North Street, widely known for its’ creativity and love for an independent, is home to Farahway, a cafe with a crafting twist. We meet owner Farah and her partner, Simon a Financial Planner to hear more about their time in BS3 and the life they’ve created.
“I’m originally from Exeter, and after going to uni in Southampton, I knew it wasn’t where I wanted to be, it just didn’t feel like home”, explains Simon. “I ended up moving to South Bristol with some friends about 15 years ago, and completely fell for the city. We were based around Ashton Gate and the relaxed atmosphere around the area was exactly what I was looking for”.
“I met Si back in 2010 and after moving to Bristol for uni, I loved the sense of community I had experienced here and so we decided to stay and set up our life here”, explains Farah.
“The lifestyle we have being south of the city was really what we always wanted. The bars and restaurants mean that you have so many choices when heading out of an evening, and it’s where most of our friends are, as well as being easier for us to nip south for a quick getaway” she adds.
With Bedminster and the surrounding suburbs acting as a base for the couple over the years, Farah knew that BS3 was the perfect spot not only for their home, but also for pursuing her dream of opening her own cafe.
“Si was living by Ashton Gate when we first met and so we’ve seen the area develop over the years. North Street always had this buzz about it, it’s such a creative hub and so I just knew it would be the perfect spot for what I wanted to create and that the community would love it too! There are a few places on North Street that offer creative workshops, it’s a place where people are encouraged to really express themselves and choose how they want to shop with amazing independent stores and Upfest for example”, adds Farah.
With a love for crafts, design and family ties to the retail industry, Farah set about finding a way to combine her passions.
“Growing up, my mum had an arts and crafts shop that I would spend all of my time in, and I’ve always absolutely loved doing arts and crafts, especially crochet. It was a real dream of mine to one day have my own space, but thought it would be great to create a craft cafe where you can have some coffee and cake whilst creating something to take away with you, and so Farahway was born”, says Farah.
With the perfect North Street location found for her business and a home on Algiers Street that needed some attention, the couple set about sprucing up the spaces.
“It was a complete gut job when we acquired the cafe, it really needed some love. Having been used as an Indian restaurant before, we completely redesigned the space for what we needed, and luckily one of my best friends is an interior designer, Chlöe Chittenden, so she was on hand to help us get the place looking amazing. We also had the help of a ridiculously skilled carpenter, builder and friend Joe Vincent, who turned the plans into reality. We have a lovely little garden out the back and we now serve cocktails too, so it’s really lovely to have options to offer people”, says Farah. “Yeah, it was a really tough job taste-testing cocktails in our sunny back garden, but someone had to do it, all for the business, obviously”, jokes Simon.
“We’ve refurbished the house with the same love we put into the cafe to really make it our own by decorating, adding in a new bathroom and kitchen, along with the horrible stuff like dampproofing walls and adding a new roof, as well as peeling back seven layers of wallpaper from the hallway”, adds Simon.
With future plans to head out of the city towards the Mendips, the couple plan to use their time wisely to find exactly what they are looking for.
“It’s ideal really as there is a little flat above the cafe that we are moving into after we sell our home on Algiers Street, which just means we can really take our time finding the right property for us and not rush into anything”, explains Simon. “We will miss our time being so central, but where we are looking means that we can be back in BS3 in about 20 minutes, and with both of us heading back into town every now and then and plans to keep developing the menu and offering at the cafe, we can have the best of both worlds!”