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
There’s A Website Reviewing Bristol’s Pub Toilets
It’s the website Bristol didn’t know it needed
A small group has started a Bristol website called ‘Review My Loo’ with the idea that the group go around and review Bristol bars and restaurant toilets hoping to improve the Bristol toilet experience.
Rated out of cleanliness, size, comfort and decoration with a blurb at the end about the overall toilet experience.
The best in Bristol is currently Hi Brazil at 4/5:
“A diamond amongst the rough. Located out of the way up the stairs. Pristinely kept with good quality basins and loos. They are of a good size, so there is no issue of crumbling under several eyes looking at your piece. They are comfortable toilets. Due to size you can do your business in peace , and it is beautifully decorated with a modern art deco feel.”
Whilst The Canteen stands bottom at 1.5/5:
“These toilets aren’t the best. The graffiti on the wall makes you almost intimidated to have a wee. They are very small and prone to queues, with the likelihood you will be standing shoulder to shoulder with someone when having doing your business. The toilets looks like they have been vandalised by a youth gang. Overall bad experience.”
If you’ve got a Bristol toilet experience you’d like to share you can send your reviews into firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured.
Review My Loo: https://reviewmyloo.com/
HMSS Bar Launches New ‘Guide To The British Isles’ Cocktail Menu
I’ve been known to enjoy a cocktail or few. What sane 26 year old doesn’t? I’d take a cold, champagne pink cosmo over a glass of white wine any day. There’s something so indulgent about going out for a round manhattans or margaritas, whether it’s with friends or family – it puts a spring in your step. Well, spring is an understatement, especially if you have five espresso martinis in a row. They’re mostly coffee anyway right…? As I found out the other night at BeAtOne, probably not. But they are o so good.
I went to check out the new cocktail menu at Her Majesty’s Secret Service (HMSS) on Whiteladies Road on Monday night. Despite it being the start of the week, I never turn down a chance to don the lippie, get dressed up and sip on peculiar potions.
HMSS can be found on the doorstep of Clifton Down station. Established two years ago, the 80-capacity bar’s interior is classy, quirky, romantic and rebellious. If you’re up for more than just drinking, there are games of jenga and a great selection of music to lose yourself in; from old school hip hop, through 70’s & 80’s funk to the occasional piece of classic cheese.
At the start of the month, the bar launched the first in a brand new series of British-inspired cocktail menus. This one comes in the form of Winston the bulldog’s Guide To The British Isles – a light hearted illustrated drinking journey through the UK’s favourite attractions. Drinkers are taken from the White Cliffs of Dover to Loch Ness and every great landmark in between. If you’re one for out-of-the-box or unusual ingredients, you’ll be a happy customer. Acorn vermouth, laughing gas and even a chip of prehistoric stone feature in the ingredients lists.
Founder of the Clifton-based bar, Ben Alcock, said: “The menu has been created to start conversations, be a visual aid, an icebreaker and a souvenir that embodies the bar and the inspirations of HMSS.
“Whether its tourists discovering the wonders of the country or simply reminding Brits of the delights we hold, the new series of menus will embody the best of Britain.”
The menu itself is presented in the style of a vintage pocket edition travel guide, which now looks very pretty on my wooden coffee table. Inside you’ll find an assortment of highly interactive, humorous, playful and impeccably presented drinks that are a far cry from the standard cocktail offerings.
Here are a few of my personal favourites:
- Green Manalishi (£8.50)
Barcardi Carta Blanca, Hemp Orgeat, Lime, Aloe Vera Oil, 1 Chip of Prehistoric Stone
- Loch Ness Mobster (£8.50)
Patron Silver Tequila, Peach Wine, Lemon Juice, Absinthe, Laughing Gas
- Twister (£8.50)
Grey Goose LaPoire, Mozart Strawberry, Kiwi Sherbet, Milk, Whole Egg White
- Greenhouse Project (£9.00)
Sugar Snap Hendricks, Dry White Wine, Spear Asparagus, Celery Bitters
Her Majesty’s Secret Service address: Whiteladies Gate, Whiteladies Road, Bristol, BS8 2PH
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