We’re told this list isn’t possible. This list doesn’t exist. Our mum friends say it’s moon-on-a-stick territory. Because there’s no such place as a decent coffee house with a tolerant attitude towards kids. Even if the place is welcoming, the other coffee drinkers will most likely hate you being there with kids. We can’t make any guarantees on that, but why not try these recommendations and make up your own mind?
The thing is, if you like to drink good coffee and don’t have small children in tow, go wherever you want. Seriously, stop reading this and go to lots of lovely cafes, try them out at your leisure and go back to your favourite regularly. Especially the tiny ones with awkward seating. Sit and read. Have another coffee. Have another.
If, however, you like proper coffee and you have one or more small children, there are new factors to take into consideration. Buggy space and access, baby change facilities, the general attitude towards small people… look, we might not be able to tick all the boxes, but please don’t feel like the M&S cafe and soft-play hell are your only options.
Here are six of the best cafes in or near Brighton and Hove to go to if you want proper coffee…
The Flour Pot
(First Avenue, Hove or the new Portland Road branch, Hove!)
The Flour Pot is all over Brighton and Hove and mostly they are tiny spaces for people to enjoy a delicate chat over a flat white. The First Avenue branch was the biggest, with a couple of highchairs and a nice disabled-friendly toilet with baby change, but it’s now been matched by another biggie on Portland Road. The staff are welcoming to kids and they have a few toys and colouring books too. First Avenue is conveniently opposite the Book Nook which has a pirate ship play area and an array of fabulous children’s books; Portland Road is close to Stoneham Park.
(Clarendon Villas, Hove)
The Villas is basically a church hall that serves coffee and sometimes has a bouncy castle. The coffee isn’t always supreme, but it is better than your average ‘play space’. They are open Monday-Friday and make the cut as it’s a great option for groups of people with kids to meet or anyone who needs a halfway house between a lovely coffee house and the dreaded soft-play arena.
A little drive out of town and you’ll find yourself somewhere with very delicious coffee indeed (from Lindfield Coffee Works), scrummy food and an array of independent wares for sale to boot. This family-run cafe (pictured above) is situated in a converted polytunnel, next to a garden centre and has a play space (soft-play bits, books, toys, bean bags etc). It’s a perfect set-up for coffee and kids.
The small branch on Sydney Street was a premium coffee house that was never a practical option for us and our double buggy, but they have since arrived at The Level! Yes! Still small, but perfectly formed, the outside seating arrived just in time for summer and the draw of the park’s water feature. No toilets/baby change that we could spy, but thankfully The Level takes care of that over on the other side of the park.
(London Road, Brighton)
A little tricky to navigate with a buggy inside if it’s busy, but they have ramp access and overall it’s a big space with a disabled-access toilet. Most importantly, they make great coffee. Lots of weird and wonderful things for the kids to look at too.
Bond Street Coffee
(Bond Street, Brighton)
A hipster hangout in the North Laine? With steps to navigate and a baby change downstairs? How on earth did they make the cut? Well, the quality of the coffee and the friendliness of the staff made us feel they deserved to be in here. We recently tackled this on a weekend with a double-buggy and found everyone was keen to help and the kids enjoyed a delicious brownie. We swear, the hipsters more than tolerated them. If this has taught us anything, it’s to be braver with our coffee house choices with the kids in tow!
Words by Victoria Baynton-Williams
Photo by April Dautlich