Today’s ‘A Stylish Find’ isn’t a new one for me at all, but if you’re new to my home town of Rochester and fancy exploring, then this is for you. Our beautifully preserved, historic high street made famous predominantly by Charles Dickens is not short of places to kick back with a coffee, but The Deaf Cat is the place I choose to spend my time in.
Opened five years ago by former graphic designer Kevan Middleton, The Deaf Cat (so named after Charles Dickens’s favourite pet) sits boldly inside a Grade II listed building which was once a home. With a red brick and matt black facade, worn original floorboards and tonal greys on the walls, it sets itself apart from the twee tea rooms from the off. As a functioning gallery, The Deaf Cat supports local artists who can display and sell their work. The art changes on a regular basis – including the wall murals, there’s always something new to look at. You might even spot local artist Billy Chyldish who regularly pops down on his scooter. I really ought to say hello sometime…
When I have a rare moment on my own or even with the kids in tow, it’s a home from home. A newbie to the wonderful realms of coffee drinking (I had a caffeine intolerance for the best part of thirteen years) I cut my teeth in here. I love the atmosphere; from the heady aroma of roasted coffee beans and frothy hot milk, to the indie/alternative music, there’s always a good energy which is why it’s so popular within the creative community. Oh and Reuben says “he loves the cookies and orange juice”-his favourites.
The mix of industrial and retro works so well in this space, from the well worn Chesterfield sofa and cosy seating, vintage church chairs and pendant lamps, it’s unpretentiously, effortlessly stylish. With the recent opening of a branch of Costa’s just a few doors down there was quite understandably a lot of unease about the effect it would have on the established cafes, but loyal customers (me included) keep coming back to show their support.
Of course, it wouldn’t be the place it is without the quality of the coffee and a group of very welcoming baristas who know how to make the perfect cup. The bean of choice here is Origin, a small company in Cornwall using their own environmentally friendly coffee roaster. Coffee with a conscience. Their branding is pretty sexy too. Obviously.
If nothing else entices you to Rochester I hope this will. I’m planning an Instagram tour later on this spring and we will most definitely be making a pit-stop here for a break from snapping. Would you like to join me? Watch this space for news.
Thanks again to manager Matt and owner Kevan for letting me hang out and shoot for a couple of hours. See you soon!