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“The hangout of choice for the arty party and style set”, proclaims the website of brand new venue The Birdcage– “a thriving creative scene and social hub in the heart of the city”. It’s great to see 28 Clare Street once again occupied, and by something a little different to the chain venues that make up most of its surroundings.
On their opening afternoon of Saturday, September 8, a band had taken to the small stage area while customers relaxed with a coffee on the old Chesterfield sofas, or browsed the range of vintage items available for purchase, each of which is hand selected by the Birdcage team.
Promising “yesterday’s clothing, today’s coffee and tomorrow’s music”, it’s the sort of quirky venue that you’d expect to be more at home elsewhere in the city, but which already seems to be popular.
The Chesterfields sit alongside vintage china, a wall decorated with bicycles, and various other odds and ends which lend a homely, personal air to the venue.
At one end of the room is a large pull down projector screen, with plans to organise both evening screenings and afternoon films for parents and their small children.
A range of 18 loose leaf teas comes from Jeeves & Jericho – and it’s the Turkish Chunky Apple, which includes rosebuds (I’m addicted to rose…) that I’ll be trying on my next visit. Coffee is supplied by Bath’s Easy Jose Coffee – winners of the South West Barista Of The Year award – and is all traceable back to the farms in which it was cultivated. The Birdcage use 100% Arabica beans, and for those who – like me – stick to decaf, you’ll be pleased to know that the Swiss Water Process is used on their decaf coffee, meaning that it’s 100% chemical free.
Fentimans and Bottle Green soft drinks are also available, with those wanting something a little stronger also being able to take advantage of the offer of a selection of beers and wines.
While The Birdcage do not have their own kitchen, they offer a range of sandwiches and cakes to their clientele, made offsite and using local suppliers. Sandwiches, bagels and filled croissants are all courtesy of the Sourdough Cafe, while cakes and bakes are provided by the fantastic Crumpet Cakes. The range will change every few weeks, and the team are open to feedback: tell them what you’d like to see on offer, and you may see it behind the counter! I enjoyed a huge sandwich of goats’ cheese, beetroot and spinach: perfectly fresh and a great Friday lunchtime treat.
It’s a fantastic venue with something for everyone, and I’ll definitely be heading back for more than just a takeaway sandwich when I have more time. What I’m possibly most excited about is that it’s the perfect place to meet for an evening tea or coffee – a great place to spend time catching up with friends when you don’t fancy a pub or restaurant trip. Definitely recommended.