Finally, Bristol has a cafe that can compete with the flourishing coffee culture in the UK that is only getting more and more serious. Take a bow then, the extremely funky and bang-on-trend Spicer+Cole, for opening the best new cafe to open in the city centre for some years.
Housed in the former Avenue cafe on Queen Square Avenue, opposite the Welsh Back health club, Spicer+Cole occupies a spacious corner site, flooded with natural light thanks to its floor to (almost) ceiling windows.
Inside, a sanded wooden floor contrasts with exposed metal light fittings and a stone bar surface, on which are piles of fresh fruit, pastries and flapjacks.
The drinks list is written on what interior designers would refer to as the feature black wall behind the bar.
And what a drinks selection it is; provided by two of Bristol’s best, coffee from Extract and tea from Lahloo, whose Pantry in Clifton is Bristol’s nearest equivalent to this new cafe, with both even featuring the same metal bar seats.
At Spicer+Cole, butties and baps cost £3.25, while the lunchtime crowd can get their daily health fix with a salad plate (£4.50), or add a tart or fritatta for £1.50 more.
As well as that plus sign in their name, a particularly nice touch here is the sugar on the tables in tins of Lyle’s black treacle on a slate coaster, while the coffee – like at 40 Alfred Place – is served in a glass.
Teething problems in what is only the first week of opening included my flat white taking several minutes to even start being made despite me being the only customer early on Thursday morning, and chilled music from the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club and Ed Sheeran in the cafe competing with the tinny beats of Plan B and Rhianna emanating from the kitchen.
Regardless of these small niggles that will no doubt soon be sorted, Spicer+Cole is a cafe that combines effortlessly cool sophistication with comfort and seriously good coffee. It could single-handedly propel the cafe culture in Bristol several years forward to catch up with much of the rest of the country.