Out of all the cafes in Bristol that I had yet to visit, Baristas Coffee Collective on Victoria Street was very high up the list. Located in a centuries-old building (unfortunately covered head to toe in scaffolding at the moment), there have been very positive rumblings over t’internet and Twittersphere that this small cafe is serving some of the best coffee in town.
So when I had a bit of time to kill before catching a train from nearby Temple Meads, I popped in to see what all the fuss was about. Well, I’m very pleased to report that I was not disappointed and that the coffee at Baristas really is that good.
One of the reasons is that everything is kept deceptively simple, but done just right by the friendly and knowledgeable team of staff whose names are all written in plastic letters on a magnetic board above the bar: George, Kate, Jesus, Ellie, Jay Pee, Deke and Slave, yes, Slave.
For those who don’t want coffee, there are tins of Bristol’s very own Lahloo tea and apple juice from Orchard Pig, a company just down the road in Somerset. Chocolate brownies looked deliciously tempting, and also on the bar were miniature Green & Black’s and Tyrells crisps.
Huge oak beams on the ceiling point to the age of the building Baristas are in, while spot lights give it a modern twist. There are old repainted bar stools in the seating area at the back of the room, with a small window letting light in, while at the front seats overlook Victoria Street.
Daily papers are available, and if you like Autocar magazine, the magazine rack will be for you. If not, there’s a Where’s Stig picture book, ironic in the week we learnt that the real Stig lives over in Redland.
Soon before three in the afternoon, there was a steady stream of customers from businesspeople in their suits to builders in their work clothes. Word continues to spread about Baristas, and like their near neighbour the Seven Stars, named this year as Camra’s best Bristol pub, this little cafe punches well above its weight and is definitely one of the best cafes in Bristol.
Baristas Coffee Collective, 29 Victoria Street. 0117 922 7111.