Stoke is changing. The local Wetherspoon’s is still in full swing, and the slightly tired pubs (not without their charm), are still around- HOWEVER, the past couple of years the city is experiencing a taste transformation.
Bars, and eateries that feel more Shoreditch, than Stoke have began springing up. Perfect pizzas, mouth-watering cakes, and so many different beers that the 2021 ‘City of Culture‘ contender, could be just as well suited to the title of ‘City of Craft…ale’.
After the incredibly difficult task of sampling the finest establishments (this winter weight is going nowhere). Here’s 5 of my favourites;
Cupcake hustlers, and brunch champions (tsp.), provide an imaginative menu, delicious array of home-made cakes and perfect place to sit and people watch. I’m a firm believer in there being no such as thing as too much cake, and the guys obviously agree as their enthusiasm for all things sweet, extends beyond the Piccadilly premises. Weddings, birthdays, general binges- Gavin & Heather have got you covered with their huge selection of pre order cakes (if you aren’t hungry already, then you will be after taking a peek at their Instagram).
The latest news from this modern coffee metropolis, is the afternoon hightsp. available for £15 pp, or £26 for 2. Be sure to book, so the guys can stack your cake stand high with sweet treats, and pick you the best seat in the house.
What I ordered:
“The Elvis”. A fresh bagel, smothered in peanut butter, bacon and syrup, and a frothy cappuccino. Brunching, like a king.
Achingly cool pizzeria, Klay offers everything from a “Straight up Marg”, to “The Benedicto” (eggs benedict- in pizza form!). Nothing on the menu take your fancy? No worries, Klay have got you, with an endless list of topping options, to satisfy even the finickiest eater. Thats not even including the delicious fortnightly specials (previous guest stars include “the buffalo blue”, a blue cheese, and butter milk chicken, smothered creation), all stone baked, right in front of you.
4444 is the number of a feast, on Thursdays. Think 4 sides, 4 drinks, and 4 pizzas for 4 people- for £40! Ready to ditch the dominoes? Join the klub- quite literally with a £25 Slice Klub membership, complete with a t-shirt, stickers, 20% discount on all future purchases, a heads up on offers, and much more!
What I ordered:
A carb- coma inducing “mac daddy” (pasta + pizza=awesome), and a hip, hoppy Beavertown Neck Oil.
61-63 Stafford Street
Hanleys brand new sweet-ery, is only in it’s 3rd month in the city and business is booming. The contemporary style bar, is comfortable and well lit, and Adam, Sham and co. ensure customer service is key! Sweet treats for supper are no problem, with doors staying open until 2300hrs.
What’s your flavour? You can bet Sweet, have got you covered with ever changing gelato flavours, featuring exciting new flavours such as peanut butter crunch, mixed in with old favourites like vanilla and Strawberry. Fancy something a touch warmer? Pastries, flavoured lattes, and freshly made crepes to your liking are some of the many sweet eats, on offer. Sweet make all the cakes they sell from scratch, and their infamous Alto-shakes are a sugar addicts dream come true, over flowing with cream, and toppings of your choice.
What I ordered: A passionfruit mojito mocktail (all the favour, non of the hangover), and a crepe overflowing with Nutella and Ferrero Rocher.
54 Marsh Street
Grab yourself a crafty ale, at this pop-up beer shop, and bar. Selling over 200 continental lagers, ciders, Belgian beers and real ales, the choice can be overwhelming, so ask the alco-enthusiasts behind the bar who’ll be more than happy to point you in the right direction!
The cosy venue, and bench like seats make you feel more like you’re having a night out with a dozen friends you haven’t met yet, and you can go in with the full assurance that Justin Bieber will not be sneaking on to the speakers. There’s always a range of draft beers available and keep an eye out for their monthly tasting nights, from local breweries, to Coronation Street theme evenings, for only £20 a ticket you get to sample 8-10 beers, half time snacks, and you can take your favourite home.
What I ordered: A Hospital Porter to take away, for my favourite Hospital Porter boyfriend, and a Daily Pale for myself*.
* I have zero affiliations with the daily mail.
Another newbie to the city, the Quarter is a impeccably decorated boutique, café with something for everyone. A day time cake and coffee retreat, regular music events, all day (and night) deli, and a drinks menu to satisfy even the pickiest prosecco-lover.
Nothing is too much for the friendly, and enthusiastic staff, and their passion for what they do is apparent. A quick shopping pit-stop could easily turn into a gin fuelled few hours, and it’s the ideal place for some pre-theatre drinks or snacks. Or for an alternative party venue, if you desire something a bit more sophisticated than a night falling out of Walkabout at 3am. The Quarter will aim to cater to all your party needs, name a theme, and they’ll do their best to make it happen.
What I ordered:
A “Rosecco”. A glass or prosecco, with rose syrup, and garnished with a petal.
So boycott your Big Mac, and sack off the Stella and treat your taste buds to something a bit different. Stoke is styling itself up, and this hopefully, is only the beginning. Missing anywhere out? Let me know in the comments!