There is something really special going on in a small block in the centre of Bristol formed by Small and Broad Streets. Leading the way is Wild At Heart, a Coffee Shop that is also a Vintage Clothes shop, a hairdressers and a tattoo parlour. Fortunately, the coffee shop is right at the front and such is its excellence, I really didn’t have to venture any further.
I could wow you with descriptions of the amazing space, the comfortable seating and the ideal surroundings for drinking coffee, but that would be to overlook the coffee itself. Kit, the man behind the coffee part of Wild at Heart, is as passionate about his coffee as anyone I know. He has the sort of set up, albeit on a smaller scale, that would make Brew Lab in Edinburgh envious. Like them, he offers the usual range of espresso-based drinks, but has also gone to great lengths to select just the right beans for his Aeropress and Clever offerings.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, don’t worry, all will be explained. All you really need to know is that Wild At Heart is a great place to drink great coffee.
February 2014: Sadly I’ve recently heard that Wild at Heart has closed.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
It’s hard to believe that there were just nine days between my visits to Edinburgh’s Brew Lab and Bristol’s Wild At Heart. It felt more like a lifetime. I was, however, very grateful that I’d been to Brew Lab, otherwise I might have walked into Wild at Heart and looked at the coffee menu with the same baffled expression that appeared on my friend’s face. Indeed, with the same baffled expression I’d had when looking at the Brew Lab menu nine days before.
However, with my Brew Lab experience under my belt, I was able to make complete sense of Wild at Heart’s comprehensive coffee offerings. So, with some degree of smugness, I explained it to my friend. Wild at Heart and Brew Lab are doing similar things, albeit on a different scale and in very different settings. They are also doing them ~300 miles apart at different ends of the country. And, coincidently, they opened within a month of each other. I really think there’s a coffee revolution going on in the UK.
Like Brew Lab, Wild at Heart offers the usual range of espresso-based drinks, with a choice of two different beans, complimented by three single-origin beans offered (depending on the bean) as an aeropress or a clever (best described as a fancy cafetiere). All the beans come from local roasters, Extract Coffee and Round Hill Roastery.
Since we’d just come from Small St Espresso we decided, in the interests of balance, to try an Aeropress (the Finca el Retiro for him) and a Clever filter (the Finca el Platanillo for me). As I am coming to realise, the subtle flavours that these brewing methods seek to extract from the beans are not what I’m looking for in my coffee. Indeed, the very things that they seek to exclude (the fines and the oils) are, I suspect, what makes a good coffee for me. Oh well…
I should stress that there was nothing wrong with the coffee, just that it wasn’t to our tastes. In the meantime, let’s not forget that in Wild at Heart, you have one of the greatest spaces around in which to drink that coffee. The contrast with Edinburgh’s Brew Lab could not be starker. Whereas Brew Lab is modern and industrial, with knocked-through walls and exposed brickwork, Wild at Heart offers a more genteel experience, putting me in mind of the 1950s (since I’m not old enough to remember them, this is the 1950s as I imagine them to be, only with better coffee!).
White tables, comfortable wicker chairs, book-shelves and vintage clothing abound. And, if it takes your fancy, people having their haircut at the other end of the room. I realise that in writing this, I am not doing Wild at Heart justice. It defies written description, in that I can accurately describe what’s there, but fail utterly to capture its mood. In short, it is one of the most relaxed, chilled out places I’ve had the pleasure to drink coffee in.
A final tip. If you talk to Kit, the man behind the coffee part of Wild at Heart, not only will he blow you away with his passion for coffee, but he will also forget to ask you to pay. Fact. So, if Wild at Heart goes broke, we all know it’s my fault… Sorry, Kit.
|51 BROAD STREET • BRISTOL • BS1 2EP|
|www.wildatheartemporium.co.uk||+44 (0) 117 239 1613|
|Monday||08:00 – 17:00||Seating||Tables, Window Bar, Tables (Outside)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 17:00||Food||Sandwiches, Cake|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 17:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Thursday||08:00 – 17:00||Cards||Visa, Mastercard|
|Friday||08:00 – 17:00||Wifi||No|
|Saturday||08:00 – 17:00||Power||No|
|Sunday||Twice a Month||Mobile||3G, Voice|
|Chain||No||Visits||19th December 2012|
Liked this? Then don’t forget to check out the Coffee Spot Guide to Bristol for more great Coffee Spots.
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