I wasn’t expecting to find anything quite as nice as Stray’s on my Newark detour. It’s a wonderful, relaxing place with excellent coffee.
Stray’s is attached to Stray’s Books in the centre of Newark. It’s spacious and has a couple of nice rooms branching off, such as a covered terrace area (a beer garden for coffee drinkers).
I ordered and plonked myself down near the counter. A lady wandered in after me and was told there would be a 15 minute wait for drinks. She was amazed….. “15 minutes?!” And off she trundled. I sympathise, but this is a sure sign of a decent coffee shop; willing to turn away customers before compromising on coffee quality.
There’s mention of this in a leaflet by the counter, which also describes the beans used and the way the coffees are prepared. Having randomly picked a seat with a view of the machine, I can vouch for the care taken by the baristas.
When the coffee came, it was excellent. I’d picked a latte, which came topped with latte art (always a good sign).
Everyone seemed very friendly and they were happy for me to take a few photos. Quite rightly, the chap in charge (Mat Short) was too busy to pay me much attention (it was a very busy Saturday afternoon).
The upstairs is being renovated so as to accommodate live jazz (see here). At the moment, the jazz is limited to a non-stop soundtrack through the speakers and photos on the walls, which I liked.
There’s also a good selection of food, including cakes made on the premises, sandwiches from Stray’s sandwich shop next door, and, according to the website, “Mum’s cakes”.
But coffee is top of the menu. In fact, better than that, it has a menu of its own.
This is a relaxing, characterful and overall a really good coffee shop.
17 Boar Lane
We visited on 3 January 2009.