At The Well

24 07 2012

According to an informative guide on the tables of new cafe-launderette At The Well, 145 Cheltenham Road was Bristol’s first self service launderette when Bendix opened in the 1950s. Despite remaining a launderette for the next half century, in the last few years it had fallen into a totally derelict state.

Last summer it was even the setting for the infamous Stokes Croft riots, with the spark that kicked off the first riot being when police removed squatters from a few floors above what is now At The Well in what was then known as Telepathic Heights.

After many months of hard graft from a family team that for reasons of full disclosure I should say includes a friend of mine, At The Well sees the return of a launderette to the site, as well as a tea rooms-style cafe and a few computers for internet access.

It’s a gloriously quirky offering, and one that really works, with prices for pots of tea and Single Estate filter coffee from Costa Rica written on boards behind the bar alongside how much it will cost you to wash your smalls.

A ‘Dot Cotton’ is the pick of the washing options. For £12 you get a full service wash, less than 8kg, washed, dried and folded for collection, and a tea or coffee to take out.

Classic retro touches in the cafe area include a pile of wicker hampers and battered old suitcases in one of the alcoves that gives this building bundles of character, the bar area doubling as bookshelves, and food and drink served on china mugs and plates.

In one corner is plenty of activities for little ones to amuse themselves with, including wooden games and mini armchairs featuring smaller versions of the hessian coffee sacks made into cushions dotted around the cafe.

There are not many more glorious smells than that of freshly laundered clothes and fresh coffee. Combine the two and it makes At The Well a real treat.

At The Well, 145 Cheltenham Road, Bristol, BS6 5RR.
Twitter: @_atthewell



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