Corn Street is a student favourite, home to Australian drinking dens, coffee shop chains and sticky, leather-clad pubs announcing SPORT! in faux chalk handwriting. It also hosts some of Bristol’s most local of businesses under the canopy of St Nick’s market; and now, just a few steps away, The Birdcage.
The interior is pure Bristol: part boutique festival, part PG Wodehouse production and with bona fide vintage shop in one corner, the arts crowd flock in their oversized shirts, bobble hats and Chelsea boots to sip on pumpkin lattés while reclined in old Chesterfields. Velvet lampshades clustering around fairylights and the ubiquitous bicycle hanging from the ceiling add to the vintage theme, and the staff – some expert baristas, ex- fashion professionals or events organisers – look as if they were always meant to be here.
Happily what could have felt reserved only for those who are intimately familiar with a brothel creeper is actually very welcoming: on my visit one member of staff seemed genuinely delighted to see a young couple with newborn in tow and was quick to offer up the toys they have for such occasions, while drinkers and diners of all ages came in to have a nosy, scanning hopefully for a free sofa.
There’s not a huge amount in the way of brunch, but the coffee is delicious (their Americano on the bitter side of the spectrum, but with a healthy punch) and there are homemade cakes, muffins and sandwiches to fill the hungry hoards. The bar takes central stage and can be noisy, but a decent soundtrack of 60s music soon revives even the most irritable shopper. Pressés and smoothies add a touch of virtue while local beers and a short wine list will tempt you to the other side. Mix in their own ground coffee to take home, live music and some lovely pre-loved finds and you’ve got a perfect pit stop that you’re likely to return to again and again.
Price: from £1.90 (espresso); smoothies £2.75.