Wags N Tales, Surbiton

The Wags N Tails logo, a stylised line drawing of a dog's face inside a circle, with the words "Wags N Tales" written at the top of the circle and "Coffee Bar Kitchen" written at the bottom.I conclude my very brief tour of Surbiton’s speciality coffee scene (which started last week with Surbeanton and not forgetting The Press Room) with Wags N Tales. Located on Brighton Road, it’s many things: coffee shop by day, bar by night, vegetarian/vegan restaurant (11:00 – 21:00) and all-day dog-friendly venue. It’s also, by speciality coffee shop standards, huge, with a wide range of seating across multiple interior spaces, along with four large tables on the pavement outside.

Surbeaton uses local roaster Chimney Fire Coffee, with Chimney Fire’s Classic Espresso joined by a decaf option from Hampshire’s Moon Roast. When it comes to food, there’s an all-day brunch menu, plus burgers, hot dogs and various specials, all of which is vegetarian, with plenty of vegan options. This is backed up with sandwiches to go, plenty of cakes and a selection of dog snacks and treats. And, of course, there’s a well-stocked bar, with a large cocktail menu, a range of wine by the glass or bottle, various spirits and draught beer. For now, you order online (there are QR Codes on every table) and pay either at the table when your order is delivered, or at the counter before you leave.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • From February 2020, here's Surbiton's Wags N Tales, as seen from by the railway bridge...
  • ... and here's the view from the other side.
  • It was looking very similar on my return in June 2021.
  • These are two of the four tables on the pavement in front of Wags N Tails.
  • The sign says it all. If you are wondering where Wags N Tails is in relation to...
  • ... Surbeanton, then that's it, over there, hiding behind its tree...
  • ... and this is the equivalent view of Wags N Tales from Surbeanton (from 2020).
  • Let's go in, shall we? The door is on the far, left-hand end.
  • This leads you into the left-hand (bar) part of Wags N Tales.
  • There's plenty of seating in here, starting with this four-person window bar to the right.
  • The window-bar seen from the back. Note that the windows are fully open in hot weather.
  • Turning around, the counter is on the left...
  • ... while there's a row of tall, round cocktail tables on the right.
  • There are four in all, one at the front, one at the back, and these two in the middle.
  • At the back is some cafe-style seating, like these armchairs beyond the last cocktail table...
  • ... behind which is this four-person table.
  • There are more pairs of armchairs in the back, left-hand corner...
  • ... while carrying on around to the right leads to more tables...
  • ... and some shelves on the back wall, displaying various Wags N Tales merchandise.
  • The tables continue around the corner, leading to the dining area...
  • ... seen here from the back.
  • However, that's the long way around. You can also use this opening in the party wall...
  • ... or this one, towards the front of Wags N Tales.
  • The view of the dining area from the first of the two openings.
  • There's a row of three of the cocktail tables in the windows at the front...
  • ... while the bulk of the seating is in the form of more conventional tables.
  • For now, this six-person round table stands in the middle...
  • ... with three four-person tables against the right-hand wall.
  • There are more tables at the back, where you'll find the big screen for watching sports.
  • Finally, there are another two four-person tables against the party wall.
  • There's plenty of exposed brick in Wags N Tales and plenty of...
  • ... these old taps, which have been repurposed as coat hooks.
  • Some of the wall decoration in the dining area...
  • ... which also has a very green and colourful ceiling.
  • My new favourite light-fitting view...
  • ... and here so that you can see the light bulb.
  • Right, let's go back to the counter, where, in pre-COVID times, you would order.
  • Now, however, you have to wait to be seated.
  • While you wait, you can check out the chiller cabinet by the counter.
  • Neat use of an old sewing machine stand.
  • The coffee and tea menus are also here, on the wall above.
  • Talking of which, there are retail bags (and reusable cups) for sale off to the right.
  • The counter, meanwhile, has the cakes out in force to tempt you.
  • These beauties line the short end of the counter...
  • ... while around the corner are the doughnuts and pastries.
  • A little further on are some dog treats, so that they don't feel left out.
  • Cakes aside, the front part of Wags N Tales is very much bar territory, with spirits...
  • ... and, a little further on, beer.
  • You have go all the way to the back to find the coffee, with the Black Eagle espresso...
  • ... machine tucked away in the corner, bags of Chimney Fire Coffee on the shelves.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, you order online (there are QR Codes on each table).
  • This is the food portion of the menu...
  • ... where you'll find the breakfast options, which is what I had when I visited in 2020.
  • And here it is, my Wag N Tales special breakfast. It was as good as it looks!
  • On my return, I was just there for coffee...
  • ... ordering an espresso. The system even tells you...
  • ... when your order is ready, although someone will bring it to your table.
  • And here it is, my espresso, made with Chimney Fire Coffee's Classic Espresso.
  • I'll leave you with a classic view of my classic espresso (in a classic cup).
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Wags N Tales opened in 2016, although me until February 2020 to get there (this was the same day I failed to visit Surbeanton which you can see across the road, peeking out from behind its tree). I was more successful with Wags N Tales, but it was very crowded, so I held back on my write-up, planning on revisiting when I returned to catch Surbeanton in a month or two’s time. Then COVID-19 struck, and a month or two turned into a year and a half…

Wag N Tales is just north of the railway lines on the western side of the busy Brighton Road, almost directly opposite Victoria Road. If you want to sit outside, there are four large tables with benches in a line on the pavement, perpendicular to the windows, which, in the summer, can be folded back on the right-hand side, offering an alternative way in from the door, which is on the far left-hand side.

Using the door, you find yourself in front of the counter, which dominates the front part of the left-hand side of Wags N Tales. From the inside, it’s clear that Wags N Tales occupies a pair of spaces, with the dividing wall running down the centre. However, with two openings in the wall, it’s easy to move between the two, while at the back, things are even more open.

The space is roughly split into bar (front of the left-hand side), dining (front of the right-hand side) and café (at the back). This delineation isn’t rigorously enforced, by the way: on both my visits, I ended up at a table in the bar area, once for lunch and the second time for an espresso. However, if it’s busy, I suspect that no-one will thank you for nursing an espresso at one of the large tables in the dining area!

The bar area is dominated by the counter, which runs almost the full length of the exposed brick of the left-hand wall. It’s set back a little from the door, leaving just enough space for a set of retail shelves with the coffee and tea menu above. The cakes are on display at the front, but otherwise the first three-quarters of the counter is very much bar-territory, with the coffee right at the back.

There’s quite a bit of seating here, with a four-person bar in the window to the right of the door, followed by a row of tall, round cocktail-style tables, each with three square, wooden stools running opposite the counter. There were five of these on my first visit, but COVID-19 restrictions have now thinned the number down to four.

There’s further seating in a low-ceilinged space at the back, which was once probably two separate rooms, one for each space, but these have been knocked though, joining the left- and right-hand sides together. There’s a range of tables and armchairs back here, although things have been changed around a lot since my first visit.

Lastly, in the front part of the right-hand side, another three of the tall, round cocktail-style tables form a line in the window, with the rest of the space occupied by tables of various shapes and sizes. For now, three four-person tables line the right-hand wall, two more fill the space between the two openings in the dividing wall, while there’s a six-person round table in the middle. Finally, there are two small, square four-person tables at the back.

On my first visit in February 2020, I had the Wag N Tales special breakfast for lunch. Consisting of two poached eggs, homemade beans, spicy potatoes, tomato and two sausages (one vegetarian, one vegan), plus a generous helping of sourdough toast, it was very tasty and extremely filling. On my return, I’d just eaten at Surbeanton, so settled for a nicely-balanced, well-rounded shot of the Classic Espresso from Chimney Fire Coffee, a washed coffee from a cooperative in Peru.

There is a second Wags N Tales in Twickenham which opened in January 2020.

https://wagsntales.com +44 (0) 208 390 9617
Monday 08:00 – 23:00 Roaster Chimney Fire (espresso) + Moonroast (decaf)
Tuesday 08:00 – 23:00 Seating Tables, Window Bars, Sofas; Tables (outside)
Wednesday 08:00 – 23:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Cake
Thursday 08:00 – 23:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 08:00 – 02:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 08:00 – 02:00 Wifi Free
Sunday 08:00 – 23:00 Power Yes
Chain Local Visits 11th February 2020, 15th June 2021

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3 thoughts on “Wags N Tales, Surbiton

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