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The search for Croydon’s Best Independent Café is back!

The search for Croydon’s Best Independent Café is back!
Oct 10, 2017 Shaking Hands 0 comments
This post was first published by The Croydon Citizen on 09/10/2017.

The search for Croydon’s Best Independent Café is back!

Nominations are now open for Croydon’s Best Independent Café 2018.

It’s back for its third year and this time – forgive the cliché – it’s better than ever. This year we’ve added more categories, so that more great independent cafés in Croydon can bask in the glory of being nominated and voted for by our judging panel and Croydon Citizen readers.

Once again, we’re looking for Croydon’s best independent café, voted for by our judges and also by you, the Croydon Citizen’s readers. We’ll be making two awards in this category, a Judges’ Award and a Readers’ Choice Award.

In addition, this year we are also adding three new categories to our awards: Croydon’s best café for art and culture, Croydon’s best café to work from, and the best newcomer to the Croydon café scene, which will need to have opened sometime during the past twelve months to be eligible for entry.

We are looking for nominations for all of these categories right now – so please click here to nominate your favourite café for the following awards:

Best café for art and culture

Best café to work from

Best new café

Best overall café in Croydon

We’ve chosen the categories to reflect life in Croydon, to highlight some of the things our town does really well and celebrate its position as a creative hub for artists, entrepreneurs, innovators and people with great ideas – a place that is striving to grow and develop, set up new ventures and create new plans for the future.

And – to get you thinking – we’ll be writing reviews of some of our favourite cafés in each category over the next few months. Here are our nominations for October.

Best café for art and culture: Café Adagio, Addiscombe

Café Adagio took the People’s Choice Award in our very first Croydon Café Awards in 2015. Owner Atif has created not just a place that serves great coffee and amazing cake – but a real community hub, where everybody is welcome.

The art on the walls is the work of local – often amateur – artists, providing both a great showcase for their work and a colourful backdrop for coffee imbibing. And Café Adagio is not just about art but music too, with the last Friday of every month featuring an open mic session as well as a platform for regular musicians who turn up and jam.

There’s a sign on the wall that sums it up. ‘All You Need Is Love’. The ‘love’ in Café Adagio goes a long way – love of community, of art, of music, of good company, happy vibes, and very tasty cake.

Best new café: Gamma, South Norwood

Edgy, interesting, with rails of t-shirts, album covers and eye-catching prints – is Gamma a café with music, t-shirts and books, or a music and book publisher that produces t-shirts and sells coffee? It’s all very 21st-century in this South Norwood hipster-type joint – see, it’s making me come over all ‘cool’, despite advancing middle age. But middle aged or not, I still felt welcomed, with Gamma’s friendly manager Alina, keen to share the new venture’s ambitions and enthusiasms for music, books and art. And cake. The cake, in fact was sublime and is made locally. Who cares WHAT it is with cake this good.

Best café to work from: Smoothbean! Central Croydon

Smoothbean! café, with its handy location close to East Croydon station, has long been a handy spot for work meetings and larger meet-up groups. At any given time, you’re likely to find a couple of people tapping away on laptops and the café is all set up for those of us working from home with good fast wifi, plenty of electrical sockets and excellent coffee on demand.

But it’s far from a sterile work environment. Decked out in comfy sofas smothered in colourful cushions, as well as long bar-style tables with high stools, it’s also great for big gatherings. There are some eye-catching artworks on the wall and a pretty patio-style area outside for alfresco meetings. The food is excellent – innovative and delicious, with lots of vegetarian and vegan options. There are even vegan cakes. And the smoothies… Oh, the smoothies…

Staff are friendly and welcoming, with owners John and Pauline frequently around for a chat when you’re taking that much-needed break between spreadsheets.

These are just some of our suggestions. We’ll be offering more next month but in the meantime, we really want to hear yours. Send us your nominations now.

We’re always happy to have new people join our judging panel and spend a few hours on selected Saturdays visiting cafés, drinking coffee and eating cake. (Tea is also allowed!). The judges are a mix of people of all age-groups and backgrounds from all over the borough. Email us to register your interest and we’ll let you know when the next café and coffee review is taking place.

Shortlists will be announced at the end of the year and the awards will be made early in 2018. Now all it remains to do is to get nominating. The search for Croydon’s Best Independent Café is on.

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