Regular readers will know of my love affair with the Boston Tea Party, the coffee shop chain which started off in Park Street, Bristol, and is steadily spreading north, east and south. That’s not to say that I like all the branches, but the ones I don’t tend to be the exception rather than the rule. So, when I found myself in Worcester on a rainy Saturday afternoon with an hour or so to kill, I made a bee-line for the Boston Tea Party on Broad Street.
Like its siblings, the Worcester BTP is instantly recognisable as a BTP, but sufficiently different to be its own place. Also, like every one I’ve been to except the Cheltenham Road branch, it’s split over two floors. And this one has its own aeroplane! With lots of windows, plenty of space and a great layout, this is a relaxing place to drink good coffee with friendly, helpful staff, which is all I’m really looking for.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Perhaps the best thing about the Boston Tea Party is the way that it manages to find great places to put its coffee shops. From the original on Park Street, through smaller spaces such as Cheltenham Road, right up to the huge upstairs in Exeter, the branches (with the odd exception) seem to be in interesting, intimate buildings. So it is with the Worcester branch.
Located on the corner of the pedestrianised Broad Street and Angel Place, the Worcester BTP is long and thin, with the long side facing onto Angel Place and its market stalls. Being on a pair of pedestrian streets makes the outside tables a great option, unless, of course, you visit on a rainy day…
There are doors on both Angel Place and Broad Street, which makes the downstairs a bit of a thoroughfare. From Angel Place, you enter a large, welcoming open space with the counter opposite and the café stretching away left and right. There is some very pleasant-looking seating to the left, but since that’s the Broad Street end, the people coming in and out could be annoying. To the right there is a small window-bar behind you and, at the far end, the stairs. However, the best bit is above you, where a light well connects the two floors and, hanging in the middle of it, is a bright yellow model of an Avro trainer biplane. I’m not sure what scale it is, but to give you some idea of size, it’s easily bigger than me!
Upstairs is probably the nicer place to sit and is effectively split in two by the light well, giving it a feel of two intimate spaces rather than one big room. With windows along the length of both streets, along with the plain white walls and ceilings, both upstairs and downstairs feel light and spacious. My only complaint is that there aren’t many of the Boston Tea Party’s trademark sofas and comfy chairs, just one set upstairs by the door, and one set downstairs next to the fireplace. Otherwise there are lots of tables and chairs, mostly for two or four people, and quite a few long communal tables.
My favourite spot is at one of the two-person tables in the narrow space between the light well and the windows overlooking Angel Place. That way I can keep an eye on everything 🙂 If I had company though, I would probably try to nab one of the sofas…
Overall, I really liked it. It was late in the day when I got there and hence quite quiet, but I imagine it would still feel fairly cosy even when full (a trick a lot of BTP branches manage). Staff, as ever, go a long way to making or breaking a place and the two serving me were wonderful. Although they close at six, they were still serving customers (including food) as the clock struck six rather than trying to usher us out of the door.
I’ve not said much about the coffee, cake or food since it’s the usual (excellent) BTP offerings. One thing I didn’t realise is that BTP change the espresso blend (from Bristol-based Extract Coffee Roasters) on a seasonal basis. The current one is sweeter than I remember the previous ones, but nice nonetheless.
You can also see what I made of all the other branches of the Boston Tea Party that I’ve visited.
|18 BROAD STREET • WORCESTER • WR1 3NF|
|www.bostonteaparty.co.uk||+44 (0) 1905 26472|
|Monday||07:30 – 18:00||Roaster||Extract (espresso + bulk-brew)|
|Tuesday||07:30 – 18:00||Seating||Tables, Sofas, Comfy Chairs, Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||07:30 – 18:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||07:30 – 18:00||Service||Counter, Order at Counter (Food)|
|Friday||07:30 – 18:00||Cards||Visa, Mastercard|
|Saturday||07:30 – 18:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||09:00 – 18:00||Power||Limited|
|Chain||Regional||Visits||13th April 2013|
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