Honesty Inkpen is a beautiful place to enjoy breakfast, lunch or a cup of coffee. There is something about the atmosphere that makes me happy. It sits next to the Crown and Garter pub, restaurant and hotel, in the heart of the beautiful West Berkshire countryside and it truly is a super location. In the winter the coffee shop is cosy and inviting and in the spring or summer when the sun shines there are tables outside where customers can soak up the sun. It's an ideal spot for walkers or cyclists to sit and have a break, with plenty of room to leave cycles. It is also welcoming to children and dog walkers. It is important for me that when we open coffee shops they sit well within the community which they serve. For too long commerce has helped to destroy community.
Once upon a time the coffee shop was a barn and part of the coaching inn. I imagine a place where the horses might have been rested, fed and watered on a journey somewhere. It was also used on one occasion as a place to lay out the corpses of two people who ended their days swinging on the gibbett at Combe. Thankfully it fills a happier role now. In later years it became a skittle alley for the pub and when I purchased the pub in 2014 it was a place of residence for the previous owner.
I took a gamble turning the barn, as it was then called, into a tiny coffee shop and artisan bakery, a gamble because it would have been easier to turn it into another bedroom for the hotel, but I like a challenge and I thought that it would add another dimension to the Crown and Garter having it as a coffee shop, and I think it has achieved this aim. It was lovely seeing it work as a coffee shop and a bakery when we first opened. The bakery walls, facing out to the coffee shop, were perspex sheets so that the customers could see the baker at work and the smells were enticing to say the least. It did quickly become apparent, however, that as soon as the demand for bread and cakes increased so the space at the bakery became inadequate and had to move to larger premises.
The upside was that we now have a lovely roomy space for a coffee shop that also doubles up as a private dining room in the evening. It is one of the nicest private dining rooms I have eaten in. The space also makes a great place for meetings for businesses and as the coffee shop is served by the Crown and Garter kitchen a variety of hot or cold food for lunch or dinner is not a problem.
Take the time to pay us a visit. I can assure you that you will not be disappointed.