I’ve briefly mentioned my affinity for the Watershed in Bristol before, but I haven’t quite gone into the reasons for my affection. I’ll admit, it’s quite a curious affection. They don’t serve particularly good coffee, the tea is from a Twinings bag and the food, while it looks good, is just a bit to pricy for me. But I keep going back, ordering some herbal tea and working for a few hours.
The Watershed is an independent cinema located on Bristols’ harbouside. Now, I come from New York. There’s a certain level of liberal/alternative/hipster-ness I’m used to. A certain level that makes me feel at home. While I am assured by many people that Bristol is an extraordinarily progressive city, I have yet to see real evidence of this.
The cafe at the Watershed, however, is the closest I’ve gotten in ambiance to anything New York could create. Some may consider this a sad example of globalization, but I regard it as a lovely thing. You know why? Because the Watershed takes what is nice about all those diverse, progressive cinemas in New York and improves upon it.
If you could imagine the love child between BAM and a smaller cinema thrown in with a heaping dash of museum cafe, you arrive at something similar to the Watershed. While they are mostly an independent cinema, screening foreign and indie films, the real gem as far as I am concerned, are their large rooms, plentiful tables and huge windows that mark their food service area.
There’s isn’t exactly a shortage of nice cafes in Bristol, but the Watershed feels like something you’d find in a larger city. The space is big (okay, not so much a big city thing) with large windows that look out onto the water. You can order anything from a coffee, to herbal tea to wine. If you’re hungry there’s a great variety of proper meals to have, or if you are craving something sweet some lovely cakes.
So, I keep going back to the Watershed, getting some tea, a biscuit and sitting. It may not be home, but it brings the feeling just a bit closer.
Do you enjoy cafes/restaurants for their ambiance? What’s your favorite space to work?