Ben Woolhead talks to Outpost’s Matt Jones about brewing coffee and selling records.
For Matt Jones and Sophie Smith, it all started, appropriately enough, over a cup of coffee. “Last January, we took a trip to Barcelona after a pretty intense Christmas period in our old jobs”, says Matt. “We sat in a small coffee shop called Satan’s and talked about wanting to bring something similar to Cardiff. Sophie’s been a vinyl head for years and, seeing places do similar things around the country, we thought it was time Cardiff had its own coffee and vinyl cafe. Sipping coffee and listening to music all day is the dream, right?!” And so Outpost was born.
Initially serving up hot caffeinated goodness and selling LPs at markets and festivals, by October they had moved into their very own permanent premises within the Castle Emporium, situated on Womanby Street opposite Clwb Ifor Bach at the very heart of the city’s music scene. The choice of location, Matt says, was a no-brainer – “If you would have offered me any street to put a shop on in Cardiff, I would pick Womanby Street every time” – though he admits that “the constant battle is to make people aware that this street has something to offer during the day as well as the night”.
For Matt, coffee and vinyl is “just a combo that works so well”. But do he and Sophie see Outpost as primarily a record shop or a coffee shop? “I think we would both agree that it probably sits as a coffee shop with a great selection of records. We get great feedback on the vinyl side of things and we will always go the extra mile to try and hunt down records for people on request.” While most of those who buy an album also indulge in a coffee, he says that plenty of customers drop by just for a cuppa. “We see quite a lot of people multiple times a day and lots of times in a week, so if they were buying a record every time we would be millionaires!”
On the subject of combos that work well together, what pairings would Matt particularly recommend? “Want to get something done quickly? A double espresso alongside anything by King Gizzard & The Wizard Lizard. Casual Sunday listening? Brew a filter and stick on David Bowie’s Hunky Dory.”
Sounds like absolute bliss.
Outpost, Castle Emporium, Womanby Street, Cardiff, CF10 1BS. Opening hours: Mon–Fri 8–5, Sat 10–6, Sun closed. Info: www.outpostrecords.co.uk.