Lokaal – Rotterdam (NL)

Feel a hint of industrial London while grabbing a great cup of coffee at this friendly hotspot

  • opening times:
    Mo - Fr: 9 - 18, Sa: 10 - 17, Su: 11 - 17
  • wifi:
    Yes
  • urls:
    FacebookWebsite
  • price check:
    Espresso: €2 / Flat White: €3,20
  • machine:
    La Marzocco Linea
  • coffees on offer:
    various Espresso and filter roasts by Giraffe Coffee Roasters
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In my previous review of Aloha Bar I spoke about how these days abandoned buildings are often being rescued by young entrepreneurs who help the city blow new life into them, rather than tearing them down. Aloha Bar, which has moved into the iconic Tropicana water park is one excellent example of the city of Rotterdam’s pragmatic approach to this practice. But there is more.

Close to Rotterdam Centraal Station, which is probably one of the most impressive pieces of railway architecture in the world, the city recently began to redevelop an old railway station and its railway arches below, which are being turned into small and exciting businesses. One such business is Lokaal, a coffee spot owned by Guido Waas.

After formerly running the coffee business inside Rotterdam’s Boijmans Museum, Guido wanted to take matters into his own hands. Via a friend he heard of the city’s mission to find entrepreneurs willing to claim one of the arches for new business ventures and before long, Lokaal was being built. When they opened their doors around 2 1/2 years ago, Rotterdam’s specialty coffee scene was still in its infancy. Now things are looking a lot more advanced across town.

Owner and sign

Owner and sign

I asked Guido what the name stood for: “Lokaal means many things. On the one hand we’re the local coffee hang out, part of the local fabric. On the other hand we try to use only local products here. For example: We use local bread, local cheese, local beer and since recently, locally roasted coffee. For us it’s important to support the local community and Rotterdam’s got everything we need.”

Although the space itself is a bit dark inside due to scaffolding obscuring the large windows, it’s a great place to get on with your creative projects while sipping on a expertly prepared Flat White. They also have a great terrace, which allows you to take in the delicious smells of food being prepared at some of the restaurants next door. On the roof, the city is currently building its new wooden walkway, something that easily reminds you of the Highline in New York. When completed, it will connect the area around Lokaal with Central Station and further afield. A great way to explore Rotterdam on foot.

Since a few months Lokaal serves locally roasted coffees offered by Mark Jordaan and his team at Giraffe Coffee Roasters. For their Espresso they use a Yirgacheffe. For drinks with milk they use a blend consisting of the Yirgacheffe and a Brazil, but there are also filter coffee options available.

Lokaal is part of a bunch of businesses that are helping put Rotterdam back on the map. So much so that Monocle Magazine included Lokaal in one of last year’s editions. Although it may be slightly off the beaten track, it’s a great spot from which to start your exploration of Holland’s second city and its booming creative scene.

Waiting customer at the bar

Waiting customer at the bar

The shape reminds you of a tunnel

The shape reminds you of a tunnel

The terrace gets lots of sunshine

The terrace gets lots of sunshine

3 Flat Whites, water and a muffin

3 Flat Whites, water and a muffin

The friendly back is ideal for leafing through magazines

The friendly back is ideal for leafing through magazines

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