New opening Cool and quirky with fashion, food and music
With its tagline of "yesterday's clothing, today's coffee and tomorrow's music", The Birdcage sets out its stall.
Newly opened in a former bank where Clare Street becomes Corn Street, this is the first business for Georgina Haslam, who previously worked in fashion styling and events co-ordinating in London.
A landmark corner building with double height ceiling and high arched windows on two sides, it's a big space to fill.
In one corner is a clothes stall with a large range of vintage menswear and womenswear. Next to it, a low stage area is used day and night by local musicians.
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And then there's the café bit with its leather armchairs, low tables with antique china sugar bowls and silver sugar tongs. Tea is served in bone china cups and saucers. It's all very Brief Encounter.
Quirky features include vintage, well-thumbed copies of Playboy magazines on tables and three old bicycles attached to one wall.
If it were on Stokes Croft, The Birdcage wouldn't solicit a second glance but its prime Clare Street position stops you in your tracks. With the exception of Start The Bus, this is not a street known for such cool, independent spirit and it's refreshing to think that maybe the tide is turning in the area.
With that in mind, it seemed entirely appropriate that Bob Dylan's The Times They Are a-Changin' was playing when I arrived at the same time as a cluster of young dudes air kissing and telling each other how fabulous they looked.
There is no kitchen at The Birdcage so they use a variety of local businesses to supply the food and drink every day. Sandwiches, bagels and pastries come from Sourdough Café in nearby St Nicholas Market, cakes come from market stallholder Crumpet Cakes and coffee is supplied by Bath-based roasters Easy Jose.
The small savoury food choice on the day I visited included ham and cheese croissants and pesto, tomato and mozzarella bagels. There were cupcakes (including a rather enticing blueberry and lavender variety) for £2.75 and brownies for £2.50.
My pastrami, mustard mayonnaise and tomato sandwich (£4.25) was well made with a generous amount of pastrami and tomato with a piquant mayonnaise.
I followed it with a slice of rich and springy Devil's chocolate cake (£2.75), served as an enormous wedge and complemented a smooth, nutty flat white coffee (£2.35).