My Vegetarian Stacked breakfast at the Riverbanc in Llangollen: egg, halloumi, mushrooms, croquette, beans and seeded toast (plus an extra slice).Although it was Sam’s Coffee that brought me to Llangollen at the end of May, while I was doing my research, I quickly discovered that Sam wasn’t the only game in town when it came to speciality coffee. Literally across the road from Sam’s Coffee is Riverbanc, which started life as an outdoor activity centre before moving into the old Midland Bank building, in the process adding a speciality coffee shop and small hotel to its portfolio.

The coffee shop occupies the left-hand side of the ground floor of the three-storey building, with a modest, L-shaped seating area which wraps around the counter. As pleasant as the interior is, sitting inside means you miss out on the best part of Riverbanc, the expansive decking at the rear of the building, which is built out high above the bank of the River Dee.

When it comes to coffee, Riverbanc uses Has Bean, offering the reliable Jailbreak blend on espresso, along with a single-origin guest, plus decaf. There’s also loose-leaf tea, hot chocolate, various flavoured lattes and iced frappes, plus bottled beer and wine. If you’re hungry, Riverbanc has contemporary breakfast and brunch menus, plus plenty of cake to keep you going.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • On Bridge Street in Llangollen, it's the old Midland Bank building...
  • ... now home to Riverbanc: outdoor activities centre, hotel and coffee shop...
  • ... which you enter using this door on the left-hand side. It takes you into a small porch...
  • ... which then deposits you right where you need to be: in front of the counter...
  • ... with the drinks menu handily placed on the wall to your left if you're ordering to go.
  • The stools tucked under the counter suggests you could sit here in pre-COVID times.
  • For now, however, you need to wait to be seated...
  • ... which at least gives you a chance to check out the cakes.
  • You can also check out the coffee while you wait, including the guest single-origin.
  • When it comes to seating, there's plenty of choice, starting with these two booths which...
  • ... are behind you in the windows to your right as you stand at the counter.
  • The seating extends in an L-shape down the right-hand side, past the door to the hotel.
  • There are three four-person tables on the right, and a two-person one on the left...
  • ... while at the back is more information about the coffee (which we'll come back to).
  • You'll also find this neat sofa in the corner on the left. However, I suggest you turn right...
  • ... and head outside through this door...
  • ... which leads to a small landing at the back of Riverbanc.
  • Keep going and you reach the best part: the wooden decking overlooking the River Dee!
  • There's a row of four-person tables right at the back...
  • ... which are the best seats if you want a view.
  • The rest of the seating is under this wooden roof, providing shelter from the elements.
  • Looking up, the windows belong to the various hotel rooms. Mine was on the right...
  • ... where I had this view of the decking and the river beyond!
  • Returning to the decking, there are four of these four-person tables under the roof...
  • ... with more seating at the far end...
  • ... including a pair of six-person tables, one high and one low.
  • Another view of the two tables, where a strategically-placed pillar obscures...
  • ... the large digger working next door! But don't worry, I couldn't hear it over the river!
  • There's one more table, a tall, three-person one which provides...
  • ... the best views upstream to Llangollen Bridge.
  • Meanwhile, this was my table, at the other end of the decking...
  • ... which provides this magnificent view looking downstream (more of which later).
  • Riverbanc has some neat features, including this tea/plant pot out on the decking.
  • Moving inside, here's one of the neat posters on the wall.
  • There's also a small retail section on the wall beyond the counter.
  • Obligatory light-fitting shot.
  • And seen from below.
  • Down to business. There are plenty of menus, including this one out on the decking.
  • There are details of the coffee on the back wall, with a map showing where it came from.
  • The regular espresso is the Jailbreak blend, while there's a guest single-origin & decaf.
  • There's full table service (for now) so you also get menus at your table. The green menu...
  • ... is food, with breakfast on one side and brunch on the other. Black is drinks.
  • I decided to have a flat white, made with the single-origin...
  • ... and featuring some neat latte art...
  • ... which lasted all the way to the bottom of the cup.
  • As a hotel guest, I also had breakfast, the Vegetarian Stacked, with an extra slice of toast.
  • Personally, I think it looks better all on one plate. And very tasty it was too!
  • I'll leave you with a shot of my flat white, enjoying the view down the river.
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Riverbanc is on the north side of Bridge Street, which runs east along the River Dee from the southern end of the 16th/17th century Llangollen Bridge. The old Midland Bank is a relative newcomer to the town, built in 1827, while Riverbanc moved in during 2017. However, the building was far too big for just the outdoor activities, so Riverbanc added a coffee shop (2018) and hotel (2019). As you do.

Unless you’re a hotel guest, access to the coffee shop is via the left-hand door at the front of the building. A small porch opens onto the counter, where, in pre-COVID times, you could sit at one of number of stools. These days, it’s table service, so someone will show you to a seat, then return to take your order.

In this respect, you’re spoilt for choice. Immediately to your right/behind you, a pair of booths occupy the front windows. There’s also a two-person table with low stools against the right-hand wall. The rest of the (indoor) seating is in a long, corridor-like space runs past the right-hand side of the counter to the back of the building. Three four-person tables with low, wooden benches line the right-hand wall, with a further two-person table at the back. Finally, beyond this in the left-hand corner, is a compact two-person sofa.

It really is a lovely space, abounding in wood, with high ceilings and lots of artwork. However, as tempting as it is, I recommend that you head for the back of Riverbanc, turning right at the sofa, where a door opens onto the back of the decking. Turn left and a short landing takes you past a staircase (which leads down to the riverbank) and out to the best seating in the house.

The wooden decking is built out over the riverbank (although Riverbanc is on the ground floor, Bridge Street is several metres above the water level, so behind Riverbanc, the land drops away sharply to the water’s edge). The rear of the decking has a wooden roof projecting from the back of the building, while the tables at the front, which have the best views of the river, are exposed to the elements.

Three four-person tables run along the railings at the front of the decking, overlooking the river, while a further four tables form a square under the roof. Finally, at the far end, two six-person tables (one high, one low) shelter under the roof, with a high, three-person table out by the railings.

I spent the night at Riverbanc, staying in one of the hotel’s seven rooms. I was on the top floor, with a view over the river, and made my way down to breakfast the following morning. I selected the Vegetarian Stacked, an epic feast with poached egg, halloumi, mushrooms and a potato croquette on seeded toast, plus beans in a small pot and an extra slice of toast. It was as delicious as it sounds and incredibly filling.

I sat out on the decking with the river for company. It’s not quiet out there, since the river really roars by, but I liked listening to it, and, as a bonus, it drowned out any noise from the construction site in the hotel next door! I enjoyed the views over a flat white, made with the guest single-origin, a new addition for Riverbanc. Coincidentally, it was the same Finca Licho, the fruity, yellow honey processed coffee from Costa Rica, that I had at Sam’s Coffee. It was just as good here, producing a lovely, smooth, rich and fruity flat white, the perfect start to my day!

December 2021: Riverbanc was a runner-up for the 2021 Best Outdoor Seating Award.

https://riverbanc.co.uk +44 (0) 1978 799903
Monday 08:00 – 16:00 Roaster Has Bean (espresso only)
Tuesday 08:00 – 16:00 Seating Tables, Sofa, Counter; Tables (outside)
Wednesday 08:00 – 16:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 08:00 – 16:00 Service Table
Friday 08:00 – 16:00 Payment Card Only
Saturday 08:00 – 16:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 08:00 – 16:00 Power Yes
Chain No Visits 28th May 2021

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