Friska Coffee on Bristol’s Queen’s Road

Cortado at Friska

I cannot work in my room.  Not even for a minute.  Sure, I can accomplish “pretend productive” tasks, but assignments that need to be completed — like reading a book or writing an essay — disappear in the productivity black hole my room has become.  The space eats the energy.

Accordingly, my weekends are hit-or-miss for work.  When I’m feeling motivated to study in the library, Saturday and Sunday are great.  I power through reading lists and essay word counts under the unforgiving white lights, near the PQ book classification.  On the days when the library feels like a university-made prison, I sit there, stagnant.  Unfortunately, this happens more frequently than I would like.

Sunday morning is my default time to work somewhere other than the confines of my room or the library.  I take my reading —  the more pleasurable stuff to make me leave the house — and go to a café.  Normally it’s Boston Tea Party for a pot of morroccon mint tea, but last week, feeling slightly fancy and quite bored, I went to Friska on Queen’s Road.  Although, doing so may have defeated the purpose.  I created a new routine.

Friska isn’t a stand-alone store.  It’s connected to a music/book/alterna-lifestyle store, but the café occupies the majority of the ground floor.  It’s easy to miss, especially since the ample seating isn’t visible from the street.  Fortunately, the numerous tables in the back are the kind that you can sit at for as long as it takes you to read two canti of Orlando Furioso (longer than you might think).

Friska was surprisingly busy last Sunday with plenty of brunching Bristolians and students.  I ordered a cortado that was on the menu.

The cortado wasn’t perfect, but it was a delight to have.  The foam was slightly stiff, separating from the coffee after several moments.  The coffee itself isn’t quite the transcendent taste experience that you might hope for; the flavor is solidly coffee and not overly complex.  You could even say it was a bit dull.  Yet having a cortado to keep you company while working on Queen’s Road is not a dull experience.

Friska isn’t a perfect cafe.  The space is a bit disjointed, there’s not much natural light and the drinks are good but not great.  Yet the ability to have all these pieces in Bristol, and in central Bristol, is fantastic.  It’s the imperfect cafe, the nearly-hygge darkness and quietly ambitious menu that makes me excited to know I have Friska as an option to fuel my study routine.

That’s something worth being productive for.

Where do you go when you need to be productive?

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