Small Street Espresso is first retailer to join Wapping Wharf, Bristol

The site at Wapping Wharf where works to Gaol Ferry Steps are progressing well

Small Street Espresso has become the first retailer to join Wapping Wharf, Bristol’s newest harbourside quarter, paving the way for the creation of a new community in the heart of the city’s cultural and leisure hub.

Described by Time Out as having been at the forefront of the coffee revolution in Bristol when it opened in 2012, Small Street Espresso has become a popular spot for both those with a penchant for cosy cafe culture as well as the city’s coffee aficionados. Now, it has signed a deal to open up a second site at Wapping Wharf, which is coming to life as phase one nears completion and residents move into their new homes.

John Drysdale, who set up Small Street Espresso with his business partner Chris Chubb, said they are looking to create “something a bit different, with its own feel” at Wapping Wharf, while retaining some key elements of Small Street Espresso’s appeal such as its high end, artisan coffee offer, warm customer service and focus on provenance.

Small Street Espresso’s offering will be extended at the Wapping Wharf site to include a shop for customers to buy coffees for home use with expert advice available on selection and brewing techniques. John and Chris are currently working on further plans to give the cafe its own unique identity, to be revealed in due course!

Set to become a new, vibrant and community-focused neighbourhood for the city, Wapping Wharf will deliver over 600 apartments in total, with the first phase featuring 168 homes. It is anticipated that the apartments will be complemented with independent restaurants, cafes and shops. The site is the final piece in the jigsaw that will complete the regeneration of the iconic floating harbour.

John said: “We’re very excited to have the opportunity to be part of this new Bristol neighbourhood with a strong community focus and independent feel. We’re looking forward to bringing our unique coffee experience to the harbourside and meeting lots of new customers from the Wapping Wharf neighbourhood and beyond for their morning coffee hit as they walk to work.

“Our venture at Wapping Wharf will have a different style to Small Street Espresso but with the same atmosphere and high quality of specialist coffee.  Our aim is for our new cafe to be welcoming to anyone and everyone with the option to really embrace our rich coffee offering for those who want to.”

The new site, which will have a different name to Small Street Espresso that is yet to be announced, is double the size of the existing cafe, which seats 10, with space for around 25 people to relax and enjoy espresso and filter blends all roasted by local roasters Clifton Coffee. Small Street Espresso will continue to work with Bristol favourite Harts bakery at the new site, bringing their tasty breads and pastries to the harbour area.

John and Chris, who both grew up in Bristol, have a wealth of experience working for coffee houses in Bristol, London and Melbourne. Their new venture at Wapping Wharf will create 3-4 full-time jobs and 2-3 part-time roles.

Stuart Hatton, director at Umberslade, one of the developers behind Wapping Wharf, said: “It is fantastic news that Small Street Espresso is going to open a new cafe at Wapping Wharf. As the first retailer to join this new neighbourhood for Bristol, they are a great indication of the type of business we are looking to attract, fitting in perfectly with our community ethos.

“We are also currently in discussions with a number of other retailers and expect to be able to make further exciting announcements soon. It is great to see this new quarter gradually coming to life as residents move into their new homes and we look forward to seeing this part of the city transform into a vibrant new neighbourhood where people can shop, eat and relax in a beautiful dockside environment.”

As part of the Wapping Wharf development, an important new connection between the south of Bristol and the city centre is being created. Gaol Ferry Steps, which will be tree-lined, will run through from Gaol Ferry Bridge to the new public square. Landscape works to the route are progressing well, with it due to open in the coming weeks.

Small Street Espresso’s coffees are sourced from the best farms around the world using top Bristol coffee roasters as well as those from the rest of the UK.  The existing cafe also serves a range of locally made cakes as well as Harts Bakery sourdough sandwiches and pastries.