The New Space

When we initially launched back in 2013 we didn’t have room to house a coffee shop but we knew we needed coffee. Our solution was to borrowed a 1963 Vespa Ape Pick up which had been beautifully fitted out with a coffee machine on the back. Ever since it has been an integral part of things and it is great to be bringing it back with a proper La Marzocco espresso machine.

It was always an ambition to have a garage at the heart of what we do so we were stoked when moving to Stoke Newington allowed for one. Garages were what introduced me to the community of motorcycling and soon they became the regular hang out. It was initially Scooter-works in Bermondsey who welcomed me in. I’d brought my 63’ Vespa in for an MOT and they told me what needed fixing, and then said if you want to do it yourself we’ll show you how. After that I went down every weekend, fixing and improving things but mainly drinking teas with the others. Eventually I ran out of excuses to come down so I imported an old Moto Guzzi Ambassador from Italy which would keep me busy for a good few months.

We ran our garage for two years and worked on some great motorcycles, everything from hondas cubs to Indian chiefs. Unfortunately it came at a cost, it wasn’t really financially viable in the long term and we struggled to find a trustworthy mechanic to over see things. In January we decided that we could do more with the space if we renovated and repurposed it. We will open a new garage workspace in another unit.

It was clear that the walls, floor and ceiling all needed replacing if the space was to be useable in any way. The room was clad in pine wood and a floor of reclaimed scaffolding boards was laid. Over the course of two weeks the room underwent a complete transformation with the help of Rui Rocha. Regardless of how much coffee we sell I wanted it to be the best and I loved the La Marzocco machine we had in the old place. I travelled to Bristol to find a new one, the Linear Model in shining aluminium, an Italian design classic. Our friend Bradley sorted us out with giant Umbrella for the court yard complete with lights, heating and our name on the canvas. We don’t even have heating in the shop! This has made a real difference, inviting people to use the court yard space, hang out and meet new people.

The idea of the space was to create somewhere flexible so we could do new things and other things better. If we throw events the space can be a bar, pop-up shop, stage for bands or somewhere with tables to hang out. It has the wall space to host art exhibitions and we are inviting different brands to come to London and take over the space. It will work well for our mechanics classes and allow us to invite artists down for residencies.

Bolt has always been a social space with a good crowd of regulars passing by on a daily basis. Our circle of friends include vintage clothes collectors; pin strippers, air brush artists and painters; embroiders, chain stitching and vintage repairers; record sellers, leather workers. Its an inexhaustible network of friends who we want to use the space to show case and share their work. We’ll also be hosting a rota of social events including a home cook paella, impromptu BBQ’s and Kristen Cutlip’s Blues, Beer and Darts club! Really we want it to be a youth club, just without too many youth.

Keep an eye on our Instagram as we will be launching in the next few weeks with a different event happening each week.

Andrew AlmondComment