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The Essential Guide to Bristol
14 August 2009
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Venue Image
97 Gloucester Road,

(0117) 330 5740 

The ViewBristol Review

Review byZoe Hardie11/06/2009
A cosy coffee shop by day and a laidback, European-style drinking haunt by night.

The Venue
Hatters is one of many cafes on the bustling Gloucester Road, but when it comes to standing out it certainly makes the grade. Inside, the decor is quirky to say the least.

Doilies are spray-painted onto the tables and vintage furniture is juxtaposed with modern stools. Antique frames adorn the walls and a Christmas tree hangs upside down. Chandeliers made from wine glasses drip diamonds from the ceiling. Oh, and the place is covered in…you guessed it - hats.

The People
In the daytime you get your typical coffee shop crowd, with a bit of a bohemian leaning. There are plenty of regulars who are on their own to write, read or draw for most of the day – it’s a good place to flex those creative muscles over a proper cup of coffee.

On the flipside, Hatters is tremendously kiddie-friendly and makes a point of welcoming mums and children on specific days of the week, accommodating them with toys, board games and teddies. Obviously the evening features a lot more grown-ups, mostly the laidback, beatnik kind who are looking for something a little bit different while avoiding the typical pub crowds.

The Food
The food is fairly classic cafe grub but it has a good go at making it as varied and scrumptious as possible. You can get your standard toast, boiled eggs, or a hearty fry-up (£5.95) which is possibly one of the best that Gloucester Road offers.

Sweet and savoury pancakes are an indulgent treat. Particularly rated are the brie and cranberry which comes jampacked with filling and costs only £3.20. There is a choice of ciabattas and sandwiches, both fresh from the legendary Bishopston Breadstore.

Hatters is increasingly branding itself as a tapas hotspot offering simple but high quality dishes such as bread and dips, spinach and filo pastries and Spanish tortilla for £3.80 a pop. This works particularly well in the evenings for groups of friends who want to lounge about and order various nibbles as the night winds one – a far more sociable way of eating than a formal restaurant meal.

This place prides itself on private functions - and they are a big success story. What marks it out from the rest is the personal touches that go into the prepartion of their parties or functions. If you want the place decorated with neon colours and 150 knickerbockerglories served up then your wish will be granted.

The Drink
Coffee is their forte, with your usual Americana (£1.60), latte (£1.80) and cappucino (£1.80) all made with freshly ground Ciko executive coffee beans. Tea fiends can choose from an everchanging variety (they have dozens) with favourites including Indian chai, fennel, and cardamom (£1.50). Juices, Coca Cola, and lemonade are also available as well as a variety of smoothies made with fresh fruit.

As far as alcohol goes, this isn’t a pub so don’t expect a massive variety. That said it still manages to offer cider on tap (Stowford Press at £3) and beer (Staropramen for £3.40) on tap alongside bottles of Bath Gem, Corona, and Peroni.

Wine is limited but it comes from Nicolas - a good quality local company, and Hatters is the only place in Bristol to serve it. For a treat you can buy a cocktail pitcher for £10 with all sorts of zany varieties, as well as the classics such as Long Island iced tea.

The Last Word
This is a charming coffee shop and bar with an intimate feel and a charmingly quirky vibe.
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