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9 Bristol Coffee Houses You Really Need to Visit

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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 

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

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

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

beetroot cafe

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

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

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.

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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”.

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  1. Pingback: 9 Things To Do in Bristol Now It's Freezing | Best of Bristol

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