If you’re a regular Hockley-ite then chances are that you’ve probably spotted Dispatch Coffee on Goose Gate. The perfect spot to read a book, catch up with friends or enjoy a cup of coffee in peace, this cafe has already made a reputation for itself as one of the friendliest spots in Nottingham. And, regulars ourselves, we get it. That’s why we decided to catch up with Manager Euan Lees to chat about the colourful cafe’s film influences and how they’re finding their first year in business…
We’re going to be honest with you - we were a little conflicted about writing a piece on Dispatch Coffee. Sure, it’s one of the city’s most eye-catching and welcoming establishments and everyone should know about it. But, at the same time, we like to be able to get a nice, comfy seat upstairs, running through our magazine plans over a cup of warm coffee - and there are already too many of you that keep stealing our spot. It’s rude, in truth, and slightly disrespectful.
Yet, despite our inner turmoil, we thought we had to do the right thing and dedicate a couple of pages to Hockley’s most cinematic coffee shop, because everyone really should know about it. And, chatting to Manager Euan Lees, tucked away on the cushy yellow chairs in the cosy corner of the cafe, it’s easy to see why Dispatch is already becoming such a beloved joint: because they genuinely care about their customers.
“For us, it’s all about just putting in that little bit of effort,” Euan explains, “that’s all it is. It’s not rocket science. People are coming in and spending their money here, so we want to make sure they enjoy the experience as soon as they walk through the door. It feels like some people see it is a little dirty to care, and to want to do your job well, but we take pride in it. We love our customers and they help to keep us running, so why wouldn’t we want to go above and beyond for them? It’s crazy that that’s not everyone’s mindset.”
Regardless of when you walk through that big yellow door on Goose Gate - whether you’re getting your morning caffeine fix, winding down at the end of a stressful day, or stretching your lunch break just that little bit longer - you know you’re going to be met with friendly faces and top quality coffee. If you want to have a chat with members of staff, they’ll discuss the latest films or your favourite music. If you want to squirrel yourself away in the corner with a book and a brownie, they’ll leave you be. Whatever you’re after, they try to put the personal touch into their service.
“It feels like that’s missing a lot of the time now,” Euan muses. “It's nice to have that feeling of knowing that you can come in and chill and someone's going to have a chat with you, if you want that. But if you don’t, that’s cool too. Our staff are really intuitive, they can read our customers and figure out what works for them. We get so many regulars coming in now just based on the fact that one of us struck up a conversation with them. It's the little things like that that can make someone’s day, and that’s all we want Dispatch to be about.”
Being nice to people is all well and good, of course, but if the coffee’s not equally pleasant, it’s all for nothing. Luckily for Dispatch, who collaborate with Outpost Coffee Roasters, their drinks are some of the best in the city, with each cup brought to your table in delightful, Insta-worthy mugs. “Honestly, we can’t really take credit for the taste of our coffee,” Euan laughs. “We're really lucky to work with Outpost, they’re always amazing. Before we even opened, we knew we’d use them. They’re so great to deal with. We’re constantly talking to each other about guest roasts and how we can develop our drinks, and our house blend is spot on. We do the easy bit, in truth!”
Aside from the great coffee and good service, Dispatch also really is one of the most aesthetic spots to grab a drink. Regular customers will likely have picked up on the (not so subtle) Wes Anderson theme, which the cafe has curated with prints from his films and the pastel colour scheme. But, this isn’t the only film that the decor alludes to. A self-described massive cinema fan, Euan explains the paint on the walls also references multiple movies. The pink was inspired by the colour palette in The Florida Project, he says, and likewise, the painting downstairs (created by artist Lorna Dunn) is an homage to Atlanta, “where Van is on a mission in France on her bike”.
Run by such cinema buffs, it’s unsurprising that Dispatch were quick to collaborate with the Hockley institution that is Broadway Cinema. Having hosted their first screening in December, Euan says that he’d love to make it a regular thing. “Our first showing was of The Grand Budapest Hotel, which had an obvious connection to us and is probably Wes Anderson’s most popular movie, so now it’s all just about choosing what to have next.” It’s partly good for the business, but more than anything, Euan explains, it’s just fun to collaborate with other people, particularly in this part of the city centre which is so well known as a creative hotspot.
Likewise, Dispatch may soon have even more creativity in the cafe itself. They’ve already worked with great local artists and many of the staff are following their own creative pursuits, but Euan muses on introducing some books into the space for people to read. Somewhat comparable to Blend Contemporary which currently hosts a collection of locally made zines, Euan explains that it would be nice for Dispatch coffee drinkers to have some reading material to flick through. “I'm really into graphic novels,” he explains, “which used to be a bit weird but is much more normal now. So, I’ve been thinking about putting those kinds of things around.”
Overall, talking to Euan it’s clear that he’s passionate about creating a welcoming environment for his customers. Inspired in part by the now closed (but well-loved) tea shop Lee Rosy’s, Dispatch stays open later in the evening than most independent coffee shops, and Euan likes the idea of the spot acting as a post-work stop before people head home for the day. Especially because “there's so many different cultures in the UK, and not everyone wants to be part of drinking culture. Some people just want a nice decaf coffee after work and a fifteen minute buffer before they head home.” A great addition to both the Nottingham coffee and film scene, we can’t wait to see what they do next. And in the meantime, we’ll be back for our regular orders.
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