The Boat Café, a floating café in a converted canal narrow boat celebrates its first birthday at Easter. It is permanently moored on the K&A canal at Meadows Bridge halfway between Avoncliff and Bradford.
Manager Matt Windsor says “When we opened in 2014 we had no idea whether we would (literally) sink or swim but everything has turned out very well. Things really took off during the summer and we stayed open right through the winter and people seemed to appreciate our hot stove on cold, wet days. We even opened on Christmas Day and Boxing Day and were packed out. Tuesday mornings have become a popular meeting place for mums and babies.”
The Boat Cafe is family run; Matt runs the cafe day to day, his mum, Jan, bakes all their cakes and dad Alfie keeps the boat shipshape and Bristol fashion. Matt’s brother Will runs a local coal boat.
Open seven days a week from 9 till 5 – later in the summer, in a fantastic position with lots of passing walkers, cyclists and boaters. Friendly dogs are welcome. The boat can also be hired for private functions.
The café reached its birthday despite the efforts of CRT to carry out enforcement action against it for not being sighted in enough “neighbourhoods” to comply with the K&A Interim 12-month Local Plan. The café has a permanent mooring, a business licence and planning permission. As a boat licensed under section 17 3 c i of the British Waterways Act 1995, it is entitled to stay on its mooring for the whole year and is not required to move at all, and consequently is not subject to any of the movement requirements of the Local Plan.