_____ Colonna & Smalls: Bustling spirit of Bath! _____

Read about a Bath cafe’s bustling community spirit! Discover the best espresso,carrot cake and atmosphere – this great cafe experience awaits you!


An epiphany experience with coffee a decade ago in Melbourne Australia transformed coffee for Maxwell…It quickly became his passion, giving up his vocation as a portrait artist and pouring all of his energies into exploring coffee…


When I knew we were going to the UK I immediately started my cafe visiting research, and the cities I wanted to visit outside London.  The research turned up Colonna and Smalls, an impressive café online, and importantly independant!


Rosie, our roving London reporter, had taken three weeks off to be our personal guide. We left London around 8am in order to arrive in Bath early enough to have both breaky and lunch there.  The elephant especially wanting to indulge a top shelf wine experience for lunch at a good restaurant.

Driving into Bath was jaw dropping from the outset, magnificent Georgian style (predominantly 18th century) pale golden buildings erected using the local Bath stone.  Once on foot, we walked up and down mostly narrow winding streets to arrive at Colonna and Smalls.  En route, the romance of the place evident in every glance, from the ashlar work, to the parks, lanes, shops in 18th century buildings, gardens and simple doorways. Visual excitement in every direction!


The incongruous entrance to Colonna and Smalls presented an air of casual sophistication courtesy of the antique timber door.

The array of tempting food options was almost too good to be true – yet although simple they added to the charm of one of our first activities outside London.  Plus the homely experience enhanced by the magic of the historic building at Xmas time.



Inside the café was bustling; a hive of activity with locals getting their fix before work.

Whenever I go to a new café I want to try everything; the reason why I never get a single dish for breaky – every time it has to be at least four different little treats, while I am considering I find out that they serve a variety of coffee at any one time.

You will see coffees making an appearance from a variety of countries if they are in season and display speciality flavour. The coffees we have on will change weekly and are sourced from the country’s leading roasteries.

It is proven we are not the coffee aficionado’s we claim to be when presented with multiple varieties of beans!  Uhmm -? Taking the chest blow admirably, but clutching at straws I say, “How about Arabica?” They look at me relieved I have one, taken the responsibility from them, and two, that I can even remember that of course most cafes have Arabica beans! I decide to be really accommodating,  “Or, the most popular one, thanks!”

Apart from looking forward to the coffee, the interior is rich with disheveled day-to-day history; a complement to the obvious laid-back vibe.

The counter is completely unique and is what drew me to the cafe in the first place. It has a gorgeous worn patina; made of hardwood with a series of parallel horizontals; I love and want it!  It could go on a boat?  Jimmy Large in Rockhampton could make it!

Through the window an old brick wall is visible, and the floor boards are both wide and ancient; I am overcome with the rich sense of history, coffee smells and am dying for the coffee and delicacies to arrive.

Coffee can have bundles of exciting flavour and character, and our shop is about brewing and offering the most desirable, and simply stunning coffees that we can find.

The only thing the comrades were a little annoyed about was the fact that there was no cooked breakfast menu.  They served pastries and cakes because self-evidently, the focus is on coffee.  It definitely suited me!


While we wait, I notice they have a little shop and lots of different seating arrangements; patrons can have a certain privacy if they are lucky enough to snag an appropriate spot.


The food and coffees are packed with flavour – one and all agree we made a good choice – the carrot cake the best any of us have ever had!   
The roving reporter

The almond croissant (always a default choice!) was abundant and perfect; second coffees were ordered all round as we worked out the plan for the rest of the day.

I was happy to walk up hill and down dale looking at the exquisite stone architecture.  This attribute gave the city a wonderful refined atmosphere; an ideal location for an uncommon cafe such as Colonna & Smalls.

Happy campers for now, but starving by 11.30am!   We managed to find an amazing gin bar, with equally amazing interiors and wine list; the elephant was the happiest we had seen for some time!  What about all the art and architecture?  “Yeah nah!”

That meant an earlier than normal lunch and delicious ‘gin’ cocktails which set us up for an afternoon of continued exclamations over, well – still more art and the architecture.


cafe culture bath

Bath, in Somerset, south-west of London, is full of history and art history.  One of my favourite artists Thomas Gainsborough, predominantly a portrait artist in the latter part of the 18th century, practiced in Bath, and of course, the Crescent here is legendary.

The Royal Crescent, one of Bath’s most iconic landmarks, was built between 1767 and 1775 and designed by John Wood the Younger.



Disclaimer: Apologies for the quality of some of the photos!  Subsequently a phone with a better camera, and a photographer who has had more lessons!

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