Posted 1st February 2015
There are many different sorts of cafes and coffee houses on the diverse spectrum of todays coffee culture.
Some are loud with hustle and bustle, business meetings, students, friends catching up. They are busy and alive with chatter. A wonderful assault on the senses immersing you in the melting pot that is, city life.
Others, are still. Tranquil and serene. Islands of calm offering moments of escapism. These places are few and far between, I can think of but a handful. Hooper House on Stokes Croft, is one of these places.
The decor is simple, lots of natural wood with blue hues. Old photos, and local artwork adorns the walls, at the moment it’s mainly oil paintings of the sea in beautiful blues and greys. The mismatched furniture; an eclectic mix of stools, sofas, church chairs says “however and wherever you want to sit, is fine by us”.
Gentle music plays in the background – usually something folky or soft jazz. Aside from the music and the hum of the coffee machine, or the clink of cups and saucers (vintage crockery btw – which I love) and the occasional murmer of conversation, the cafe is quiet.
Your fellow customers are either sat in small groups, talking softly or, more likely, sat on their own; working, reading or, like me, sat back people watching and soaking in the calm. There’s a lovely, almost library-esque feel here which everyone, patrons and staff alike seem eager to preserve.
The coffee is supplied by Bristol based Extract Coffee Roasters, so is undeniably good (mine’s a single shot cappuccino next time you’re buying).
The food on offer is simple and unfussy, there’s usually soup or a bagel with a choice of fillings – I’ve tried most of them but smoked salmon and cream cheese stands out as my favourite. The lunchtime offer, bagel + any drink for £5, is a bargain in my opinion. The homemade cakes are also pretty good, stand out ones for me are the caramel slice (man I love those things) and lemon drizzle cake.
Whilst Hooper House’s offering may be simplistic, coffee, cakes, bagels or soup; for me, this adds to its charm, your food and drink choices are easy but reliably good.
Sat in the window, clutching my cappuccino, I finally stop. When I finish my drink and food I will return to the chaos of working motherhood and its never ending lists of chores, dreams and ambitions. For now however, I relax into the tranquility of this unpretentious yet beautiful little cafe and enjoy these moments of peace, with a coffee on the side.
113 Stokes Croft, Bristol, BS1 3RW