There was a time when speciality coffee was hard to find in Chester. Then, suddenly there was a boom, with multiple places opening each year, a pace that shows no sign of slowing down. Bridge St Coffee, pleasingly on Chester’s Bridge Street, a few doors up from veteran Jaunty Goat joined the fray in 2018. In common with Jaunty Goat and other coffee shops under Chester’s famous Rows, such as Chalk Coffee and Panna Chester, Bridge St Coffee occupies a long, thin, basement-like space, with plenty of seating inside, plus a large outdoor seating area on the pavement of the pedestrianised street.
Although it proudly displays a Probat roaster in the window, that’s not yet in use, Bridge St Coffee using Manchester’s Heart & Graft for the time being, having a Colombian blend on its espresso-based menu. If you don’t fancy coffee, then there’s a selection of nine teas, nine juices/shakes plus hot chocolate. Bridge St Coffee is equally strong on its food offering, using local supplies to provide a comprehensive all-day breakfast menu, including various eggs-on-toast and avocado options, plus porridge, sandwiches, panini and soup of the day, which is backed up by a tasty selection of cakes.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Bridge St Coffee is on the eastern side of Bridge Street, near its northern end at Chester Cross. It’s underneath the famous Rows, with an all-glass front which is split into thirds, the central third occupied by a recessed glass door. The broad pavement outside the shop is on the pedestrianised part of Bridge Street, with the number of tables depending on the weather. On my first visit, on a warm, September day, there were at least eight tables outside, but by the time I returned last Tuesday, on a cold, February afternoon, this had reduced to four square three-person tables, two in front of each window.
Bridge St Coffee made a bit of a splash when it opened at the end of the summer in 2019, largely due to the Probat roaster prominently displayed in the window on the right. Although it’s still there, it’s not yet in use, with Bridge St’s coffee being roasted for the time being by Heart & Graft in Manchester. Equally prominent in the other window is a two-person window-bar, ideal for people-watching if you don’t want to sit outside.
The recessed, central door leads onto a shallow ramp which descends maybe a metre to the floor of a long, thin, basement-like space, open to the wooden beams supporting the Rows above. The layout inside matches that seen from the windows, with the seating on the left while on the right, a long counter, which starts at the roaster, runs around two-thirds of the way to the back of the shop.
Most of the counter front is given over to display space, with the working areas at the back, menus on chalk boards on the walls above. First comes the juicing area, then the cakes, with the espresso machine, a three-group Sanremo Café Racer. You order at the till, which is next to the cakes, and then, finally, at the end of the counter, is an open kitchen.
Once you’ve ordered, take a seat (you’ll also find menus on all the tables) and the staff will bring your drinks/food to you. After the window-bar, the seating is arranged in a L, starting with two rows of square tables along the left-hand side, a row of two-person tables against the wall and a row of three-person tables in middle next to a central corridor which runs back from the ramp between the seating and the counter.
There are more tables at the back, with another two rows, this time running across the coffee shop. Three, four-person tables form the first row against the back wall, with a second row of three tables (a two-person against the left-hand wall, a three-person in the middle and a four-person on the right) stretching across in front of it.
I visited twice, on both occasions indulging in a double espresso made from a nicely-balanced Colombian blend with hints of acidity. Both times I was too late for lunch (having eaten elsewhere), so I settled for cake. On my first visit, I had the last slice of the apple pie, which was excellent: big, tender chunks of apple in a shell of sweet shortcrust pastry, while on my return, I had a slice of the rich and creamy cheesecake, with a thick, crumbly biscuit base which was just as good.
|23 BRIDGE STREET • CHESTER • CH1 1NG|
|Monday||07:00 – 18:00||Roaster||Heart & Graft (espresso only)|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 18:00||Seating||Tables, Window-bar|
|Wednesday||07:00 – 18:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||07:00 – 18:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||07:00 – 18:00||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||07:00 – 18:00||Wifi||Free|
|Sunday||08:00 – 17:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||Local||Visits||19th September 2019, 4th February 2020|
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