Sunderland band Lilliput open city centre cafe

Members of the band Lilliput, left to right; Dan Stores, James Gilling and Joe Collins have opened a coffee shop at Independent, Holmeside, Sunderland.
Members of the band Lilliput, left to right; Dan Stores, James Gilling and Joe Collins have opened a coffee shop at Independent, Holmeside, Sunderland.
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WAKE up and smell the coffee at a new independent city venture.

A trio of friends have undergone barista training to serve up affordable coffee made using locally-roasted beans.

The idea for Holmeside Coffee was born from the friends’ shared love of the brew and their drive to provide an alternative to the more expensive chains in Sunderland city centre.

James Gilling, 24, from Fulwell, and Joe Collins, 23, from Ashbrooke, who are band members in Lilliput, have teamed up with friend Dan Stores, 24, from South Hylton, to open the business on the ground floor of Independent in Holmeside.

James said: “When we’ve been to places like London and Liverpool there’s loads of great independent coffee houses, but there wasn’t anything like that in Sunderland apart from the chains.

“They have their place, but they are a lot more expensive and the experience you have is the same in every branch you go in.”

As well as coffee, the new business, which is open from 7.30am, offers free Wi-Fi, literature for customers to read and a choice of vinyl for people to choose as background music, as well as guest musicians on Saturdays.

Instead of charging people to eat in, coffee drinkers are encouraged to bring their own food should they wish.

“An average cup of coffee costs £1.80,” explained James. “It’s all made using beans from Ouseburn Coffee which is roasted 17 miles away.”