Chester: the promised land of Roman soldiers, horse races and medieval two tier shopping experiences. And, as it turns out, some really quirky and unique coffee shops and tea rooms.
Being someone who thinks cocktails aren’t just for the weekends (they’re for life, yo) and craft beer is a state of mind rather than a night out it took me embarrassingly long to figure out that cafes are the rockstars of daytime treats.
I kid you not. It took me well into my thirties to realise that tea rooms and coffee shops are the kind of sanctuary everyone needs from their every day routines. They enable you to scoff down a dangerous amount of cakes while washing them down with a expertly crafted cup of coffee.
I’ve also recently discovered there’s an oddly pleasurable ritual in drinking tea. Waiting for hubby to lovingly brew his tea in a miniature pot (for what I at the time considered to be an unreasonable wait before consumption) used to drive me nuts. Pouring it in the right way and measuring just the right amount of milk used to be beyond me. But I get it now. Tea cannot be rushed. Nor can the person drinking the tea.
So, now that I have mastered the most British of past times, afternoon tea (or coffee and cake related shenanigans) I feel like it’s adequately appropriate to list the places I mostly like to partake in said activity when out and about the historic city of Chester.
Without further ado, and in no particular order:
The Mad Hatter
On the historic rows of Chester this quirky little cafe is an absolute must. You can sit outside on the rows watching the world go by or park yourself inside in the long but narrow, corridor-like cafe. The interiors are a little crazy, nothing seems to match and the colour scheme is all over the place but that’s a massive part of the character of this place. The staff are super friendly and they will bring you a pot of lapsang souchong and one of their gorgeous handcrafted cupcakes for a mere fiver! The only minus about this place is that they don’t have Wi-Fi and the deep medieval houses are notorious for terrible mobile internet but to be fair, if you can’t let the outside world slip away from you here, you’re doomed and should not even try.
The Jaunty Goat
These guys boldly claim to have the “best coffee in Chester” and you know what, they’re not far off. The Goat is a modern space with some comfy sofas and high tables for those with either long legs or no aspiration of sitting close to the floor. Either way they serve a great selection of savouries and sweet treats and their coffee? It really is impressive. The Goat has a relaxed atmosphere and it’s always super busy so don’t be surprised if a stranger asks to sit in your table when the space is scarce. It’s a lively place where I personally get very little work done regardless of their complimentary Wi-Fi but that is by no means a negative; many a friend has been met and made in this place.
Tea on The Wall
The only thing more historic than the Chester Rows have to be the Chester Walls. And this little gem is nested right on the top end of the city, on the walls, above Chester’s most famous comedy club and the Cathedral Greens. If you don’t know where the cafe is you might accidentally just stroll by, but don’t be fooled by the teeny tiny entrance! This place has tons of space. I remember the first time I entered here, just before midday on a random Thursday, only to start my day off with an indulgent afternoon tea with a glass of top notch bubbly to celebrate something. I can’t remember what me and my girlfriends were celebrating on that random Thursday but I do remember the afternoon tea. The cakes in this place are amazing (my favourite is their coffee walnut cake, it’s to die for) and they have a massive selection to choose from. You can also enjoy a fine lunch here if you need something a little more staple in your belly before cake. And I’d never forgive myself if I didn’t mention the crockery: it’s super cute! Probably the cutest I’ve ever seen. Fact.
This is one of the newer finds of mine, perhaps because it’s parked right next door to the Goat. I ventured in by almost accident one day and it was love at first sight. Perhaps first with their Danish pastries smothered in custard and their delicious coffee, but it soon became a very stable relationship. I love the relaxed decor and the comfortable seats and the free Wi-Fi and yeah, pretty much everything about the place. It’s got a really nice vibe about it. They also do some pretty tasty paninis if you need a more substantial lunchtime much than pastries, pies or cakes.
The Lodge Cafe
If I told you it was possible to have a cake and a coffee for £3.50 in the central of Chester, in the gorgeous Grosvenor Park, you’d already be on your way, right? Right. The portions aren’t shy and the drinks are extremely pleasant. I have it on good authority that in this cafe they also whisk up a very hefty full fry up for the mornings when you’re feeling like nothing else is going to make you right and they offer some staple lunch time meals as well. And don’t get me started on the surroundings! On a sunny day there’s a few better places to enjoy your cuppa and cake than on the patio of this little gem.
What’s your favourite place for a cuppa in Chester? Let me know in the comments!