Not content with a growing list of the best cafes to visit while on the bike, we take a look at the best coffee houses Bristol has to offer cyclists off the bike.
Cycling and coffee. While one can exist without the other, each would be considerably worse off should either of them fade. Coffee is to a cyclist, what performance enhancing drugs are to the Russian olympic squad. So much for ‘people in glass houses’, eh?
Usually, le Bidon is a blog/website dedicated to the coffee house or tea room accessible for club or group riding. But that ethos largely ignores the wealth of coffee houses on our front door; Bristol. It’s an exceptional city for both cyclists and caffeine addicts, so we thought a roundup of its best non-group-cycling-accessible coffee purveyors was in order.
Time to shine, boys.
1. Small Street Espresso
Website – www.smallstreetespresso.co.uk
Perhaps it’s because I work mere metres from its front door. But for my money – and the baristas do take it – Small Street Espresso serves the finest coffee in Bristol. The flat white I order on a regular basis is a thing of pure beauty. Please visit.
Small Street is, however, a particularly appaling choice for those on two wheels. There’s barely a spot to lock your machine up outside, and there certainly isn’t any room inside (it’s a rather wee establishment). But if you can make it across – finding somewhere to lock the beast up or otherwise – you’ll find joy unbridled.
An additional shout-out to Hart’s Bakery is necessary here as well – Laura Hart and her merry band of Bristol-based bakers provide Small Street Espresso with an exceptional range of cakes, bread and pastries. Hart’s Bakery is also an excellent cafe in its own right.
Website – www.spicerandcole.co.uk
It feels like there’s not as much buzz around Spicer+Cole as there used to be, but it remains a solid choice for coffee lovers in Bristol. Actually, there are three branches of Spicer+Cole in Bristol – Clifton, Gloucester Road and the Centre – and both are worth a visit in their own right.
The decor is clean and pleasant to behold and the coffee sweet and nutty and delightful. If it’s a cake you’re looking for you won’t be disappointed with the selection at Spicer+Cole – we’ve never been served a duff slice or sponge.
By the way, if you’re going to visit the Clifton branch on the weekend, get there early. It’s ALWAYS rammed. A testament to the quality of its produce, I suppose.
3. Full Court Press (FCP)
Website – www.fcpcoffee.com
The quality of the coffee at FCP is barely distinguishable from that served at Small Street. It is seriously good. But if it’s someone to talk to about coffee, then look no further. There is no better place – these guys are nerds of the caffeine-infused variety.
Despite being only marginally better in location for cyclists than Small Street, FCP has become the unofficial caffeine provider for most of Deliveroo’s crack squad of delivery drivers. And it’s probably the safest place to mix with them too… Am I right?
As it happens, FCP is probably the strongest proponent of local cycling in this list. Not only is the cafe swarmed by us on a daily basis, they are one of the sponsors of local road cycling team DRK racing, it served as the start and end points for a Rapha Women’s 100 race earlier this year.
The cakes are lovely too, by the way.
Website – www.mokokocoffee.com
The new kid on the block, Mokoko is part of Bristol’s recently opened Wapping Wharf development. As anally retentive about its produce as any destination on this list, Mokoko serves up some truly delicious coffee worthy of any cyclist’s attention.
Speaking honestly, while the caffeine-imbued beverages at Mokoko don’t quite reach the heights of those served at the first few establishments featured in this article, its cakes, bakes and food certainly equal and surpass them.
And, to be honest, more than any other coffee house on this list, Mokoko is actually a prime choice for the beginning or end of a group ride (as is the pub next door). It offers ample outdoor space, and generous space for bikes to rest safely.
5. Tin Can
Website – www.tincanevents.com
Barely older than Mokoko, Tin Can is the only cafe on this list properly south of the river. Well, we had to feature one – didn’t we? But seriously, this is one good cafe – probably the best and most popular on the up-and-coming North Street.
The coffee is excellent – if not quite exceptional – and the cake equally delicious. And if you fancy something a little cooler in the summer sun, give their frappes a go. While I’d usually frown at the thought of a frappe, Tin Can’s are actually very nice indeed.
The cafe boasts a small amount of outdoor space, so it does work for smaller group rides. And across the road is Southville’s very own bike shop, Strada. Even if there’s nothing wrong with your bike, you can still ogle the £5,000 Trek or Colnago hanging in the window.