Quite possibly the smallest Boston Tea Party and certainly the smallest I have visited, the Bath branch has a certain instant charm that I immediately fell in love with. I’ve written elsewhere about the Boston Tea Party chain and why I continue to seek out new branches. In that respect the Bath branch very much fits the mould. It is instantly a Boston Tea Party, but it’s also its own place, with a distinct character.
The Bath branch’s size is the main focus: whereas the majority of the other branches are in large buildings, often spread over two floors, the Bath branch is squeezed into what feels like two small shops with a connecting door. The counter and serving area are in one, while the main seating is in the other. If everyone squeezed in, you might get 30 people inside.
In fairness, you could probably get as many again in the nice-looking outdoor seating area. This is well-situated in a generous triangle of pavement on Kingsmead Square between Monmouth and Avon Streets. Unfortunately, while I was there, it was pouring with rain, so it was something of a non-starter, despite a generous awning.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Continuing my tour of Boston Tea Party branches, I visited the Bath branch for a spot of brunch after leaving Colonna & Small’s. It was a thoroughly miserable day, grey with constantly-pouring rain, which, as one of the baristas remarked, did add a certain cosiness to the place, even if the windows were steamed up with condensation. It probably contributed to it being packed since the outside seating only attracted the hardiest smokers. I suspect that had it been dry, the triangle of pavement in front of the Tea Party would have been fairly busy. As it was, everyone was inside, trying hard not to drip on each other.
Kingsmead Square sits between Monmouth and Avon Streets, it feels like two small shops with a connecting door, particularly since each space has its own door onto the street. The smaller of the two spaces, to the right as seen from the front, is on the Monmouth Street side. Here you’ll find the counter, opposite you as you come in, with a two-person table tucked into the space between door and fridge. It’s very typically Boston Tea Party with the usual array of cakes, and the standard food and coffee offerings, although there was (in common with the Whiteladies Road branch in Bristol) a piccolo on the coffee menu.
The connecting doorway is to the left of the counter, a couple of steps leading down to the main seating area. Here a door in the far left-hand corner opens onto the Avon Street side, while in the far right-hand corner, another door leads to the stairs to the basement where you’ll find the toilets.
The seats have been packed in here, making navigation a little tricky, although it does add to the cosy atmosphere. Red, padded benches run around three sides, each with three two-person tables in a row, old-fashioned wooden chairs providing the second seat. The party wall, immediately to your right as you come through from the counter, has just a single two-person table up against it under a very fine mirror. The remaining space in the centre is taken up with a six-person table, with barely enough space left for you to squeeze by.
Despite feeling a little squashed in, high ceilings and large windows on two sides of the main seating area paradoxically give it a spacious feeling. The windows, coupled with multiple lights, meant that it was fairly bright inside, despite being such a gloomy day.
For me, one of the main attractions of the Boston Tea Party is the all-day breakfast menu. There’s also a lunch menu, but I rarely sample it since I’m drawn to my favourite, Eggs Florentine. This one was a little disappointing, being a touch on the salty side. Salt, for me, is like sugar in the coffee: once it’s in, you can’t take it out, so I’d rather chefs let me decide how much (if any) I want in my food.
On the plus side, I had my first ever Boston Tea Party piccolo, having missed out at Whiteladies Road. This was very fine and, if offered at all the Boston Tea Party branches, could easily become my milky drink of choice, edging out the flat white. One day I must get around to trying the single-origin filter coffee.
You can also see what I made of all the other branches of the Boston Tea Party that I’ve visited.
|19 KINGSMEAD SQUARE • BATH • BA1 2AE|
|www.bostonteaparty.co.uk||+44 (0) 1225 314 826|
|Monday||07:00 – 19:30||Roaster||Extract (espresso + bulk-brew)|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 19:30||Seating||Tables, Armchairs|
|Wednesday||07:00 – 19:30||Food||Cakes, Breakfast, Lunch|
|Thursday||07:00 – 19:30||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||07:00 – 19:30||Cards||Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||07:00 – 19:30||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||09:00 – 17:00||Power||Limited|
|Chain||Regional||Visits||23rd December 2013|
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