Chris Carra

My Coffee Haunts

I love coffee, even though these days I tend to drink more decaf than the actual good stuff. I even had a… tea the other day (gasp).

And, as a freelance writer, I’d rather work from cafes than go stir crazy (or stir crazier) at home.

In fact, much of my working day is spent hopping from cafe to cafe, using free Wifi, drinking coffee and sneakily eating a bar of chocolate I’ve snuck in…

In Swansea we have some brilliant cafes, but not all of them are great to work in. Some make you feel like you have to drink and go (useless for somebody who likes to linger like me). Some want you to order coffee after coffee after coffee (again, I can only handle a few). Some are packed with kids (and for working it’s pointless when you are surrounded by children).

So, I wanted to give a shout out to a handful of cafes I regularly visit – some more often than others – to do work.

1825 Coffee Shop (Marina)

This one isn’t that well known, although it certainly has its regulars (me being one of them!). Tucked away inside the Dylan Thomas Centre, this small coffee shop serves good coffee in a peaceful atmosphere. The Wifi is strong, there’s ample places for me to plug in my laptop and the staff are friendly, although I know most of them personally, so I always feel I get good service!

The food is also great, so a quick and healthy lunch there is usually on the cards at least once a week. Well worth a visit, especially as you can pair it with a wander around the Dylan Thomas Museum, which is housed in the same building.

Brewstone (Uplands)

Aside from 1825, Brewstone is probably where I’ve spent the most time cafe-wise. It’s very trendy (way too trendy for the likes of me), comfortable (although it does get uncomfortably warm at times – probably thanks to the huge pizza oven in the middle), you can linger as long as you like, the coffee is good, and the staff are friendly.

Many of them know what I want before I ask, which is handy! It’s also a nice place to have a beer in the afternoon, if coffee gets too boring.

Brynmill Coffee House (Brynmill)

This little coffee house sits between the two parks and proves a great place to have a few coffees and do a little work. The staff in particular are very friendly and the homemade cakes are a nice treat. While the atmosphere can be very peaceful at times, it’s a popular place for students and families with children, so it can get quite noisy.

This is why I visit it slightly less than the first two on this list, while parking also poses a bit of a problem, especially when the students are around.

Arthur Neave (Uplands)

This has been a new find for me and another great one to add to the roster. In fact, as I write this blog post, I am sat in the back room with a peppermint tea (don’t worry – coffee is on the way next). Like Brewstone, Arthur Neave is very trendy and do great coffee. The staff are also very pleasant.

In my opinion, the food is a bit more accessible than Brewstone, so it’s a good place for lunch, although not the cheapest. It’s a good evening venue too, as they serve authentic tapas and a good wine list. You could literally spend all day here.

Hoogah (Brynymor)

Hoogah isn’t a place I spent a lot of time, but it is on the Official Chris Carra Cafe Route. It’s a relatively new place (2017), with a Danish-inspired vibe. The coffee is great, the staff are nice, and the atmosphere is pretty calming too.

I visit less often due to the parking problem and the fact that I’ve had a few Wifi problems the last few times I’ve been there. Still, it’s definitely one I return to.

Bluebell (Tycoch)

This isn’t a cafe that I visit as regularly as the others, but it makes this list because I always find parking, the coffee is good, the service is great and they do my favourite lunch – a jacket potato!

Like Brynmill Coffee House, this one seems popular with mums and babies, which isn’t a favourite working atmosphere of mine. I don’t always feel I can linger as much here. Still, well worth a visit!


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