Last month, Amanda and I paid a brief visit to Bath. After an afternoon exploring the fabulous Roman Baths, we retreated to the nearby Society Café in The Corridor, which I’d last visited just over five years ago, a quite shameful state of affairs that can only partly be blamed on my ridiculous travel schedule.
The second Society Café in Bath, after the original on Kingsmead Square, I found that, in many ways, little had changed, although for the last two years, Society has been using Origin as its house-roaster, rather than Round Hill Roastery (Round Hill still makes regular appearances as a guest). The upstairs had also received something of a makeover, introducing some more seating a giving the décor a little more colour.
However, the main change came when the basement was opened last year, doubling the amount of seating available. Naturally, Amanda and I had to explore.
You can see what I found after the gallery.
Society Café is at the front of The Corridor, Bath’s gorgeous Georgian shopping arcade. It has a simple, rectangular layout, with floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides. The short side faces the High Street, the long side running along the central corridor. When I first visited, in October 2014, there wasn’t much seating, just a pair of window bars, with the counter at the back.
On my return, little had changed, although the décor, which had originally been all clean lines and white, had softened a little, pictures lining the walls. A little more seating had been added upstairs, a third bar lining the staircase to the basement (this had previously held the retail shelves, now relocated to the back of the counter). Other than that, little had changed, except, of course, for the sign at the top of the stairs. Whereas this had once announced that the basement was off-limits, these days it proclaims “more seating downstairs”.
The enclosed staircase starts at the front of Society, running down along the right-hand wall, depositing you at the back of the small basement, which feels slightly shorter than the corresponding space upstairs. It’s a wonderful, cosy spot, with an L-shaped, padded bench running along the back and left-hand walls, complete with five two-person tables (two at the back, three down the left-hand side). Opposite this is a two-person bar against the wall of the stairs, while tucked away under the stairs at the front are three comfortable armchairs, each with a small, half-circle coffee table.
The décor downstairs matches the revamped upstairs, with multiple pictures on the walls, including a wonderful mural on the wall above the two-person bar. There’s also a set of bookcases in the corner under the stairs and, in another nice touch, two long mirrors run along the left-hand wall above the tables, which help give the basement a sense of space.
Amanda and I shared a wonderful, sweet, moist banana and chocolate loaf. Amanda paired this with a flat white made with the house coffee, a washed Nicaraguan Las Colinas from Origin. She declared it excellent, striking a good balance between coffee and milk, the chocolate notes matching the cake.
I had the filter option, an Aeropress of a natural Ethiopian Buku Sayisa #1 from Round Hill Roastery, which was a full-bodied, complex coffee. I’d describe it as fruity, while Amanda tasted berries and spring flowers.
December 2019: Society Café, The Corridor has won the 2019 Coffee Spot with the Best Basement Award.
|THE CORRIDOR • 19 HIGH STREET • BATH • BA1 5AJ|
|www.society-cafe.com||+44 (0) 1225 442 433|
|Monday||07:30 – 18:30||Roaster||Origin + Guests (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||07:30 – 18:30||Seating||Window Bars, Bench (outside)|
|Wednesday||07:30 – 18:30||Food||Sandwiches, Cakes|
|Thursday||07:30 – 18:30||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||07:30 – 18:30||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||07:30 – 18:30||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||09:00 – 18:00||Power||No|
|Chain||Regional||Visits||Original: 13th October 2014
Update: 25th November 2019
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