My Favorite Coffee Spots in Bristol.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I don't think I'm terribly hard to please when it comes to coffee. I don't know the difference between a Kenyan or Colombian roast or how to work a french press. Although I'm satisfied with my instant coffee at home, I do like branching out every once in a while and give myself a morning treat. Bristol has a great coffee and cafe culture, with an almost overwhelming amount of options. As the months have gone by, I've collected a handful of favorites - some strictly for the coffee, others nudging their way in with their treats, free Wifi even tacks on a few points.

Goes without saying that I have NOT been to every coffee shop or cafe in the city, so if you are screaming at your screen that I'm missing the pinnacle of Bristol cafes, do let me know. It's a marathon, not a sprint!

1. Boston Tea Party

One of my weekly stops, Boston Tea Party has multiple locations around Bristol as well as dotted around South West England. The original is smack dab on Park St. and is a local and student favorite for their multiple seating options (downstairs, two large upstairs rooms, and a back garden when the weather is nice) and all day breakfasts. I opt for their plain black filter coffee or a flat white if I want something a bit sweeter.

Bonus: Free Wifi (password upstairs & downstairs - look on the wall) + stamp cards for hot drinks.

2. Small St. Espresso

Another Sara recommendation that took me way too long to try. Wedged on a street in the old city but hidden away from the hubbub of Cabot Circus, this tiny shop features exposed brick and industrial decor along with arguably the best flat white in the city. The baristas ask you questions about what type of coffee or bean you prefer, without a hint of pretentiousness.

Bonus: Their treats are from Hart's Bakery - saving me a 20 minute bus ride for the best almond croissant ever.

3. The Bristolian

Supposedly home to one of the best full English breakfasts in Bristol - which I'll have to, uhh...research... This cozy cafe exudes warmth, with cushy chairs, well-loved books strewn about, and even a stand alone shelf with board games. It's the perfect place to refuel if you want to go exploring the shops and street art of Stokes Croft.

Bonus: Unpretentious food and service in a part of town that I don't always feel cool enough to be in + vegetarian options + free Wifi (ask for password)

4. Friska

Perfect for a break between uni classes, this relaxed cafe includes a shop with vintage clothing and vinyl records upstairs. Their coffee comes from local roasters in Clifton and serve lunch as well.

Bonus: Free Wifi (password at the bar)

5. Hart's Bakery

The furthest away from me but well worth the bus fare or walk, the coffee, staff, and pastries here are just legendary. Situated in a large, almost warehouse-like environment, the bread is stacked on shelves and the bakers are buzzing around the ovens behind the counter. It's a bit chaotic in the mornings, but in the best way possible. Seating options are slim and you'll be at cafeteria style rectangular tables, maybe nudging elbows with your neighbor, but it's worth it.

Bonus: The pastries speak for themselves and are my personal incentive to get to the train station extra early. It's that good. Don't take a trip to/from Bristol without filling up here first!

6. The Crepe & Coffee Cabin

Blink and you'll miss this robin's egg blue shack nestled on Prince Bridge. I haven't frequented this place much recently as the seating is essentially a pair of bar chairs on the inside and two bistro tables parked outside the entrance, so it's more suited for sunny days to sit and watch the boats float along the river, or for coffee on the go. They have a short and simple coffee menu and a dangerously long list of crepe options (even though they'll honestly do any combo you want). When I bit into my sweet crepe on my first visit, it was so good that I worried a little about my incoming coffee - sometimes places sacrifice quality of one for the other, yeah? Not in this case.

Bonus: They do some seriously Instagram-worthy latte art. Would you like a Banksy mural in your mug?


Do you have a favorite local cafe in your city?

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