Grab your laptop and take advantage of free wifi (and cake)
I find I'm most creative when I'm away from home - away from the distraction of washing up, cooking food, and other domestic duties. Thus I regularly take my laptop with me on my travels, or I will leave the house on the weekend (or during the week when I've got a day off), and find the nearest cafe and let the creative juices flow.
I like to work in social spaces, warm and toasty places, but finding a decent cafe can be hard when prices for a decent mug of joe can be silly these days. I have, however found a lovely place on Harborne High Street.
I know Harborne isn't the cheapest of residencies, and it's more middle class than a glass of Pimms, but the woody Arco Lounge with its open bay windows and vintage music beckoned. So in I went.
With shiny (but scuffed) oak wooden floors, chalkboard menu's on the walls and an unmistakeable scent of freshly baked croissants amid the sound of a gurgling baby, and hum of chatter I knew I could spend my afternoon there.
I wasn't hungry, but Arco Lounge has an extensive brunch menu that's served all day - perfect for a hangover, or if you love a brunch menu.
They also serve paninis, soups, main dishes, and an array of cakes like the gluten-free dark chocolate and stem ginger tart and carrot and walnut cake, topped with a cream cheese and pumpkin seed icing (non-GF).
Arco Lounge also won points for me in the beverage department. I love a good cuppa when I'm catching up with my friends and it's a bonus if it comes in a pretty mug.
They serve teabag as well as loose leaf tea and it's served in a weighty crockery teapot with a spouted edge - how quaint. I poured two full cups and three quarters of a cup for £2.95. Not bad.
Tea for one
More often than not the members of staff in an establishment either 'make' or 'break' the said venue. Thankfully in Arco Lounge the staff serve you and leave you to it. They won't hassle you, or stretch their smiles to gain a tip even though there is a 'tips' box on the bar, just in case.
Like most cafes over the weekend, it does get busy, even more so when the sun is out and they open the large windows, so you can tan as you talk. That said, it fills up just as quickly in the daytime as it does at night.
They have a theme most evenings, but Thursday is the busiest because it's quiz night. The winners take home a cash prize, so if you know a few general knowledge buffs, or are fiercely competitive you know where to go on a Thursday night. Or maybe you just want a laugh with your mates? Either way I find Arco Lounge a fun (ahem polka-dot teapot), yet relaxed cafe, that serves simple and satisfying food at prices that won't break the bank.