The Live It Experience It guide to North Coast tearooms and coffee houses
By ELEANOR MCGILLIE 10 March, 2017
No doubt there will be copious amounts of coffee drank on the North Coast during the North West 200 this year. Live It Experience It explores some of the coffee houses and tearooms available to our visitors as they travel around the coastline. Claire Savage has been out and about sampling the delights on offer in our food and drink establishments.
Fancy a good old Northern Irish brew and some Northern Irish hospitality? Here are the places I recommend you go to.
- Top of our list is The Arcadia Cafe Portrush located right next to the East Strand and is just a few minutes’ walk from the town centre. Serving up a range of delicious local produce, the café is renowned for its Polish breakfast and also serves up smoothies, quality gourmet coffee and has a such a cool children’s menu. This is the place to go to enjoy breakfast, lunch or tasty snacks, including freshly baked cakes and tray bakes, while The Supper Club offers large group dining with experienced local chefs. And with a children’s play area outside – it’s perfect for families.
- On the North Coast, Ground Espresso Bars can be found brewing up quality coffee in Coleraine, Portrush, Ballymoney and Bushmills (spring/summer months only). While this is a coffee spot without those sea views, the homely interiors (consistent across the stores), friendly staff and great coffee and food more than make up for that! The Ground crew also regularly roll out special drinks and treats, so they’re worth a visit when you’re up.
- Overlooking Portrush West Strand and just beside Barry’s Amusements, is Koko, which boasts great views over the beach and has local artwork decorating the walls. Savour a cup of artisan coffee with a homemade tray bake, or relax with an ice cream from Braemar farm in Castlerock. Dog owners and their furry friends are also welcome on the outside balcony which overlooks the beach – just bring a coat if the weather isn’t on par!
- Known affectionately by locals as ‘the pink house’, Dora’s Tea Room at Ashlea Cottages Complex (beside the Magherabuoy House Hotel) is renowned for its hearty homemade cakes and sweet treats. This quirky vintage-inspired tea room uses fresh local produce for its delicious breakfast and lunch options, which will keep you coming back for more.
- Paper Fig Kitchen & Coffee opened in Portstewart at the end of March and is located along the popular coastal walk to the strand, near the old fisherman’s hut. Tuck into scones, sourdough bread, breakfast, soup or sandwiches, with a fresh coffee menu every few weeks and Braemar Farm ice cream from Castlerock for those sunny days.
- A little further along from Paper Fig and you’ll find yourself at the award-winning Harry’s Shack, which serves up great coffee and breakfasts on Portstewart Strand, as well as lunch and dinner. A hit with everyone from food critics and journalists, to locals and tourists, you can take in beautiful beach views while enjoying a hot brew and a bite.
- Warkes Deli at Portstewart Harbour is perfectly placed for those beautiful sea views and serves artisan coffee and food which is all sourced from the local area. You can also pick up hampers and take some of that delicious food home with you. Enjoy homemade scones and cakes, and a menu stuffed full of fresh produce.
- Roughans on Portstewart promenade has great sea views from its first-floor coffee shop, which serves up coffee, cake, scones and much more. Also well known for its homemade ice cream, there’s plenty to choose from with 36 mouthwatering flavours.
- 3 Kings Coffee Company was a new addition to Portstewart in 2016, with another outlet opening in Coleraine just recently. Located just opposite the harbour, you’ve got sea views and quirky interior décor, along with a wide range of coffee and tea options. Stay for breakfast, lunch or just a coffee and cake.
Bushmills and beyond…
- The French Rooms (reopening after their winter break on February 15), serves up a range of tasty treats from Wednesdays to Sundays, and is perfect for a quick or leisurely coffee. With little snugs anda cosy fire down at the back of the café, you can enjoy freshly prepared French-inspired food at your leisure, with everything from croissants to scones on offer. You’ll find it just on the Main Street.
- The Copper Kettle is a long-established café on Bushmills Main Street which is perfectly positioned at the roundabout, so is popular with passing visitors as well as being a meeting point for locals. Here, you can tuck into a fry-up or a light lunch, along with coffee, cakes and all kinds of freshly made fare.
- Just opened in September 2016, the Bothy Coffee on Whitepark Road has been a real hit with locals over the autumn/winter season, as well as with off-peak visitors. Located just before Whitepark Bay beach (if travelling from Bushmills), the coffee’s great, the food is fresh and delicious and there’s a fantastic wood-burning stove to cosy up to in the cold. With rustic décor, friendly staff and a sea view, this is a real hotspot that’s set to get even hotter.
- The Red Door Tea Room and Bistro in Ballintoy is en route to Ballintoy Harbour and another popular stop-off for visitors and locals. Serving up a range of food, you can enjoy freshly baked scones and coffee in a traditional Irish cottage surrounded by rolling countryside – with a sea view not too far away. There’s also a rustic turf fire and you can even stay for lunch or dinner, if you fancy it.
- Thyme & Co in Ballycastle is a favourite with both locals and tourists alike, and is close to Ballycastle beach, serving a hearty homemade menu which uses local ingredients.
- Shorebird Coffee Huton Ballycastle seafront is a great place to unwind with a coffee and watch the waves roll in. Stop off for breakfast or something more, with all dishes made from locally sourced produce.
- Ursa Minor Bakehouse in Ballycastle has a revamped and restyled café up and running on Ann Street and serves Barn Coffee Roaster, Berlin for coffee lovers, along with Pekoe Tea, amongst other varieties, while a tasty snack menu includes local preserves and ingredients. Making a name for themselves as artisan bakers, Ursa Minor is well-known for its sourdough bread and sweet bakes. (Open Tues-Sat)
- Lost & Found on Queen Street, Coleraine, champions local suppliers and ethical trading and takes the utmost care to serve up delicious coffee that’s made just as it should be. Enjoy breakfast, lunch or sweet treats and coffee in this hip and happening location.
- Rocca on Bridge Street in Coleraine is perfect for breakfast, lunch or coffee and cake, and has a beautiful interior reminiscent of the Victorian era. With plush sofas, a warm fire on those chilly days and plenty of nooks and snugs to savour a coffee, this is well worth a visit any day of the week.
- The Crannagh Coffee Shop & Bistro has made it onto the list for its riverside kerb appeal on the banks of the Bann and of course, its tasty menu. Managed by a chef who has won awards for sourcing local produce, it’s certainly worth a visit.
Live It Experience It’ is a group of journalists and travel writers who tell the story of our members. We work collaboratively with our members, which are tourism businesses, to promote Northern Ireland through water, air and land based activities, food and drink and great places to stay. Together we let our visitors know of all of the amazing things Northern Ireland has to offer. To become a member business in of ‘Live It Experience It’ call our office on 028 3756 8436 or please submit your information through our online form. T&Cs apply – Sign Up Here Let us tell your story! Live It Experience It is the NW200 tourism partner for 2018.