Now l am a well-known regular at Rosario’s coffee house in Northumberland Passage but l wouldn’t be doing my job as a local ‘flaneur’ if l didn’t follow up what’s new on the streets of this World Heritage city.
Up to Margaret’s Buildings l go – a pretty pedestrian street – full of independent shops – between the Royal Crescent and the Circus.
I was heading there to experience the delightful internal decor of the Berdoulat shop which, as their website states, sells:
‘a wide variety of products, from herbs and spices, to dried and fresh flowers, wines, beers and ciders, through to dining and kitchenware, cookery books and furniture. The vast majority of what we sell is designed by us, and made within an hour’s drive from Bath by small scale makers. Even the flowers are grown in Somerset by our in-store florist Nice Bunch.’
However if, like me, you just want to sit and admire your surroundings then you’ll be pleased to know that the coffee is good and the pastries – fresh from Frome every morning – are to die for.
The shop is spread over three floors with the decor – at ground level – still showing the physical evidence of the building’s former use over many years as a wine merchant and high-class grocer.
Look out for the mahogany counters and cabinetry where products described in gold leaf are still on sale today.
I seriously recommend going down to the basement. You’ll need to anyway if you are looking for the loo.
Here the original 18th century servants quarters to this Georgian-built house have been sympathetically restored so you can still see the old wine bins, stove and copper for laundry washing.
Mixed in amongst this are examples of Berdoulat’s kitchen and dining furniture, ceramics, paint and hardware.
This place is rich in retail history. A fantastic building at dates back to 1777 – and has come a long way since its first occupant – a coach master called Mr Bond – moved here in 1780.
The future of our ‘High Street’ depends on giving people more of a shopping ‘experience’ – and this place certainly does that.
You can find out more about the place via www.berdoulat.co.uk