I can’t remember the first time I was at Playground. I was probably enjoying Saint Nicholas Market like a tourist. Always the same old story. After visiting the market you end up in Saint Nicholas St. and look for the way back to Corn Street. Little shops are packed in front of you: a bakery, a bagel shop, a cheesemonger, a cafe with swings … A cafe with swings? Call it Playground.
Playground is not just a cafe with swings but that will be the first thing you will notice while walking by Saint Nicholas St. How many times have I seen people walking and stopping to look astonished the inside? You smile from the other side of the window and that smile is a participant in that sense of wonder and joy at seeing the swings.
But Playground is more than that. In the market, you saw a burst of food’s colours. Here the colours are everywhere, surrounding you. The tiles have colours arranged randomly. The dishes and cups also have vivid and playful colours. Here it is all about playing and that is why you will discover shelves filled up with board games.
Swings, colours, games, youthful atmosphere and great coffee. Some cafes have an Excel list of the bought coffees. In Playground, one can see something hanging from the ceiling. Dozens of coffee bags of the most varied roasters from the UK and Europe. Beans have been brewed here after coming from local roasters, London, Cornwall, North of UK, Italy, France, Germany … The list is endless and is somehow revealing the experience and quality of that cup of garish colours you just have received. Smile, you will get dozens of smiles back, dices rolling, laughter and someone who just fell off the swing.
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
George Bernard Shaw
Once upon a time there was a boy and a girl with big dreams and a flair for the impossible. They grew up at the same time one on the other side of Europe from the other. She would wake up and play with plastic animals when he would wake up and play hide and seek roaming the fields around his village. She grew up in a big city and created imaginary play friends and he teamed up with the other village kids to climb trees, play with real animals and dig big holes in the ground. Both were happy but both grew up. The little girl’s love for plastic animals turned into a love for books and then devotion to a career in a big firm. For him climbing trees turned into climbing corporate ladders. They were happy; they had after all grown up.
Many years and miles down the line the boy met the girl. She had grown to love tea and he was a proper coffee addict. Spending time together they remembered feelings lost and rediscovered their love for games. They had grown up but there was something missing. Something neither could define but would occasionally get a ping of nostalgia; a long lost memory of expressive freedom and carelessness. Both of them had grown to be fairly pragmatic so decided to do something about their childhood yearnings. All they were missing now was a place where their reality would meet their childhood and that gave birth to Playground.
Playground is not just another coffee shop; not even just another coffee shop with games. Playground is a place where when you walk through the door you can leave your adult responsibilities behind you. It is a place that not only has lots of board games but you are encouraged to be loud when playing them. It is a place where the main rule is that as long as you play nice there are no rules.
Swings have replaced chairs at some of the tables and a scrabble board has replaced the menu. The boy’s love for coffee became a passion that brings through the door some of the best coffees one can try in Bristol and the girl’s tea mania an ever changing selection of leaves from around the world that are brewed to perfection. Of course, there is cake. Oh yes, lots of cake! Changing constantly following the seasons there is always something new and different to try.
We may have grown up but join us in not wanting to ever grow old!
Lilly & Fabian
MEET THE BARISTA
Why did you start to make coffee?
I started making coffee when I was 18 at a cafe in Winchester. I was trying to save money to go travelling (at £5.25 an hour!) It was the kind of place that made very dry cappuccinos – they wanted the milk so frothy that it looked like whipped cream. I started working with speciality coffee in Brighton, working part time while I was studying
How was your first experience at Playground Coffee House?
My first experience at Playground was great. I didn’t live in Bristol yet I just came to visit my friend, who took me there. When I moved to Bristol Playground was the only place I knew for good coffee so it was the first place I went to ask for a job
What is Playground for you?
It’s a lot of fun, experimental with coffee, and very relaxed. I’ve met some great people through playground who have taught me a lot and are excellent baristas!
What is your favourite coffee? How do you like it brewed?
Not sure I could say what my favourite is? But one that’s sticking most in my brain as a stand out coffee was The Barn’s Ngunguru AA brewed on Kalita
- Weekdays: 8:00-17:00
- Saturday: 10:30-18:00
- Sunday: 11:00-16:30
FOOD: Homemade Cakes
VEGAN OPTIONS: NO
GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS: YES
- Coffee Equipment
- Coffee Beans.
- Main Roaster: Colonna Coffee
- Guests: UK and Europe.
ESPRESSO: Two Single Origins.
FILTER: In between two to four filters.
TEA SELECTION: Single origin teas from Canton Tea Co. and Tea House Emporium Bath.
- Soy Milk (BonSoy and Alpro).
- Almond Milk (Breeze).
- Coconut Milk (Coconut Dream).
- Oat Milk (Oatly).
COFFEE MACHINE: Two Groups La Marzocco Linea Classic.
- K30 Twin for Espresso.
- Mahlkonig Guatemala for Filter.
FILTER BREWING METHODS:
- Kalita Wave.
COLD COFFEE OPTIONS:
- Cold Brew
- Espresso Tonic