Spotlight: Barista Boho
Our writer Stephen was invited down to check out Barista Boho in North Shields. Read below his thoughts on this community bar/cafe and arts venue.
Date of Visit 4th May 2023
The thing that strikes you first on entering Barista Boho is the warm welcome you receive along with the aromas of delicious coffee. I arrived just after the busy lunch time trade so I was able to see the whole venue in all its vibrant and colourful splendour. The building has been used as many different kinds of business over the years but was originally The Alnwick Castle public house and previously owned by The Duke of Northumberland.
As soon as I began speaking to Karen, I was bowled over by her enthusiasm for the joint enterprise of owners and staff alike to make Barista Boho a thriving hub for the community of North Shields and the surrounding areas offering delicious freshly ground coffees and locally sourced seasonal food with breakfast, lunch and evening menus, tasting menus and a children’s menu which caters for all tastes including a great selection for vegan and vegetarian diets.
Karen’s enthusiasm for the bigger picture is not limited to getting customers through the door but also to having the business community and residents of North Shields at the heart of everything about the business from sourcing fresh, local ingredients for their wide variety of dishes to invited and promoting local artists, writers, and poets to use the space to express their artistic flair.
Around the colourful and brightly lit café bar there is a selection of works by local artist Jim Richardson. Karen tells me that Jim offers bespoke art commission and is particularly adept at capturing your four-legged fur babies. Which brings me onto the fact that Barista Boho is completely dog friendly. Everyone is welcome at this delightful venue that offers something for most tastes whether you be looking for a hearty breakfast in the mornings to a delicious tapas style taster menu while listening to poetry and spoken word at one of their regular special events in the evening.
Other regular and increasingly popular events include photography, writing, cocktail masterclasses, mosaic artistry events for the kids, busker nights and unplugged events. Events planned for the future include a regular quiz night, cabaret evenings and a wide variety of spiritual nights which will make Barista Boho the early evening place to be in the coming months. The excitement of what is to come is palpable from Karen and bodes well for days, afternoons and evenings of tasty food, great coffee, and craft beers to suit all tastes both now and in the future.
I spoke with head chef Paul Scott who has worked at many restaurants in the local area including The Marine in South Shields and speaks just as enthusiastically about the work being undertaken to introduce a new seasonal menu over the coming weeks. He tells me that great food starts with locally sourced, fresh ingredients and is completed with aesthetically pleasing presentation. This was backed up with a beautifully smooth tasting caffe latte accompanied by a delicious traditional club sandwich which was accompanied by freshly made chunky chips, a beautifully prepared side salad and home-made red cabbage slaw.
Karen also enthuses about promoting North Shields as the up-and-coming area after months of upheaval for the area. As previously mentioned, Barista Boho sources their ingredients from local suppliers including but not limited to Warren Butterfield, Hillheads Farm and of course the North Shields Fish Quay which is right on their doorstep. I was also impressed that the owners care about the opinions of their entire staff and consult them on the choices of craft beers, menu, etc. This gives the whole team a sense of ownership and an unparalleled understanding and knowledge of both the food and drinks menu.
Barista Boho is open from Monday to Thursday from 8am-5pm, on Fridays and Saturdays from 8am to 10pm and on Sundays from 9am until 4pm and I thoroughly recommend that you get along if not just to sample the carefully considered menus of food and drink on offer but also to see what exciting events they have planned in the coming weeks and month. I thank all the staff for their time, service and thoroughly lovely warm welcome and I wish this young business all the very best for the future business which I have no doubt will just grow and grow.
– Stephen Stokoe
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