Boston Tea Party, Park Street Update

A latte with a fern-leaf motif in the milkIn many ways, the Boston Tea Party on Bristol’s Park Street, where the Boston Tea Party chain began, is also where the Coffee Spot started, albeit a good few years later. It’s the first place that I wrote about, the first Coffee Spot being published three years and two days ago on 28th September 2012. As the Coffee Spot heads into its fourth year, it seems only fitting that I should revisit where it all began.

So, what’s changed in that time? Well, quite a bit, actually. The coffee is still the same, the Tea Party favouring a bespoke Extract Coffee Roasters’ seasonal espresso blend, and while the food menu has gone through some iterations, it’s still the same core of excellent cakes and all-day breakfasts.

No, what’s actually changed is the place itself. Well, not so much changed, just expanded. Since I was last there three years ago, the seating has pretty much doubled, with the Tea Party adding a second garden and a second upstairs room.

You can see what I found after the gallery.

  • Boston Tea Party, on Bristol's Park Street, looks much as it did three years ago.
  • While not immediately apparent, the Tea Party has taken over the floor above the bookies.
  • Downstairs, not much has changed: you can still sit in the window by the door.
  • However, go upstairs and that's where you'll notice the changes.
  • The main room is not that much different from how it was.
  • Seen here from the back, you can imagine you're still in the old Boston Tea Party.
  • However, turn 90 degrees to your right and woah! Where did that come from?
  • There's a whole new room up here, stretching from the back of the building...
  • ... all the way to the front! Check out the lovely red bench on the left-hand wall.
  • Meanwhile, the tables down the right-hand side each have their own window...
  • ... while this one at the front takes pride of place.
  • From here you can see where the Starbucks across the road used to be...
  • Obligatory light-fitting shot.
  • One last look before it's time to head back downstairs...
  • ... and out into the garden.
  • It was the end of the day, which is why all the chairs were up.
  • Good to see that the Boston Tea Party still has the mosaic tables I like.
  • The multiple terraces of the back garden on Park Street.
  • But wait? What's this, to the right as you come into the garden? Steps... but to where?
  • A whole new second garden, complete with its own terraces, that's what!
Boston Tea Party, on Bristol's Park Street, looks much as it did three years ago.1 While not immediately apparent, the Tea Party has taken over the floor above the bookies.2 Downstairs, not much has changed: you can still sit in the window by the door.3 However, go upstairs and that's where you'll notice the changes.4 The main room is not that much different from how it was.5 Seen here from the back, you can imagine you're still in the old Boston Tea Party.6 However, turn 90 degrees to your right and woah! Where did that come from?7 There's a whole new room up here, stretching from the back of the building...8 ... all the way to the front! Check out the lovely red bench on the left-hand wall.9 Meanwhile, the tables down the right-hand side each have their own window...10 ... while this one at the front takes pride of place.11 From here you can see where the Starbucks across the road used to be...12 Obligatory light-fitting shot.13 One last look before it's time to head back downstairs...14 ... and out into the garden.15 It was the end of the day, which is why all the chairs were up.16 Good to see that the Boston Tea Party still has the mosaic tables I like.17 The multiple terraces of the back garden on Park Street.18 But wait? What's this, to the right as you come into the garden? Steps... but to where?19 A whole new second garden, complete with its own terraces, that's what!20
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From the street, the Boston Tea Party looks pretty much the same, occupying the ground and first floors of a tall, thin building near the top of Park Street. However, look a little closer and you’ll see people sitting in windows in the building to the left, above a bookmakers. That’s the first clue that something is up.

Downstairs however, nothing much has changed. You still queue up to order, just as you did, and still wait at the counter’s end for your coffee and cake. If you’re having food, you need to find a table first, then tell the staff your number when you order. Personally I preferred it when they gave you stick with a number on it, but I can see the advantage of this system (mostly it stops the staff having to walk around multiple spaces looking for “Number 5” when you’ve accidentally hidden it behind the ketchup…).

Heading upstairs, you see the first major change. At first the famous upstairs coffee lounge, which stretches out in front of you, doesn’t seem that different, although the furniture has moved around a bit since I was last here. However, turn to your right and, in the smaller back room, which overlooks the garden, you realise that the wall on the right-hand side isn’t there any more…

Stepping through, you find that the Tea Party has taken over the entire first floor above the bookmakers below. Since this is the end of the terrace, there are a lot more windows up here, all along the right-hand wall in fact, plus those at front and back. What’s more, unlike the original lounge, this space isn’t divided into front and back rooms, resulting in a single, bright, airy space, with three rows of tables, one along each wall and one up the centre.

The other surprise awaits when you go out into the garden. At first glance, this is the same, multi-terraced affair. However, to the right, a short flight of steps leads up to the space behind the building on the right (whereas the additional upstairs space is above the building on the left). Here you’ll find another multi-terraced garden, much like the first, but, just as with the upstairs, feeling slightly more open and less cluttered.

So, there you have it. The same old Boston Tea Party, only twice as big and, in my opinion, just as good.

Don’t forget the original Boston Tea Party Coffee Spot, which includes the complete write-up and an updated gallery. The Boston Tea Party was also a runner-up for the Coffee Spot Award for Best Outdoor Seating in 2015.

75 PARK STREET • BRISTOL • BS1 5PF
www.bostonteaparty.co.uk +44 (0)117 929 8601
Monday 07:00 – 20:00 Roaster Extract (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 07:00 – 20:00 Seating Tables, Comfy Chairs, Sofas, Bar, Outside
Wednesday 07:00 – 20:00 Food Cakes, Breakfast, Lunch
Thursday 07:00 – 20:00 Service Counter (Order at Counter for food)
Friday 07:00 – 20:00 Cards Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 07:00 – 20:00 Wifi Free
Sunday 08:00 – 19:00 Power A few
Chain Regional Visits Original: 7th September 2012
Update: 20th September 2015

Liked this? Then don’t forget to check out the Coffee Spot Guide to Bristol for more great Coffee Spots.


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6 thoughts on “Boston Tea Party, Park Street Update

  1. Pingback: Boston Tea Party, Park Street | Brian's Coffee Spot

  2. I find the new numbers system is unfriendly in busy periods – if you’re alone you have to somehow bag a table and stop someone sitting there while you go back to order, if you’re with someone then one of you has to hold the table while the other orders so if you don’t club together your food will be separated by the amount of people in the queue between you. Adding unnecessary anxiety to the coffee experience!

    • That very point was raised by the people I went with and on the whole, I agree with you. However, when you’re spread out over two floors and two gardens, I can see the attractions for the staff… Ultimately I guess it depends on whose convenience you think is more important…

      Brian.

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