What?: Paradise. Nirvana. The Promised Land. Ok so it’s a coffee shop in Tufnell Park, but hear me out. Obviously I love under-fives drop-ins as much as the next person. I love turning up to a cold church hall at 9.30 in the morning because that’s when stay-and-plays all inexplicably start. I relish drinking stewed Typhoo out of a plastic cup and trying to interest my little one in singing ‘here we go round the mulberry bush’ while she looks at me like I’m insane and inevitably wanders off. I love all that, but to be honest all she really wants at this stage is floor space to crawl in and I’d actually quite like a decent cup of coffee. Bear & Wolf is my idea of heaven because it’s exactly the sort of cafe I would have loved before I had a baby. The coffee is luscious, the food is even better and the decor is right up my street. Most importantly though, it has a freaking playroom – a really nice one with lots of lovely toys and wall decals and stuff. It’s called the Cubroom, which is too adorable.
Where?: Tufnell Park, which is a pain in the arse because I don’t live there. Do you? If so, you win. This place is, sadly, a one-off but easily accessible by tube (right by Tufnell Park Underground) and Overground (13-minute walk from Gospel Oak).
Discovery: I have a friend who lives just around the corner from this place and we kept meaning to take our babies but then we’d get put off by how rammed it looked when we popped our heads round the door. It can get really busy, particularly at lunchtime and weekends, but if you’re planning on going straight to the Cubroom rather than grabbing a table you’ll almost definitely find somewhere to park yourself while you watch your kids shove things in each others’ ears. We live a 40-minute walk away but still find ourselves schlepping here most weeks.
Best Bits: There are lots of great things about Bear & Wolf but the best thing is simply being able to walk through the door and not have the staff look at you with an expression that says “why have you brought a baby here, you unimaginable prick?”. Instead you’re actively welcomed by the warm and friendly staff; there is a large designated buggy park; there are nice, clean changing facilities; and your food and drinks are brought to you, even if you’re sitting on the floor surrounded by Stickle Bricks.
Worst Bits: There’s only one Bear & Wolf and that, my friends, is a travesty.
What’s on the Menu?: Loads of delicious bready things – brunchy stuff on toast, sandwiches – that are all perfect for sharing with tiny people. Encyclopaedic drinks menu. Stupidly good smoothies.
Would We Come Back?: Yes, we’d move in here if we could.
Bab plays in the Bear & Wolf Cubroom