Get a taste of the food and drink on offer at Design West’s The Architect Café Bar through General Manager Leon Etchells' #FoodFriday picks, from fresh sourdough bread to uber-local pints.

Leon Etchells, General Manager of Design West

The Architect Café Bar

Design West (formerly The Architecture Centre) ran a successful Crowdfunder in 2021 which helped us to restore our building and launch our art deco-inspired café bar, The Architect. Our venue feels so connected to the heart of Bristol Harbourside, a place for people to meet friends and plan projects, over a great glass of wine with cheese – what more could you want?

People sat outside drinking at The Architect Cafe Bar

Image - The Architect, credit Chris Cooper

Bristol Cheesemonger

Managing The Architect Café Bar means I’ve been fortunate enough to showcase some of my favourite local suppliers. Our cheese boards are a celebration of everything Bristol Cheesemonger gets right. This little delicatessen situated at CARGO Wapping Wharf supplies seasonal and local cheeses mainly from across the South West. The staff are always so welcoming and encourage you to sample to your heart’s content.

Our cheese boards at The Architect rotate but often include Truffler, Devon Blue, Kelston Park Brie and Cornish Gouda – and we love recommending a glass of wine to match.


A stone’s throw from us is Mokoko, a beautiful café and bakery that we visit every day to source fresh sourdough loaves to make our bar sandwiches. We were all amazed how simple sourdough can taste so good. Mokoko also have an amazing array of pastries and filled croissants. It’s a pleasure working with a local business who put good food at the heart of everything they do.

Left Handed Giant

I love their ethos, their brewery, their staff and most notably their beer. If you’re ever in Castle Park, cross the twisting bridge into Finzels Reach and you’ll come across one of Bristol’s most exciting developments in recent years. Left Handed Giant’s main brewery is in St Phillips but they also brew a lot of beer in the new venue. Some of the beers literally travel about 10m to get to you, now that’s local! I’m thrilled we now have their beer on tap at The Architect.

Harbourside Market

Previously I managed the Harbourside Market, and still love visiting for local street food cooked fresh on-site every Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Find some of Bristol’s most innovative chefs, some of whom left Michelin-starred restaurants to become their own boss and share their dishes with a wider public. The choices are as diverse as Nepalese, Malaysian, Spanish bocadillos, Sri Lankan, American BBQ and chicken wings from Gurt Wings.

About the author

Leon is General Manager at Design West, a centre for architecture, placemaking and design on Bristol Harbourside (by Arnolfini). He also manages their art deco-inspired café bar The Architect. When he’s not running this busy venue, Leon is often immersed in Bristol’s vibrant music and arts scene and runs his own Jazz Nights.

Read more #FoodFriday picks:


Design West
Design West

Design West is a lively new venue for design and placemaking on Bristol harbourside, home to talks, events, education programmes and the co-ordinating hub for Bristol Open Doors.

The Architect Café Bar
The Architect Café Bar

The Architect is an art deco café bar bringing a taste of Europe to Bristol’s historic harbour.