A Look Inside the Brompton Bike Café in Brooklyn

Iconic West London folding bicycle company Brompton Bicycle have just opened up their stateside community hub and coffee shop with the Brompton Bike Café, inside the Rough Trade NYC record store, just off the busy Kent Avenue bike route in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York.

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David Bader, on staff at the Brompton Bike Café inside Rough Trade NYC.

David Bader, on staff at the Brompton Bike Café inside Rough Trade NYC. Photo by David Niddrie

It’s a British invasion in Brooklyn! Iconic West London folding bicycle company Brompton Bicycle have just opened up their stateside community hub and coffee shop with the Brompton Bike Café, just off the busy Kent Avenue bike route in Williamsburg.

In a perfect combination of cycling, culture, and caffeine, the Brompton Café makes its home within the spacious, gritty vibe of the Rough Trade NYC shop, another classic British entity with a fiercely independent spirit. Customers can partake in delicious Toby’s Estate Coffee (roasted in Brooklyn just a few blocks away) and enjoy a gourmet vegan snack from local bakers Dun-Well Doughnuts as they fuel up for an in-store live music performance. A dedicated indoor cubby space by the front entrance keeps their trusted Brompton folded and secure.

The 15,000 square foot record shop (a former prop warehouse) has everything a music lover would want – records, books, turntables, ping pong – and a generous 300-seat live venue in the back for showcase events. Outfitted with industrial shipping containers and reclaimed materials, the space is decidedly urban and the Brompton Café occupies a central location amongst all these goodies.

A rare Brompton 'Mark I' from their first run is on display next to the café lounge. Photo by David Niddrie.

A rare Brompton ‘Mark I’ from their first run is on display next to the café lounge. Photo by David Niddrie

When we visited just days after opening, we spoke with employee David Bader who fixed us our provisions in the café. He showed us around the space, where our attention was drawn to an original ‘Mark I’ Brompton, one of 400 from the first run made by founder Andrew Richie in the mid-1970s. No doubt, Brompton fans will drool over this machine, and the requests to purchase will only increase as they get busier (but no, it’s not for sale). A photographic history of the Brompton World Championships and repurposed frame parts round out the décor.

The café shares staff with the record shop, continuing the integration of the space. Another local retailer, Brooklyn’s Main Drag Music, operate an outpost shop of synths and keyboards for electronic enthusiasts. Sipping fresh coffee while jamming on a Korg Volca Bass took record store shopping to a new high.

Bader says while no bikes are sold in store, they are really working to establish the space as a community hub, particularly from the Brompton set. Rides, meet-ups, and events will bring riders from this far-reaching community together to celebrate all things bike, and particularly, folding Brompton bikes. Of course, there will be no discrimination and riders of all stripes are most welcome to visit. You won’t fit anything but a ‘Brommie’ in those cubbies, but parking is available outside along with free air to keep your tires rolling.

As urban cycling continues to infiltrate the mainstream, mixed use spaces like this one should thrive while establishing the common ground and independent spirit music and bicycle lovers alike can share.

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