People / My Bristol Favourites

My Bristol Favourites: Sharmaine Lovegrove

By martin booth, Saturday Jun 6, 2020

Sharmaine Lovegrove is the publisher of Dialogue Books, launched to discover new writers from the BAME, LGBTQ+, disability and working class communities.

Born in London, Sharmaine left home at a young age, and had spells sleeping rough and being homeless. She ran an English language bookshop in Berlin and was literary editor at Elle before turning to publishing.

These are Sharmaine’s top-five Bristol favourites:

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All main meals at Bravo’s include coleslaw and salad with a choice of rice and peas, hard food or chips – photo by Bravo’s

“My family are all Jamaican and I am a proper south Londoner, so having this Jamaican restaurant on North Street opposite my house has helped for me to settle in Bristol. Before lockdown my son and I would go to Bravo’s every Saturday after his German lessons in Barton Hill and without fail order curry goat for me and brown stew chicken for him. It’s a piece of home and I am so grateful for it.”

St Paul’s Adventure Playground


St Paul’s Adventure Playground is at the heart of the local community – photo: APE Project

“Childhood is all about play and every city needs a great adventure playground. It’s a leveller for children and provides respite for parents. The team at St Paul’s Adventure Playground are incredible and the work they do with local families is important. Last summer they held an amazing fundraiser hosted by Team Love and Love Saves the Day with Bristol’s musical legends at the decks and on the mic, and hundreds of people raving in the playground. The recent fire was devastating and I hope that the community gets their much loved resource rebuilt.”


Storysmith stocks a tightly curated range of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books – photo by Jon Craig

“When we first decided to move to Bristol, I was concerned about moving to a city let alone an area that didn’t have an independent bookshop. I was delighted when Max Minerva’s opened in Henleaze and ecstatic when Storysmith opened on North Street. My family and I go there most days and we always buy books. Emily, Dan and their dog Roy have became family friends, and I can’t imagine south Bristol without them.”

Gather Round

The aim of Gather Round’s co-founders was “to create co-workspace that is both beautiful and practical” – photo by Gather Round

“Having moved from London to Bristol so I didn’t have to go into an office every day, no one was more surprised than me that I jumped at the chance to be one of the first residents at Gather Round co-working space on Raleigh Road in Southville. The design is stunning, calming and perfect for work. The lively and open community with its range of interesting companies and individuals has been so important to my time in Bristol, and I have missed the place loads during lockdown.”

The Plough

Taking the knee in front of the Plough – photo: The Plough

“I feel like the person who told everyone that the best time to go to Berghain in Berlin is at noon on a Sunday. But my favourite late night shack in the city has to be this legendary Easton pub. The sound system at the Plough is impressive as are the DJs, especially on DnB nights. It’s old skool and hectic. I love everything about it and hope it stays as it is forever.”

Main photo by Christoffer Åhlén

Read more: New guidebook set to explore Bristol’s hidden corners

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