I last found myself writing about Bristol’s cocktail scene a few months back, following the successful launch of Hyde & Co’s summer selection — The Last Carnival. The blend of prohibition-era mystery and punchy cocktails really captured my imagination, and that was the most fun I’d had at the keys for a while. This time round the setting is very different, but the focus on quality is just as strong.
Playground is the brainchild of Fabian and Lilly — a dedicated coffee-brewing and cake-baking duo relentless in their search for perfection. They truly are connoisseurs of their craft. Ideally located on St Nicholas Street, just off Corn Street, their business was initially launched as a coffee house and artisan bakery, but has since grown to indulge the pair’s cocktail-mixing flair.
Inside, the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, with stylish décor and enough space to feel comfortable. There are swings instead of seats at a number of the tables — an interior design decision which isn’t likely to enjoy universal appeal — but it does set the place apart nicely from the competition.
Speciality teas and coffees
The coffee brewed at Playground is sourced in part from The Barn, a speciality roaster in Berlin. They use only the finest beans, roasted in small batches for quality control and fully traceable back to point of origin.
And if the coffee operation appears more Fabian’s area of expertise, then it’s perhaps only right that Lilly pays such close attention to the tea offerings. Playground stock a broad range of loose-leaf teas alongside Lilly’s own bespoke combinations, using delicate herbs from her native Greece. These are complemented by a fine selection of homemade cakes, prepared fresh each day for Playground’s hungry regulars.
Cocktails and beers
Collaborating with Bristol-based micro-distillery Psychopomp, Playground have crafted a stylish cocktail menu showcasing premium spirits and coffee-based cocktails that stand shoulder to shoulder among the best in Bristol. I opted for a Black Russian and a classic G’n’T during my visit — which were both perfectly on-point — and other highlights include their Espresso Martini and their Negroni, all of which slipped down a treat among my fellow drinkers.
There’s a lighter cocktail menu ideal for indulging earlier in the day, and a great range of craft lagers and beers on tap. The bar is licensed ‘till 11pm, making Playground a great spot for a drink or a chat amongst friends pretty much any time of day. If you’re a pub quiz fan then you might like to check out the twice-monthly Witch & The Wolf Pub Quiz — hosted by Zack, another key member of the team — and if board games are your thing, swing by and check out the impressive selection.
All images courtesy of Playground