Okay, this is the big one. After a year spent drinking our body weight in lattes and macchiatos in cafes the length and breadth of Bristol, we can only choose a top-five. It is with great sadness that we have had to exclude Clifton Cakes, Cafe Du Jour, Me Me Chocolat, Mocha Mocha, Revival, Royce Rolls, St Stephen’s Cafe, St Werburgh’s City Farm Cafe, Swinky Sweets and Tart from the list.
There really are so many great cafes to choose from in every corner of our city (see all 80 Bristol cafes we have reviewed this year here). But this is our top-five of 2010:
1) Grounded, Redfield
Grounded opened their second Bristol cafe this year on Bedminster Parade, but their first cafe on Church Road in Redfield remains the original and the best. There is something exactly right about Grounded, from its brilliant coffee to its even more brilliant chocolate brownies, its occasional live music to delicious stone-baked pizzas. A reason on its own to visit Redfield.
2) Cafe Amore, Nelson Street
Amore is a real treasure trove, a delightful place to while away the hours. Despite its location slightly off the beaten track, it always surprises me what a busy place it is. And regardless of how many people are inside on its spilt levels, you are always served promptly and efficiently by a small army of friendly and smiling staff. The choice of food on offer is just as impressive as the signs on the walls. If you can’t find a sandwich or panini that you want, it can be made for you in a flash.
3) Hennessey’s Coffee Lounge, Bedminster
Previous incarnations as a tailors, fish tank shop and brothel lends an oldie feel to Hennessey’s, an absolutely wonderful cafe. There is a slate floor with bare stone walls painted red and white; pieces of driftwood hang above the door; and old hessian coffee sacks are dotted around. Books sit on every available surface. The literary theme continues on the walls beside the sacks, where there are framed posters of Penguin Classics and classic French films.
4) Primrose Cafe, Clifton
At the end of one of Bristol’s most picturesque streets and next to the beautiful Clifton Arcade, Primrose Cafe is one of my favourite spots in Clifton. It is a cafe by day and restaurant by night, and does both roles with aplomb. If you can find a seat outside in the warmer months, it is a fabulous place for people watching and stopping friends as they walk past, or simply watching the world go by.
5) Chickpea, Cotham
It is the unexpected delights that are most delightful, and the first time I visited Chickpea was one of those unexpected delights. I was visiting Corks of Cotham towards the top end of Cotham Hill to buy a few bottles of Milk Stout to take to a house party when I noticed Chickpea, a cafe I hadn’t seen before. As soon as the beers were purchased, I made a beeline towards it and ended up staying for a couple of hours. It immediately became a firm favourite and stays that way.