Caffeine&Machine: a unique gathering place where all petrolheads feel welcome !

04.04.2019

The idea of Caffeine&Machine is plain simple, but brilliant. It’s a petrolhead coffee house, licensed bar and restaurant, boutique b&b, and a living art gallery, C&M is designed very simply as a place to go, a destination in and of itself if you appreciate moving things. With fabulous food, mind-blowing coffee and high-end rooms, C&M offers everything you expect from a modern member’s club - except you don’t have to be a member to enjoy it.

Set in twelve lush acres just outside the glorious city of Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire England, C&M provides a convenient hub for any motorised scene, a hub whose spokes reach out into every subculture, group, club and clan you can imagine - from supercars to rat rods, vintage bikes to drift cars. Anything that starts with a key, they embrace.

C&M is founded to provide a space in which people can meet, talk, eat, drink and inspire - a local and national centre for a world-wide and smile-deep community. A quick coffee or lazy lunch, a weekend away or an evening drink - it’s all ready and waiting.

We had a talk with Phil McGovern, one of the two founders of Caffeine&Machine about their crazy journey.

Caffeine&Machine: a unique gathering place where all petrolheads feel welcome !

Phil, how did this adventure started?

I suppose the idea began to circulate through the creation of a website called crankandpiston.com about 5 years ago, which at the time was my expression of what I was looking for when it came to online content. I’d had a passion for photography, writing and content in general, so finding myself in a world – the Middle East – that was exceptionally sympathetic when it came to a new approach to delivering automotive content, I thought I’d start a website and actually produce the stories I wanted to see. Ambitious in the extreme, and riddled with traps, but I gave it go. What was the worst that could happen?

The seeds were sown on my travels. I’d spent a lot of time travelling around with work – at the time I was employed by Jaguar/Land Rover based out of their Regional HQ in Dubai – and when I started to scratch the surface of some of the incredible countries in and around the Middle East, I met some amazing people and, surprise, surprise, they shared the same passions as I did. I learned very quickly these people had cool stories to tell, stories driven by a passion for cars, bikes or anything with a propulsion mechanism – stories that became the basis of the website. Looking back, it’s wild to think of the avenues that little online effort opened up for me. I probably didn’t realise at the time just how important that period was – but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

I just couldn’t shake the idea of an inclusive, welcoming roadhouse and hangout. Somewhere to be welcome, no matter what you were into.

Phil, how did this adventure started?

And when did the plan became reality?

That was about two years ago, I found myself as the Chief Marketing Officer of a digital start-up bank, of all things. Which is where I met my current business partner, Dan Macken. I remember vividly, waxing lyrical about this hair-brained idea I had to create automotive utopia, wrapped up in a cafe culture. Everyone thought I was insane. But not Dan. By this stage, I was already playing around with Caffeine&Machine and had delivered a bunch of one-day events around the city of Dubai. Testing, tweaking, learning at every stage. The last event we put on in Dubai was the kicker, the trigger for Dan and I – a one-day, eclectic, all-comers event with music and food. Basically, a test for what C&M could – and would – look like. When it finished, we packed up, drank, slept for a bit and then had the time to look at the numbers: C&M as a permanent business had real potential. Possibly.

Which got us here. Now the leap of faith. Leave Dubai, risk our livelihoods and try to deliver a project in the middle of England that was still pretty much a complete unknown…

And when did the plan became reality?

Why did you launch this in the middle of England?

The initial idea was to create this in the Middle East. But due to work circumstances, we moved back into the UK, and found this place, which was the last missing piece of our big puzzle. Warwickshire might look as a rather strange choice, but actually it has many advantages; we are in the middle of the Motorsport belt of the UK, several F1 teams and car manufacturers have their headquarters in the nearby area, it’s a 1,5 hour drive from London, and we wanted to operate in quiet and green surroundings. The funny thing is, at the opening event, it was raining but that didn’t stop many enthusiasts for coming over. We were really overwhelmed by the number of visitors and the level of cars and bikes.

Why did you launch this in the middle of England?

How are you feeling since the opening of C&M last October?

It has been a rollercoaster since the launch, we immediately drew quite some attention from the professional motorised scene, BBC Top Gear and some other publishing platforms brought us a visit, and we had a well-prepared social media plan. It feels like I’m in an American Football team; I have the ball and I keep on running as fast as I can, in order to pin it on the ground at the end of the Field. We have so many enthusiasts, bringing us a visit, and people keep coming back. Dan and I both live on the premises, and not one day looks the same. To see such a project growing out of the ground, is really marvelous. The nice thing is, our customer base is so diverse, but we all share the same passion. It’s the oil running through our vessels that unites us!

Thanks Phil, we wish you all the luck and we’ll sure bring you a visit for a petrolhead-chat and a few coffees!

Follow C&M on Instagram

Official website

© Pictures: Si Medlicott

 

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