Unique city-centre Lego cafe opens just in time for summer hols
Since opening at the end of June, the one-of-a-kind city centre Lego cafe has been bustling with builders of all ages.
The family-run Builder’s Brew cafe can be found opposite Sheffield Cathedral, in the former home of Edison’s cafe. As well as hundreds of Lego sets and thousands of bricks to indulge your creative side, the cafe also offers coffee from Sheffield roasters Forge, homemade cakes and sandwiches and snacks.
James Beech, who runs Builder’s Brew with wife Laura, told Exposed: “I loved Lego growing up, and since having kids I got back into it. We’ve got five kids between the ages of one and eight. For us, as a family, Lego is the best thing. They can lose themselves in Lego for an hour or two, so we thought what a great idea it would be to have a really cool family venue where people can spend quality time together.
“It’s not just a kid’s venue either, it’s a grownup venue too! We’ve had tonnes of couples coming in and we’re going to be open during the evenings after the summer holidays for couples to come on date nights – we just want it to be a good hangout place. Hopefully it’ll be popular with students too, that’s the goal.”
For the incredibly reasonable price of just £3 an hour, per person, visitors can choose from hundreds of sets, including popular Star Wars and Harry Potter builds, or, if you’re not into following the instructions, you can freestyle it using the cafe’s huge selection of bricks.
The two screens behind the packed deli counter show the sets on offer each day, with one featuring sets of 300-pieces or less, and the other showing more complicated, 300-piece plus sets. If you’re staying for an hour, they recommend choosing one of the 300-piece sets, in order to make sure you have time to complete it.
The concept has already proved incredibly popular, with table reservations filling up fast. James said: “The first weekend was pretty busy considering we’d only just opened, the second weekend was even busier, then the third weekend was absolutely mad!
“Everyone that’s come has given us really good feedback. On the whole people have just found it a really good spot, which is super encouraging.
“We’ve not had a lot of sleep and we’ve been open every day for the past few weeks. It’s my wife that does all the baking in the kitchen, so between us, juggling five kids, baking the cakes and doing all the shifts, it’s been a lot.
“In terms of how the venue’s turned out and the response that we’ve had, in some ways we’ve been busier than we possibly could have expected, which is a really nice problem to have. It’s been really good. Obviously, it’s one big punt setting up a new business.”
James came to university in Sheffield in 2010 and like many before him, he decided to stick around. A far cry from cafe’s and Lego, he went to work in comms for a big American insurance company but had always held ambitions to own his own business one day. Once he and Laura had settled on the idea for Builder’s Brew, they applied for and received a business loan just before Christmas, finally allowing them to build their idea.
“We were hoping other people would think it was as good of an idea as we did, so the fact that it’s gone down as well as it has is really cool.” Says James, “Sheffield just feels like a really good place to do it.
“We don’t think there’s anything else exactly like us anywhere else in the city.”
Looking to the future, they’re hoping to get a license, as well as host kid’s parties, corporate events, functions and team away days. The site also has a big onsite kitchen which they plan to utilise by offering themed evenings, centred more around the food, while still focusing on the all-important Lego building aspect.
For now, Builder’s Brew is open seven days a week, but keep an eye on their socials as those hours may change in the future (I mean, they’ve got to kip at some point, right?!)