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The Essential Guide to Bristol
04 February 2010
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Blue Lagoon

Venue Image
Venue Image
20 Gloucester Road,

(0117) 9427471 

The ViewBristol Review

Review byLucy Duggan28/10/2008
It started out a couple of years ago as yet another unassuming Gloucester Road cafe and, in that short time, Blue Lagoon has become arguably the most popular day and night haunt in this neck of the woods.

The Venue
The first thing you think when you see this vision in blue, reminiscent of a continental surf-shack, is this place is going to be full of dudes. They have got the look just right: great colour scheme, nice layout and a brilliant logo - a sprayed on, street take of a full moon hanging over a blue-lagoon. On the pavement area at the front are 10 sheltered, gas-heated tables, decked out with little glass candle lanterns.

Inside it’s all cool, aesthetically pleasing blues and browns and solid wood furniture. Local artists’ canvases and historical photos of Bristol are intermingled about the walls. There is a holiday feel to this place; there are postcards in a rack by the toilets.

There’s a raised seating area of comfy black leather sofas and coffee tables if you want to slouch around away from the hubbub of the main cafe. The whole wall opposite the bar is a huge panoramic night shot of the city centre, and just beneath this is a slightly raised stage crowned with a considerable sound and light rig for performances.

Food and drinks are served from behind a long wood slatted bar that's illuminated with nightlights after dark. Above it hang several large blackboard menus with multi-coloured illustrations of what’s on offer.

It is the lively attention to detail, which really sets the Blue Lagoon apart from its competitors. As with the rest of the cafe, the toilets are clean and freshly decorated, plus they have baby changing facilities. There isn’t much they haven’t thought of here.

The People
The posters in the windows advertise upcoming gigs (one week it might be a Blues Brothers tribute act) and the regular Tuesday open-mic night provides a clue to the variety of people attracted to this place: a lot of musicians and creative personalities, but not exclusively or overbearingly so.

The vibe is informal and friendly, almost reminiscent of a social club. It attracts a real cultural mix and all ages, which is a reflection of the open and welcoming atmosphere that pervades the cafe.

The place is a favourite for many, so you can take it for granted that if you visit on the regs, you’ll see the same faces. The bar staff are enthusiastic, super-friendly and clearly love working here.

The Food
The food comes in fairly good time, although it can be hit and miss on busier days. Prices are good - a full breakfast including a drink is £5.75. You can have breakfast lunch or dinner here, or just snacks like nachos, wedges or chips.

For £4.95 you can try the falafel special, which is a fresh falafel roll plus a hot or soft drink. They do a great dinner deal too. The evening special costs £19.95 for two, and includes a garlic bread starter, a main of rump-steak, gammon or vegetarian lasagna served with jacket potato or chips and a side salad.

The Drink
As a cafe and a bar you can’t fault the drink selection or prices. Cold juice costs just 95p, while a piping hot cappuccino will set you back £1.75. They do loads of bottled beverages: Guinness. Peroni, Corona, San Miguel, WKD, Smirnoff Ice (£2.75). A big bottle of Magners sets you back £3.25.

The spirits are affordable, although the choice isn’t a selling point – single house shots are £2.55 and doubles are £4.10. Premium brands are slightly more.

They do offer a good choice of draughts including Peterman, Becks, Stella, Blackthorn Western Cider for an average of £1.60 for a half and £3 for a pint.

They all serve up monster-sized cocktails for £6 a pop, plus an impressive selection of Italian reds and whites. A bottle of house wine costs £9.50 for a bottle of house wine. Wine by the glass is £3.50, £4.75 or £12.95 for a good Italian.

The Last Word
A place for a quiet morning coffee, a relaxing lunch, even a lively dinner surrounded by good music and friends.
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