I distinctly remember hating coffee. I tried a sip of my mum’s latte, hated the bitterness and vowed never to try it again. At the tender age of 16 I started my first job, trained as a barista in a local coffee shop and so began my love story with flat white’s. And latte’s. And the occasional cappuccino. Having now worked in a number of coffee joints and sampled a lot of free coffees, my aversion to the beverage went out the window pretty quickly. My favourite kind of caffeinated beverage often comes from the independent places, rather than your usual high street chain numbers, and Bristol is just full of options. Here are a few of my faves:
Co-LAB – Paper Gallery:
Co-LAB is a coffee shop with a bit of a difference. Firstly it’s a collaboration with Paper Gallery, a creative enterprise to set up to create and enhance new opportunities for creatives. They have a pretty cool set up going on, with half the shop selling pieces by local businesses and half creative space used by local artists and for workshops. Sitting pretty in the corner is a little coffee shop, ready to convert the shopping masses away from their chain coffee. Until recently Ape About Coffee has been in residence – not worry though, they may be moving on but CoLab will still be there providing for all your caffeine needs.
The Crazy Fox:
The Crazy Fox is another central place saving us from the evil high street giants (that’s a joke btw, I have been known to visit Costa once or twice). At the moment they’re serving Roasted Rituals coffee, a locally sourced and very popular coffee served at various spots across Bristol. Situated right in the centre of the shopping area with a nice little seating area outside, it’s the perfect spot for a well-earned retail break or a bit of people watching.
Small St. Espresso:
Small St is small. It’s a genius name really. Found on Small Street in the old town, and housed in a tiny cavernous little shop, it definitely lives up to it’s name. Small St is fast becoming one of my new faves, partly due to the fab coffee and wooden interiors, but also because if you pick the right time of day you can grab a little corner seat where the bright sunlight pours through the massive windows.
The newest recruit to the Bristol coffee scene is Tradewind, high up on Whiteladies road. They are the original inventors of Roasted Rituals coffee, and having served the coffee shops of the South West for too long, they’ve now (thankfully) decided to join in. I’ve spoken their praises before over on my Instagram @becca_cart93 but they’re worth a mention here too. They have a beautiful shop front with original stained-glass windows and a great little decking area out back. I sampled the French toast topped with peaches on my visit, whilst my boyf went for a savoury option that gave me serious ordering envy. Oh my lordy is a return visit needed.
Playground Coffee intrigued me for a long time before I made my first visit. The reason I held off for so long is purely because I always found myself there around lunch time when I needed something a little more than a flat white to keep me going. Once I did finally make it, it was fully worth the wait and finding myself there on a rainy Sunday afternoon meant I had full choice of which swing seat to sit it. Yes, a swing seat. The coffee was so smooth and gently rocking on an inside swing might sound a bit odd, but was actually very therapeutic and enjoyable. And it’s not just the swings that call for the name Playground coffee, but more to do with the games room found on the second level.
This is just a quick round up of the places I end up visiting most often, but I’m always on the lookout for somewhere new. Any other places I should add to my list, just lemme know!