Good For: Coffee and cake with friends, brunch. Can facilitate larger groups and lots of stroller space.
The Good: Great coffee and cake. Lots of outside seating. A large toy box. Lots of tables and an extensive menu.
The Bad: A few steps to contend with. Lone laptop users hogging tables. Only one baby change room located in a busy part of the cafe.
Food and Drink: Whether you’re there for a quick coffee and cake, breakfast, brunch or lunch, Boston Tea Party have it covered. The portions are a good size and all meals are less than £10. The brunch menu is particularly good, and kept me full until dinner time. The cakes are scrummy and there is always a huge selection to choose from at the counter. There is a wide variety of drinks available from a simple lemonade, the usual array of coffees and teas, to the downright hipster white chocolate and avocado milkshake. There is also a dedicated kid’s menu. The whole menu is available all day and can be downloaded here.
Staff and Service: The staff are always really friendly and helpful. Despite there being a few steps to deal with in the cafe, there are plenty of staff on duty and they always offer to help you with your stroller. Service has always been quick, efficient and with a smile when I’ve visited. You have to order at the counter, which can be tricky with kids if you’re the only adult as you don’t know what tables are free, and you can’t leave the kids at the table alone as you can’t see the seating area from the counter… always go in twos or more! It’s always quite busy, especially between 12pm and 2pm, so expect to wait up to five minutes to be served sometimes.
Facilities and Ambiance: My biggest bug bear at Boston Tea Party is laptop users, with nothing but a single white chocolate avocado milkshake hogging tables that could be used by a family. There is a large communal table in the centre of the cafe, and I wish Boston Tea Party would do more to get laptop users or single diners to sit here during the lunch time rush when it can be difficult to find a table with space for pushchairs. A few signs up around the place, and staff politely asking users wouldn’t cause much offence and I’m sure most people would understand and be willing to move if it was pointed out to them.
The large communal table, that could be better used by laptop users
Boston Tea Party stock the standard wooden high chairs, which are great for older children, but not always for smaller babies who’ve just started weaning. Take a blanket or cushion to pop behind them. If you have your own booster seat or a Lobster style chair, your little one might be more comfortable in it. A cloth chair restraint would fit fine on most of the chairs, but won’t work if the only seating available is in one of the booths. There are plenty of highchairs available, even when the cafe is busy and they are kept clean by staff.
The changing facilities are good, and the table is at a good height and has a safety strap. It’s located in the disabled toilet and there is plenty of room for two of you and the buggy. However it is a large cafe and only one baby changing unit, and on my last visit I had to wait up to ten minutes to use it. It’s also located right by the front door, as is the counter, so there is little room to wait if the counter is busy, and you’ll spend the entire time explaining to people that you’re waiting for the bathroom, and not in the queue. You can get your other half or a friend to wait outside with the stroller, but when we last went it was raining quite hard so we felt quite in the way when people were trying to order.
Tip: Don’t wait until your leaving to use the baby change. It’s much easier if you don’t have a bulky stroller with you.
There is a large toy box located at the far end of the cafe with everything from rattles to transformers to keep the kids entertained. At busy times they can end up scattered around so may have to rescue something from a previously used table and give it a wipe down. There’s a small playmat for older, more independent children. It feels very welcoming for children with the pictures children have coloured in on the walls.
Tip: Sit near the toy box at the far end of the cafe. If you use the side door to enter, it brings you straight to this area and you can avoid any steps.
Boston Tea Party Gloucester Road is a great place for kids overall. It’s affordable and friendly and there’s something on the menu for everyone.
293 Gloucester Road Bristol BS78PE
Mon – Sat: 7am to 7pm
Sun: 8am to 7pm