Local, quality and speciality lies at the beating heart of Bristol’s vibrant food scene. Across the map, diners are truly spoilt with independents set to knock you off your stool, and there’s no better example than the Cotham Hill restaurant strip. A stone’s throw away from the leafy Woodland Road, this single street is home to established favourites such as Falafel King and Bravas, alongside prized local gems Pasta Loco and Bellita (just to name a few). Opening a few months back this summer, Clifton’s glittering promenade welcomed its latest addition, speciality retailer-cum-espresso bar, ‘Coffee + Beer’.
Given its obvious title, there’s no surprise what’s in store here. Selling speciality produce at the front and serving masterly crafted coffee for customers out the back, Coffee + Beer is certainly no average coffee house (make no comparison to the Costa or Starbucks a few doors down).
Stepping inside, this becomes obvious from the shelves of coffee beans and arty beer cans adoring the walls. Glancing over at the bottles, it’s not hard to spot some of Bristol’s local brewers: Wiper & True, Bristol Beer Factory and Moor Beer. For coffee, Bristol’s Triple Co Roast and Extract Coffee Roasters are in stock, alongside sweet smelling products made from across the UK. The beer bar is another example of Coffee + Beer’s uniqueness. Priced by the litre, you have liberty to choose from one of the four beers on tap, which you can take home in a glass bottle to enjoy.
After ordering a drink of choice from the menu (owner Dan switches up the coffee he brews for filter, however there’s still your classic selection of flat whites and espressos to choose from), there’s a small but spacious space out the back. The minimalist aesthetic is pleasing, with green leafy plants and dark grey stools peppering warmth into the room. A large roof window fills space with light, and a few colourful artworks of beers giving a pleasant splash of colour against the white walls.
After awkwardly confessing my weakness for milky coffees, Dan eagerly started mastering the perfect flat white and began telling us the journey so far.
What was the initial idea behind Coffee + Beer?
Whilst temporarily living in New Zealand, I was looking for the perfect ‘thank you’ gift for the hosts who I was staying with. I was lucky enough to stumble across a small vintage wine shop, and they were beyond brilliant in advising me on a knock out wine. I was so impressed with the service, therefore I figured why not bring this back to the UK, with my own specialist knowledge on beer and coffee.
What is so different about Coffee + Beer compared to other cafes?
I didn’t want the place to strictly run as a café. I liked the idea of people testing different flavours, ordering something different and having a look at what they can take home with them.
I wanted to offer an easier avenue into speciality drinks, especially for people who feel discouraged from intimidating shops or puzzling and expensive products at the shops. By offering my advice and listening to their interests, I hope to make it an easier and more pleasurable experience for customers to find their perfect drink.
I have a passion for both coffee and beer, however I am still learning all the time about different types and brands, which is also great for me as it helps me accommodate to every type of customer.
For the retail side of things, do you tend to focus on selling local produce? How important is locally sourced produce for you?
I do stock a lot of local produce, because Bristol has so many great breweries to offer, and it’s a great opportunity for people to buy the best of local produce. I do however import from across the UK, to get as much variety as I can.
What does the future look like for Coffee + Beer?
I’m looking to host some events in the near future, inviting round some Bristol based brewers and roasters to the store for beer and coffee tasting evenings.
Redefining café culture with the freshest cups of coffee, friendly expertise and a chilled-out space to test the best of the city’s produce, Coffee + Beer is sure to become a Cotham staple and the ultimate go-to for coffee connoisseurs and novices alike.
16 Cotham Hill, Bristol, BS6 6LF https://www.coffeeandbeer.co.uk/