As the much-missed Bold St Coffee is set to return, Getintothis’ Jane Davies catches up with Katy Monti to chat about independence, coffee, pop-ups, community and upcoming gigs.
Bold Street Coffee is an independent coffee shop, founded by Sam Tawil at 89 Bold Street, where it quickly built up a reputation as being the go-to place for speciality coffee in the city.
In January 2018, the lease expired on the premises and urgent maintenance issues meant the building had to be vacated. Sadly they have to turn off the coffee maker that makes a very addictive cup of coffees that customers love.
A pop-up shop at Santa Maluco on Castle Street was set up to stave off loyal customers’ withdrawal symptoms. As the original premises are set to reopen we sit down with Katy Monti to find out what’s what.
Getintothis: Why is it so important to have independent coffee shops? What added value do they bring, to community and customer?
Katy Monti: ‘ It’s important to have independent shops for community wellbeing. Although you can have regular interactions with people at commercial coffee shops, I think the communication and care that goes with the service of an independent is much more appreciated. You wouldn’t get Mags asking you how your sister’s baby is, or a guest bringing in an Eddie Rabbit record to play in a commercial shop.
I think with more independents on the food and drink scene there is a lot more thought about local and sustainable produce. BSC has always sourced coffee responsibly, and making sure the farms (and families who work them) are looked after ﬁnancially is pretty much a necessary trait for all independent coffee shops now, which is probably why we all get stereotyped for being overpriced!’
Getintothis:: Where do you source your coffee?
Katy Monti: ‘We use a number of different roasters including The Barn and Square Mile, but Has Bean is our main supplier. We have worked with Steve and his team down in Stafford since the day we opened, and they roast our house espresso which is always a single origin that’s exclusive to Bold Street Coffee. Steve travels to Africa and South America and works with farmers directly, he’s brilliant.’
Getintothis:: Can you tell us about past exhibitions and music events you’ve hosted?
Katy Monti: There’s been too many memorable ones to mention! Every month Russ curates the shows that go on the walls, and with most of the launch nights for each one, there is a live act that plays. There have been so many amazing nights in the shop.
Tim Kerr, The Pine Hill Haints, Serious Sam Barrett, Sir Richard Bishop, Mind Mountain, Salem Rages, Down and Outs, Dirdsbead, Dan Croll, All We Are and Tom Cowcher & Dan Thorne who both worked in the shop, to name just a few!
‘It’s always a great evening when we keep the shop open for events, we usually put the bands right by the door, and because we have a big glass shop front, a lot of people who are just walking by tend to stop and come in (or moonie the crowd). The Halloween shows are always one to look forward to, last years was loads of fun and the upcoming one will be featuring Boneface’s new work, which will be huge.
We have a blog where Russ posts all BSC adverts and exhibitions. Once we’re open we’re looking forward to keeping the shop open later more permanently, which will deﬁnitely see more gigs/events in the future.’
Getintothis:: Can you tell us about pop up shops you have run at outside events and festivals?
Katy Monti: The festivals were so much fun! As a shop we did the likes of Glastonbury, Leeds, Reading, Latitude, Lovebox, Global Gathering, T in The Park, Download, Liverpool Sound City, Psychfest, Africa Oye and tons more festivals and corporate events all over the country.
We usually do the artist area at the bigger festivals so we’ve met a few famous people. We’ve gotten to see so many bands and artists, I personally loved seeing The Hives run past our tent at Leeds straight onto the stage and play. We’ve got a photo somewhere of Sam with Ian Brown too which was a special moment. Latitude was always a wild one, jägerbombs for days!
Getintothis: Tell us about Interesting customers, regulars, famous people who have popped in?
Katy Monti: ‘We’ve honestly had countless interesting artists, musicians, poets, actors, sportsmen & magicians (that one was just Darren Brown..) come in the shop. I love getting to meet all the various types of people that walk through the door, we’ve befriended so many regulars like John Montgomery who is such an incredible illustrator and Christoph TW who was basically a psychic. To be honest I ﬁnd most of the people who come into the shop interesting for one reason or another!’
Getintothis: How did the idea of crowdfunding come along?
Katy Monti: ‘We sort of knew after a month or so of not having the shop that it would be a viable option since we had lost so much revenue. I had some small experience with it from a university project, and we knew that the beloved community, which the shop thrived on, would pull through for us. It was brilliant making the video for it, Rob Godfrey was the man behind the camera, and after I got in touch with regulars for testimonials we got nostalgic about the shop!
It was a great experience putting it all together and seeing it succeed. Can I say the crowdfunding was an amazing achievement in such a short space of time. We actually had planned for the campaign being overfunded, so that every penny of it would go towards the shop being the absolute best it can be, thankfully down to the people that will enjoy it when we open. We had such a range in donations, every single one much appreciated.’
Getintothis: Is the physical layout going to change?
Katy Monti: ‘There will be a downstairs. A staircase has been built (where our toilets were originally) and the layout has been changed. We plan on keeping the front of the shop pretty much the same, as we (and I think all the guests!) were happy how it was.
We put the plans up for the changes on the Kickstarter page, but we are still working with our architect and building team to get the kitchen, toilets, and back of the shop absolutely perfect. Downstairs will make way for a meeting/tasting room, a small bar, as well as space for all our retail coffee and equipment.’
Getintothis: Does this mean you can do even more? More items on the menu?
Katy Monti: ‘Yes, although we don’t want to change our original menu too much, we will have space to expand it a little more (I’m pushing for poached eggs!). We plan on setting up a small bar downstairs, but as we’re mainly focusing on the build of the shop downstairs it may be sometime in the months after the shop opens that we unleash the bar!’
Getintothis: Can you let us into any future plans at this moment on the live events front?
Katy Monti: The only show we’ve got booked in is Boneface at the end of Halloween that will feature new work. I’ve been chatting to a few people about putting shows on, Immix would be a good one, and I’d like to see more DIY gigs downstairs too. We can’t wait to get to the stage where we can plan and conﬁrm gigs and events, at the minute it’s still very much building the shop from scratch.’
Finally, do we have an opening date and launch?
Katy Monti: ‘We are aiming for early October, keep your eyes peeled for updates!’