It's so easy to ignore coffee places like this, especially when our generation is being uncontrollably pushed towards the Costa coffee's and Starbuck's of our world.
Baristas sits neutrally between a news shop and a sandwich shop, you could easily walk past it... but I warn you, do it at your perill! For you will be missing out on some tremendous taste bud tikling coffee's and teas. Don't take my word for it, just head to Temple Meads station early one morning and see the business commuters walk straight past starbucks and weatherspoons on thier way to town until they reach Baristas where they then relax, and enjoy a 10 minute rest bite before the day of work calls!
I'm lucky because I walk past this place every day to get into town, so I have long known of it's greatness, but I worry for all those brief visitors, who will walk past, never to experience what Baristas is all about, good coffee and good company!
The first time I popped into Baristas Coffee I was running late for a job interview and urgently needed directions. The man behind the counter greeted me with the widest and warmest of smiles. He flirted and bantered with the best of 'em, but his geographic knowledge of Bristol's businesses was rubbish. He was no good to me. I left, muttering under my breath, grumbling that the polite exchange had made me even later. It wasn't until my interview had finished that I realised how mean and moody I came across and I vowed to go back and be much more personable.
Many visits later and I still look forward to seeing a smiling face whenever I push back Baristas doors. But, much like my first visit, the friendly conversation often gives way to serving up a quick cup of coffee. Perfectly positioned between Temple Meads Train Station and City Centre, I always make time to pop in for an espresso to give me a caffeine fix to see me through a fun-filled Bristol day.
The only downside is that it's closed at weekends - so if you're passing through this side of town looking for coffee pop along the street o Cafe Retreat.
Their motto is 'Make Starbucks History' and with coffee this good and service this friendly, the south of the river independent cafe is well on the way. I find it teeming with business people every morning, scrambling like sleep-zombies for their hit of caffeinated goodness. Lunchtime's cater for Italian tastes panini's with salamis, mozzarella and basil, homemade vegetable soup with herbs and pazzazz. Proprietor George runs the place like a very efficient whirlwind, running the percolater and toasting sarnies all at the same time, whilst recommending the best vintage car to buy! Snow Patrol and other radio-friendlies blast out of the stereo. I popped in for a post-shop espresso and can't seem to leave!
Without exception the best coffee I've had anywhere in the world, and very reasonable prices too.
In addition to a great tasting coffee, there are a fantastic range of snacks - savoury or sweet - and you can taste the care taken in picking good ingredients. Bacon sarnies are just heavenly!
Finally, the staff are a friendly, talkative, and helpful bunch. It's a comfortable place to go, welcoming, laid back, and amply provisioned. There's usually good music playing (not elevator music), there is some room to sit inside, and I could happily spend all day in there.
And it's worth saying again: the very best coffee you can get anywhere!
I don't drink coffee. My husband does. It's his main hobby. He was lured into this place (and I was dragged along) on the basis of the great reviews it had on Yelp. Clearly a bunch of lies. His coffee was horrible. And my hot chocolate was pathetic. I made a point of enquiring carefully about the nature of the hot chocolate: "No Cadbury's here?" I asked . "Oh no, madam. We serve an excellent American variety and if you don't like it we'll buy it back from you." American chocolate being what it seems to be I should probably have avoided this like the plague. It was just brown milk. No chocolate content. Vaguely sweet. I left most of it. I should have taken them up on their offer of buying bit back but they were so friendly I hadn't the heart. Still, not good enough Baristas. I don't know much about coffee but I do know that you need to taste the hot chocolate at the Wolesley and at Paul Young's before you ever serve another cup.
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