Chain coffee houses have become ten a penny, every other shop on the high street seems to be pushing caffeine like it’s going out of fashion and for me, it’s these places that have really gone out of style. Souless, corporate monsters churning out sub standard coffees from people who couldn’t care less about you as long as their pay cheque arrives each month. I am always unimpressed by the cleanliness too and always avoid the toilets.
So it’s time to turn to the little guy, the local guy, the unique guy. I am very fortunate to have found what I think is one of the most charming and one of the best coffee shops around. Not only is the coffee well bodied and full of flavour but it’s made expertly and with coffee art to boot. It’s called The Dancing Goat and it’s nestled in the heart of Ashley Cross in Parkstone Dorset. It’s what I can only describe as a boutique espresso bar, it’s only just big enough to swing a cat but that means you will always end up chatting to a complete stranger or to someone you know about what’s happening locally or the latest current affairs, all while sitting on a lovely antique church pew. The staff make a point of getting to know you and always have something to chat about – no need for writing your name on a cup with a sharpie marker!
Along side the coffee there’s always an abundance of homemade treats. Savoury muffins, gut bustingly good brownies and the best banana bread you ever tasted and more. The owner Colin Cross takes pride in doing what others aren’t and is always coming up with new and exciting ideas to keep things fresh. That may be a Saturday morning pop up BBQ for sizzling bacon baps, a Paella stand or a ‘Secret Supper Club’ for exclusive dining with candel light and the curtains drawn like you’re in some kind of speakeasy (but of course all above board!).
So if you’re after somewhere different and origional to get your caffeine fix and want to be somewhere where you feel a part of the community and people know you – don’t worry I will stop short of bursting into the theme tune from Cheers – then head to The Dancing Goat.
The Old goat himself – Colin Cross