Written on: 18/03/2005 by dtm1111 (1 review written)
Excellent coffee & cakes. The staff. Atmosphere. Location menu variety. Value.
Can get busy.
Cafe Nero directly opposite Bristol University's Wills Memorial Building has been a daily life-saver for years. It's got the best coffee, the best barristas and the best atmosphere around. It's also just a 30-second dash across the road from a 4-hour practical lab class!
Its coffee menu covers all the bases for on-site or take-out and the staff are knowledgable, professional and fast - although the queues at lunchtime and between lectures are a testament to Nero's popularity. They're also friendly, funny and get to know regulars by name (I like the blonde...). Many's the morning we've stumbled blearily through the door clutching half-written essays and found "the usual" already in a cup. The place should be renamed Hero's. They even do a loyalty scheme which gives you regular free drinks.
The coffee itself is the best in town, well blended and expertly made with plenty of choice. I recommend the excellent espressos, or an enormous cappucino, made to the proper ratio of 1/3 espresso-1/3 milk-1/3 froth. You can also get hot chocolate, fresh juice, smoothies, very good paninis and lots of different muffins and cakes, even in "skinny" versions.
The atmosphere and decor are very urban chic with lots of leather and wood. It can get smokey, but somehow it just adds to the feel of the place. You'll need to bring your boxing gloves - or running shoes - to get a comfy chair unpsairs but you can while away long languid hours people watching. The clientel tends to be a cosmopolitan mix of students, academics and real people and it's a good place for chatting, meeting, reading or finishing (avoiding?)last-minute work. One cup turns into two...