The first installment of Cargo opened in Bangor back in 2017, beginning its coffee journey in the form of (in our opinion) the coolest drive-thru experience Northern Ireland had to offer. The drive-thru location made of shipping containers took the ‘grab ‘n’ go’ coffee culture and turned it somewhat on its head.
Cargo was Northern Ireland’s first speciality coffee shop, based in Bangor. You can go to a drive-thru and purchase locally roasted, speciality coffee from the very seat of your car.
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The origin story
The opportunity to set up in Bangor came around, and the site had already been set up with containers, so it was ideal. We had originally opted for a spot by the Ravenhill road, but we were having some issues with planning. The idea was always to have the business ‘Cargo’ run out of the shipping containers, so when we moved, we literally just had to re-brand the containers and re-structure slightly, and that was it.
The convenience is in plain sight, but the USP focus is on quality espresso and food compared to bean-to-cup machine or greasy spoon café formats that was the ‘quick and easy’ selling point of such places.
Our main supplier is Bailies Coffee – for us, it’s the best offering of quality coffee and unmeasurable service – as a business owner this is vital. As well as this, in June 2020 we began the journey of creating our own signature speciality roast and that matured in November 2020, so we have two fantastic-tasting coffees with the tasting notes below.
Origin: Brazil, Columbia, Ethopia
Notes: almond, forest fruits, chocolate
Origin: Ethiopia, Costa Rica
Notes: citrus fruits, chocolatey orange finish
We have a small but perfect menu for driving around, so everything is hand held. Our hot food selection includes our bagels, with 7 different possibilities as well, as the Harland which is brioche bun, bacon, egg , cheese and Ballymaloe relish – it is divine!
We like to use local suppliers so our brownies and fresh daily pastries are made by small independent businesses – we really support local.
We also offer handmade energy balls, made in-house by our team, and these are a match made in heaven with a hot drink while you’re on the go. We’d say our specialities are coffee and bagels.
Cargo is open 7 days a week until 4pm, only closing a few days around Christmas. We love to be available for our loyal customers.
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We plan to develop our brand further and grow our presence, becoming one of NI’s destination coffee shops.
Personally, my favourite thing about Cargo is that the staff enjoy working in the affectionately named “Tin” – this really helps with developing a rapport with customers, and we often see customers 2-3 times per day as a result.
Overall, I think we stand out as a coffee shop. We are bold and hard to miss.
Find out more about Cargo Coffee here.
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