Kid-friendly café Bear+Wolf to open on Fortess Road


Yummy mummies rejoice, you’re about to find the ultimate new hangout coming to Tufnell Park



Beavering away: Bear+Wolf currently taking shape day by day. Pic: Matthew Neel
Beavering away: Bear+Wolf currently taking shape day by day. Pic: Matthew Neel
It’s the stuff Mary Portas’ wildest high street dreams are surely made of. In the space of a few months, Tufnell Park will have gained an independent butcher, a fishmonger, seen its flagship interiors shop expand (with a brand new kids shop ready to take their old site too, we hear), and now the arcade is preparing to welcome an all-new outlet.

The intriguingly named Bear+Wolf is set to open early next month at the Tuffers end of Fortess Rd in the space that was, until recently, occupied by Books For Free. Contrary to what some of you might expect, it’s not the parade’s first hip gay cocktail bar (shame!); instead, it’s an “exceptionally kid-friendly cafe”, says owner Matthew Neel. “We’ll be selling Ozone coffee, artisan bread and baked goods from Flourish Bakery in Tottenham, our own home-made range of cakes and cookies, plus a small breakfast and lunch menu.”

Matthew is the guy who previously ran the raw food café at bendy Primrose Hill institution Triyoga. More recently he’s been at St John’s Tavern on Junction Rd while looking for a site of his own, and also running BabyFolk, a toddler music group at Highgate Chapel on Chetwynd Road.

Sticking with the new indy spirit of the area, he’ll be sourcing ingredients from neighbours MeatNW5 and Jonathan Norris, plus bringing those oh-so-healthy smoothies that wowed the yogis of NW3 to the menu too.

The new logo. Grrrrr. Arrrooo.
The new logo. Grrrrr. Arrrooo.

But key to the whole operation is having a dedicated area for kids at the back of the café, stuffed to the gills with toys, books, puzzles and games, plus buggy parking, baby changing and plenty of kid-friendly foods and drinks on offer.

“All this comes from living in the area with a 4-year-old daughter, and spending most of that time pounding the streets looking for somewhere nice to go,” says Matthew. “Basically, I’m trying to create the perfect café for parents.”

And while that may put the fear into anyone without their own little darlings in tow, the play area should theoretically keep younger customers blissfully occupied, so the adults can enjoy some peace at the front. That’s the theory anyway. We get to try it all out for real in a couple of weeks.

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Bear + Wolf opens at 173 Fortess Road in early June. Keep an eye on our Twitter feed for the latest info.

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  • Tony

    Shame, I rather fancied the idea of a hip gay cocktail bar

  • Neil

    “Grrrrr. Arrrooo.” But what does the fox say? (Sorry.)

  • DF

    Sounds very good. But please NO CUPCAKES!!!!!! We’ve had enough of that already

  • Hannah

    Bring it on. Cant wait to take my wee man 🙂

  • Anthony

    What is “artisan bread “? Is it bread the workers eat?

  • Dogbreath

    Good luck to him, but I don’t want a chorus of ‘Row, Row, Row Yer Boat’ as I sip my latte, so will have to avoid it.

  • Anthony

    But will they do Mellow Birds?

  • Talia

    I am desperate for a hip gay cocktail bar now.

  • Dawn

    It should have been a greengrocers, to accompany our butcher and fishmonger!

    • clarebolt

      What about Fam?!

    • jay

      Already has the best greengrocer in London without the pretentious farrow and Ball paint. Chem and the lads have created a hub for the community with friendly banter affordable and seasonal produce and the queue is at their till instead of Sainburys.

      Unfortunately with all this gentrification I have been priced out and am being kicked by a very expensive boot South of the river and I will miss the green shop the most.

  • Sam B

    Is this a cafe or a nursery? I’ll see when it opens but as a non-parent it seems less than appealing.

  • Angie B

    FAM’s not posh enough I suppose.

  • Harriet

    Sam B- I can tell you that, as a parent, it sounds fairly unappealing to me. I shall reserve judgement as much as I can bring myself to but the thought of a place full of yummy mummies in beautiful clothes, drinking healthy smoothies and talking about their struggles to get Stan/Ava into Eleanor Palmer fills me with dread. If it turns out to be vibrant and messy and a place where my husband/mates and I can get a tasty and filling meal/snack while the kids amuse themselves then I will be there every weekend from dawn til dusk!

  • Katy Bird

    It is like a nursery! I watched a couple let their baby crawl all over the floor right in the middle of the cafe. Is that even hygienic? Plus £5.50 for a loaf bread? I’m not a parent either – so maybe I’m not supposed to ‘get it?’

  • gingerbbm

    FAM is the best! Bear+Wolf? There was a cacophony when I popped in.