There’s nothing better than seeing an old building find a new purpose.
And while some old banks become pubs, schools become hotels and churches become apartments – a public toilet in Bristol has been transformed into a cafe, and is attracting some hype not just for its unusual origin.
Cloakroom Café is an example of when historic architecture meets modern design.
While it still has the feel of a Victorian restroom, Cloakroom Café is a popular spot to stop for a drink in the heart of the city.
2Chill writer, Nia Dalton, visited the café and likened it to ‘a blend of Hogwarts lavatory and Central Perk’.
The restroom was originally built in 1904 and in 2017, Alfred Fitzgerald “fell in love with the building” and bought the premises for £215,000 at auction.
Mr Fitzgerald, 38, of Bath, told Bristol Live : “I didn’t want to open a café in Bristol – I just fell in love with the building.”
Inside the unique venue, the white tiled walls and monochrome flooring remain, as do the Victorian high-tanks and wooden ceiling.
But it’s the interiors that give it its modern twist with hanging plants, low lights and glass countertops.
Cloakroom Café describes itself as “independently run and charmingly characteristic”.
Its website reads: “Older generation Bristolians might well recall the Cloakroom Café’s more humble origins – as purpose built public convenience.
“Built in 1904 the restroom existed at a time when the surrounding Park Row area was an elegant, thriving Victorian destination.
“The building is now considered a rarity as most public conveniences of this era in Britain have been recently demolished, being deemed as commercially unviable spaces for the modern age.
“Cloakroom Café as it exists today is a testament to considerate renovation & modern commercial ingenuity.
“This once restroom has not only been restored, keeping many of the defining features of its era, but also transported into the modern age – turning a part of Bristol’s past into its present & giving life back to this historical corner of the city.”
Barista Antal Biro at Cloakroom Café said: “We are a really unique coffee house. Bristolians love our locally roasted Bristol based Triple Co. coffee beans, and our freshly made juices.
“Like many businesses, we were quiet throughout lockdown, but we’ve been consistently busy since reopening.”
Cloakroom Café pride themselves on serving organic milk, locally baked bread and handmade sandwiches.
The coffee house is located at Woodland Road, Bristol, BS8 1US.