This café opened up in February 2013 and almost immediately started getting good reviews. It’s on the corner of Southampton Row and Sicilian Avenue, just up from Holborn station. It’s opposite a Patisserie Valerie, next door to another coffee shop, and a few doors down from Orchard, so it’s in a good location but it’s got plenty of competition.
Unlike all its neighbours though, FreeState is a real artisan coffee shop. It’s ran by the same people behind New Row Coffee, and is on the site of what used to be a Pret; how often does that happen, an independent replacing one of the big chains? They have a La Marzocco espresso machine, and also a brew bar for filter coffee. They do a range of nice ciabatta sandwiches, cakes etc, but it’s really the coffee people come here for.
There’s a few small and medium tables and a handful of bar stools. They have some old-fashioned fold-up cinema or theatre seats, and a gym changing room bench/coat rack acting as an internal divider. They seem to do a decent business in take-away coffee, but I usually sit in. Sometimes it can be a bit busy, but it’s pretty close to Café le Cordon Bleu, Espresso Base and Wild & Wood if you need a nearby alternative.
The service is always good and friendly, and the whole place has quite a laid-back attitude. The coffees themselves are very consistent, with some nice latte art, as you’ll see from my photos below.
In the summer I often got an iced latte to takeaway here, but I then had to dilute it with a lot of milk back at the office!
A lot of other reviews, all positive, which should give you an idea of its popularity:
- Time Out
- The Single Gourmet Traveller
- Lyndon’s Coffee
- Brian’s Coffee Spot
- This City Life
- London Stuff
- A Very Caffeinated Student
- This is where the blog stuff happens