Drew Brammer at The Chester on opening up super cool coffee shop - BREW

I am sitting writing this in The Chester, which is firmly ‘coming together’.

‘Coming together’ has been our catchphrase over the last three weeks of building work – well, it has to be coming together as during the previous three weeks we’ve cleared the pub of all detritus of the over-enthusiastic and tasteless refurbishments, including eight separate sky feeds, four layers of wallpaper, seven flooring finishes, and a whole of host of foul smelling mystery liquids.

We even mustered the courage to tackle what has been dubbed The Shed of Dread.

We’ve now started putting the place back together again – with the flooring having been finished last week and the ceiling plasterboarded just today – it’s starting to look really great and we are firmly on course for opening in February.

Yes, I know, delayed from our hopeful (perhaps naïve) opening date in December due to planning conditions, bureaucracy, contractors and contracts etc.

But, if you ever do something like this, you have to accept it as all part of the fun.

In the meantime though, being somewhat of a glutton for punishment and unable to stand still, I’ve opened a brand new coffee shop and retailer up in North Parade with my friend, and coffee cohort, Will Davies.

Yes, I ventured, North Parade has long been one of my favourite streets in Oxford.

It is after all the home of The Rose and Crown, probably the best authentic pub-pub in Oxford – I mean, pickled eggs in bags of crisps, well kept ales, and friendly staff – what more can be asked for?

BREW might be Oxford’s smallest coffee shop at just 20m square with just eight seats, but that doesn’t hold us back from being the most grandiose with chandeliers, gold mirrors, and a coffee machine that looks like R2D2, while our sound system is simply a vinyl record player.

We don’t have WIFI, instead encouraging people to use coffee shops as how they were first intended – as meeting points for conversation, debate, gossiping and laughter.

BREW stocks an ever changing plethora of different coffees, all single origin, served as either espresso or filter.

The coffee is roasted over wood by our pals UECoffee near Witney. As well as coffee, we stock all the accessories that a home-barista could ever possibly dream of, as well as cards, notebooks, and hosting gigs on Sundays. Who says size matters?

In 2014 we aim to launch coffee workshops and training sessions to help everyone make better coffee at home.

BREW simply sets out to do one thing – infect people with our love for coffee.

Big thanks must go to all our new regulars – you are great.

Even bigger thanks you must go to our neighbours – North Parade has welcomed us Eastern Block ruffians with open arms.

It’s a street that is all about helping each other out – so if you haven’t been up there recently – then do.

No 2 Produce Store (at Number 2) stocks wonderful organic vegetables, wines, cheeses and meat to die for, The Yarn Shop, well, stocks yarn, and it’s all starting to look up with the Farmers’ Market becoming bi-weekly in the New Year. We are proud to be part of this street.

Right, I had better get back to The Chester – it’s not going to come together all by itself.

  • TRY IT BREW Coffee Shop and Retailer, The Middle Shop, North Parade, Oxford.
  • facebook.com/brewoxford
  • The Chester is at 19 Chester Street, Oxford. Call 01865 243203