There’s no better substitute than good Bristol coffee houses
Grace is a self-confessed coffee nerd who likes to live the hipster life on a part-time basis, visiting Bristol’s independent cafes dressed in a tartan poncho and clutching a book. She also writes a Bristol events and food blog: “Girl in Bristol”.
At some point during the week, most Bristolians will find themselves staring lovingly at a cup of coffee. They will admire its colour, its silky taste (and perhaps most importantly), the caffeine rush which follows shortly afterwards.
For some the experience is brief, encompassed in a takeaway cup with a name scribbled on the outside. Often wrongly. For others visiting coffee houses is a leisurely experience, a sacred part of the week prior to which they spend copious amounts of time considering questions like whether they should finally branch out from having their usual. Of course, this never happens.
But what about those who have yet to find their local caff? Those who wonder aimlessly in the cold with no coffee-serving residence to lend purpose to their walking?
Bristol has not forgotten you my friends.
1. Playground Coffee House, 45 St Nicholas Street
— Playground Coffee (@PlaygroundCofCo) October 11, 2015
Let your inner child burst forth and the never-ending games of Monopoly begin at Playground Coffee House.
With skilfully made coffee and swings for seats (yep, you heard me right), Playground Coffee House is a great place to hang out with friends and banter with the staff! Be sure to order something from Chef James’ creative lunch menu if you get the chance – you won’t regret it!
2. @thewell, 145 Cheltenham Road
If you’re looking for a café with charm and character, @thewell has it in spades. The china tea cups, vintage furnishings and fully-functioning laundrette give @thewell a really homey feel which is accentuated further by the fact that it’s run by the lovely Grist sisters.
During the day, you can treat yourself to Transatlantic American pancakes with scrambled eggs, bacon and mushrooms. At night (my favourite time to go), you can stay until 9:30pm on Tuesday and Wednesday to steal a few moments of quiet, sipping on a warming “drink that must not be named”.
3. Bakers and Co, 193 Gloucester Road
— Team Bakers & Co (@bakersandco) January 28, 2015
Bakers and Co has been talked about a lot after getting the nod from the Sunday Times with regards to its brunch offering (not that we were surprised, Baker’s Instagram is the definition of food porn). But have you popped in during the week?
Whilst Bakers is pretty rammed over the weekend, during the week the café is a refuge of calm, with the smell of freshly made bread drifting through the air. The café serves coffee made using Extract coffee beans and Ivy House milk in sunshine yellow mugs to complement its San Francisco themed food which you must sample if you haven’t already. The Huevous Rancheros breakfast is my favourite.
4. Arts House, 108A Stokes Croft
Whenever I have blog posts to write in the evening, I’ll always head to Arts House if I fancy a change of scenery. The hot chocolates are deliciously creamy and you’ll always get a generous slab of cake served with a smile.
Inside, the window seats are covered in pillows and throws to keep things cosy and the café is open until 11pm most nights which is great if you’re usually working during the day.
5. Hawkes House, St. Mary’s Street, Thornbury
We’re going to journey a little further out but it’s totally worth the 40 minute bus ride on the 79.
In a converted country pub, Hawkes has a lounge-like feel to it with leather sofas and exposed brickwork walls. The menu covers everything from tapas to burgers and though Hawkes isn’t primarily a coffee house, it does serve all the staples with the sweet addition of a chocolate minstrel on your coffee plate.
6. Ronak, 169A Gloucester Road
— Cafe Ronak (@caferonak) September 13, 2015
I could go on and on about this place (and I often do) but that’s because Ronak to me, is everything you could ever want in a coffee house.
Serving ethical, locally-sourced food Ronak encourages it’s chefs and baristas to get creative and try out new things. Of course, you can have your standard capp but there are also matcha chai tea lattes, chilli hot chocolates and shakes to be had which I heartily recommend. There’s a cute sheltered garden out the back but I recommend sitting outside the front, looking over Gloucester Road snuggled up in one of Ronak’s blankets.
7. Beatroot Café, 20-21 Lower Park Row
Beatroot has a relatively quiet presence online so unless you walk near Park Row regularly, you may not have realised it existed!
The venue is pretty quirky with regards to its layout, spread over three floors with a long, communal table on the top floor, a select few tables besides the bar and a huge garden outside. There is a daily meat and vegetarian quiche which you can have with salads or there are a selection of bagels and brunchy things. Upstairs there is a small library of classic books so why not grab a cuppa, eat some quiche and salad and embrace the hipster life for a while?
8. Workhouse Café, 19-20 Perry Road
— workhouse kitchen (@cafeworkhouse) August 30, 2015
Calling all NHS professionals! If you haven’t ventured outside of the BRI’s in-house Costa to check out the many great independents near you, you’re missing out. No offence to Costa.
A minutes’ walk away from the Children’s Hospital, Workhouse café serves a huge selection of hot chocolates, smoothies, shakes and juices alongside some flippin’ delicious cakes. The Chocolate Stout one is insanely good and you will get a door wench-sized slice guaranteed.
Additionally, Workhouse also serve a selection of paninis and sarnies for lunch which include ingredients from it’s own allotment – it doesn’t get more locally-sourced than that!
9. The Bristolian, 2 Picton Street
Pulling beautiful coffee all day long pic.twitter.com/qG1YyrX5BV
— The Bristolian Cafe (@BristolianCafe) May 16, 2014
Tucked away down Picton Street, The Bristolian is renowned in the Stokes Croft/ Montpellier area for its cooked breakfasts (which comprise of a vegan, veggie or meat option) and their smooth milky coffees which have a delightfully rich flavour.
With a small courtyard out the front, The Bristolian is a great suntrap in the summer but in the winter, there is a refreshing relaxed vibe inside amplified by its warm colours and deli-like bar which is always filled with large ceramic plates full of fresh salads and cakes. The staff are lovely and friendly too.
Like this? Well hurry up and give 5 delicious places to eat in Bristol a read.
Bristol’s First Cat Cafe Is Opening This Weekend
Cat cafe almost open
After an incredibly long journey, Bristol’s first cat cafe is finally opening this weekend.
There will space for 9 cats but only 7 at the start so the cats have the space to get used to each other. At all times there will also be 2 cats available for adoption as well.
The official launch takes place on Saturday and there are still a couple of spaces left for the grand opening here.
The cat cafe has a Japanese Zen garden theme that focuses on mindfulness and wellbeing with with mindfulness classes being hosted once a week.
You & Meow’s normal opening hours will be weekdays 12:00-19-15, and then on the weekend from 11:00 – 18:15.
To visit general admission bookings are £5 per adult (£3 per children) for entry to You & Meow for a 60 minutes visit, and can be booked here.
Bristol cat cafe address: You & Meow can be found just by the Hippodrome in the centre of Bristol at 22 Denmark Street, BS1 5DQ.
Fresh Ingredients and Bold Flavours on Bristol’s Wapping Wharf
If you’re one of the lucky commuters who gets to walk from south of the Avon into town and back each day, chances are you already know about Cargo — the development of cafes and restaurants that landed on the harbourside in summer. For the uninitiated, what we’re talking about here is a foodie’s haven, where everything from fresh pork platters to steaming coffees and hoppy beers are served in style.
Cargo opened its doors to a group of local food bloggers restaurant critics last weekend, to share their wares with the wider world. With your taste buds tingling, read on for a little insight into what’s on offer there…
Wild Beer at Wapping Wharf
This sleek, contemporary bar and restaurant serves up delicious fish dishes alongside a stellar selection of craft beers from their adventurous brewery down in Somerset. The food is excellent, but for my money it’s the beers that stand out here. Expect everything from heavily hopped pale ales, fruity brews and bitter beers that push the palate to pastures new, and deliciously malted stouts with the heady aroma of caramel, dark chocolate and coffee.
Pigsty is the brainchild of Bristol-based Jolly Hog — a team of dedicated pork-eaters experimenting to find fresh ways of enjoying their favourite meat. The results are truly delicious. During my visit we tucked into a generous platter of sausages, brisket and pork patties with fries and a side of fresh slaw, which really hit the spot. Pigsty delivers healthy servings over breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a focus on tasty local produce.
Bristol Cider Shop
The Cider Shop is Bristol’s own award-winning, er, cider shop — moved from Christmas Steps to Wapping Wharf. Visitors are met with a wall full of ‘proper’ ciders and perries, all selected from traditional breweries within a 50-mile radius. 50 miles gets you a lot of cider here in the West Country, but the knowledgeable staff are on hand to help you fine-tune your taste buds among the 100+ brews on offer. They also run regular tasting sessions showcasing a broad range of the region’s finest ciders and perries. For more details on this goldmine of fruity goodness, check out the blog I wrote following the shop’s move to Cargo.
This friendly corner café is your go-to spot for a caffeine hit. Sister-venue of the Small Street Espresso in the Old City, Little Victories is named after those well-deserved wins we get every day. (Ok, most days.) The owners travelled the world in search of the freshest coffee flavours and brought their findings right here to the harbourside. Customers enjoy a huge range of fresh coffees alongside tasty sandwiches and cakes. A café by day, Little Victories transforms into an intimate cocktail bar on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
Finishing on a high here… Chicken Shed takes pride of place on the top floor of Cargo1, and bills itself as “a finger-lickin’ dirty chicken joint with heart and soul”. If you’re thinking this is KFC for hipsters, you’ve got the wrong idea (though that would make a good tagline…) The Chicken Shed knocks together beautifully cooked chicken dishes, with meat sourced from happy birds raised to the highest possible welfare standards. Fine harbour views and menus prepared by Mr. Josh Eggleton of Pony & Trap fame complete the picture.
For more details on the diverse restaurants, shops and cafes on Wapping Wharf’s Cargo installation, check out the Wapping Wharf website.
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