When I read that Lolo Bikes & Coffee was awarded the title of best coffee bar in the Netherlands, it immediately topped my list of places to visit during our weekend in The Hague. It was fortunate then that we happened to be strolling along the Noordeinde in the early afternoon and stumbled on Lola just as the clock struck coffee time!
The menu written across the blackboard behind the coffee bar was not your usual list of Italian coffee styles, such as the espresso, cappuccino or macchiato. Instead the selection consisted of a choice of coffee strengths, sizes and milk quantities, as well as a “naked” option. I wasn’t quite sure how to decipher it all, so I decided to order my usual “café latte” and see what happened. The laid back and friendly staff didn’t seem phased at all when I veered from their ordering sequence. My order arrived at the table in a tall latte glass and was translated on the bill as a single shot with extra milk.
Served with a glass of water, my coffee also came with instructions for how to drink it! First step is to drink some water, smell the coffee then take a sip and let it hit the top of your tongue before slowly letting it flow to the side of the tongue. In all my years of drinking coffee, I’d never experienced coffee like this. It was so good! And the homemade cappuccino cake was delicious too.
It is obvious that the people behind Lola Bikes & Coffee are passionate about their coffee. And bikes too, apparently. Surrounded by colourful bikes and bike gear, as well as a number of cyclists who’d stopped in for a caffeine fix after a ride or to drop off their bikes for a service, this café proved to be a happening spot on a Saturday afternoon. The warm and welcoming atmosphere, the laid back service and clientele, not to mention the excellent coffee, make Lola a great hangout – even for those of us who know very little about bikes!
One of the many things I love about the Netherlands is seeing all the graceful locals riding their bikes everywhere. So when Bec took me to café in the centre of town, I wasn’t surprised to find that this coffee shop doubled as a bike shop.
While Bec enjoyed her coffee by the bar at the front of the shop, I made my way to the back where the bike section was. Right in the middle was a bearded gentleman fixing a bike while customers sipped coffee at the tables around him. Below was a bike repair workshop, while upstairs was a shop selling everything you need to look cool while you ride – helmets, water bottles, t-shirts and hats. They even sold a range of tools and books on cycling, and of course lots of really nice-looking bikes. At the back of the shop was a sunroom, a perfect spot to take your coffee and cake, pull out your MacBook and write a blog post about Lola Bikes & Coffee!
As well as catering for bike lovers, this place is hipster heaven with its urban-industrial interior design, great coffee and all sorts of fixie bikes for sale. While I enjoyed a hot chocolate I noticed two guys at the next table sporting beards, tight jeans, and fashion glasses. On the other side were two cyclists in full body suits with cool riding bags. I have to admit I felt a little out of place surrounded by all these cool dudes. But Lola is a really special place. I’ll definitely be back. Now I just need to grow a beard…
Lola Bikes & Coffee
Noordeinde 91, 2514 The Hague