As lovers of the triple-shot flat white – morning, noon and night – we’ve had many a rant about the fact Edinburgh’s independent cafes close at 6pm. Your only options: indulge the damp hand of mediocrity that is the coffee-chain experience; or go without.
Naturally we much prefer the latter. But now … Brew Lab has answered our caffeine-addicted prayers!
Wednesday to Sunday, these makers of great coffee are open until 9pm, and even better they’re also serving alcohol. Which in our books makes them a perfect choice for a little pre-theatre refreshment.
The menu is small, but perfectly formed, giving you an ever-changing choice of: two wines, two craft beers, two seasonal cocktails, and a mix & match cheeseboard.
With the espresso martini being just one of our many bad habits, this seemed like the perfect place to start. Brew Lab’s take on this life-affirming drink is called the Nitro Cold Brew Martini, and frankly it’s fabulous.
Described as creamy and cascading, it definitely lives up to its poetic synopsis. Potato vodka, dark chocolate liqueur, chocolate bitters, and of course Brew lab’s very own coffee make this the perfect drink to take the edge off.
Sadly it was gone far too quickly. Some might blame chronic alcoholism, but we think a bigger glass may be required.
Next we moved on to a bowl of olives and a cheeky cheeseboard of our own devising. We opted for a little French sausage (as you do), along with the Clava Brie from Inverness, and the Garrick: a hard, but sweet cheese from Galloway.
Sourced from local cheesemonger I.J. Mellis, both were rather lovely, especially when paired with Uncle Allan’s chutney. Though if you’re as greedy as us, you should probably think of this as a snack for one, or perhaps an entrée.
Soon it too was gone, along with several carafes of wine, and somehow it was also nine o’clock. Shame they’re not open later, we thought.
We also suggest, to enhance the evening vibe, Brew Lab could dim the lights, and go bigger on the candles. Other than that, we’re thrilled late-night coffee has finally arrived in Edinburgh. Hopefully the other independents will soon follow suit, hint hint.
In a pre-theatre nutshell:
Nearby: Festival Theatre (1 minute walk)
Perfect for: Coffee / cocktails / cheeky cheeseboards
Price: Cocktails £7.50, 3-item cheeseboard £10
6-8 South College Street
Edinburgh, EH8 9AA
0131 662 8963