drinks only)
Monday – Saturday – 10.00 – 16.00
Sunday – 10.30 – 15.30