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19 Blair Street, Edinburgh, Scotland EH1 1QR
“Diner by Day, Drinks by Night The City Cafe is an american-themed diner with a bit of an edge. With great live djs, stateside cocktails, an Ultimate Burger Challenge and Beer of the Month... we aim to indulge and to please. We're always more...” more...
28 reviews of The Forest Cafe in English
An absolute joke. The food might be great, but I’ve tried to eat there several times and have never been able to get as far as actually ordering some. Whether it’s down to rude staff ignoring their customers, having lost every single menu in the shop, or the fact that they the Forest CAFE was simply not serving food that day, I have been thwarted every single time by the mindblowing incompetence of the staff. Yes, I know they are volunteers but that really is no excuse, I worked with volunteers full time for a charity for several years and currently work in the service industry so I understand the challenges involved in both, and in spite of how this review might sound I’m not one of those demanding uptight customers, but the attitude in this place just seems so anti-customer you have to wonder why some of the staff choose to even work there. It seems to be a cliquey, hanging-out-with-mates thing as opposed to a willingness to do any work.
In fairness, there was one nice guy working there once. I felt pretty bad for him as he ran around trying to find me a menu, unsuccessfully. At least he tried. They also have some interesting live music, but their ratio of pretentious vapour to actual good stuff is a bit too high.
Overall, I think of the Forest Cafe as a sad reminder that the dream of anarcho-cooperative organisation is doomed to fail.
Ahhh Forest. Formerly my favourite city spot when I was 16 and lived outside the city - I'd travel up to spend the evening drinking wine in Forest and to catch some of their frequent (if incrediblely variable) free live perfomances. Night times in Forest have much the feel of a grotty house part of a kid you're not cool enough to be on first name terms with. You can chill out, put your feet up on the sofa but unless you're there with a group or know the staff fairly well (which many regulars do) then you may always feel slighty uneasy. Regular Forest goers are incredibly cliquey and quite possesive over the place, meaning that in a place that is all about welcoming everyone, you can often feel like you're intruding. Staff change frequently as it's volunteer run so service is never great though it's usually friendly and informal. Along the same vein, the menu is a great veggie/vegan affair with plenty home-cooked food, great value for money with huge portions. Options include nachos, falafel burgers, hummous and pitta bread, soup, beans on toast and the like, as well as a nice selection of cakes. You can often be disappointed though as what may be a great meal one day could be dreadful the next, depending who made it. I admire their attitude in this in that they don't brag that the food is out-standing - the menu is witty and honest and what you see is what you get. However, although Forest almost boasts about it's lack of pretence, the try-hard hippie crowd and cliquey regulars and art students who frequent the place do contradict this.
Fantastic art space though, always showing something for free from music to poety readings to workshops and talks. A great place to chill in the evening if all you can afford is a few beers but don't fancy drinking them at home. Most people here are easy-going so you can chat to anyone about anything, play and sing alone, have a little dance or chiil out and read a book from their wee library. One thing you can't deny is that Forest is a totally unique place with a loud and vibrant character.
I had heard a lot about the Forest Cafe so I was keen to check it out for myself. It's a nice place with a very particular vibe- it's bohemian, unconventional and unique in Edinburgh. It reminded me somewhat of Tchai Ovna in Glasgow (for those of you familiar).
I particularly liked this place due to the food. As a vegetarian it was great to have so many options and all meals, snacks seemed particularly hearty and healthy.
This is a very realxed student/hippie venue; very relaxed. I visited in the day but I'm planning to go back and soak up some of it's free live music.
Don't come to Forest Cafe if what you seek is refined atmosphere, fashionable music and cocktails. Do come to Forest Cafe for its bohemian atmosphere. Do come to Forest Cafe to listen to life music every night for free. Do come to Forest Cafe if all you can afford is a carry out.
This is definitely one of Edinburgh's unique places. You can bring alcohol with you (except during the festival), you can enjoy fantastic vegetarian/vegan snacks, you can listen to music and poetry, sink into a sofa and chill out with Edinburgh's hippie community.
I have visited with friends (it is nicer to visit with friends but you should get to know people if you go regularly) and had humous salad and cola and found the place nice and movie and music times were nice. Compact Disc music had been nice as had been the live music.
Hands down the best cheap and healthy veggie meal in the city, and regardless of what its detractors think, it's a great place for more than just that.
Where else in the city can you get:
- free access to a recording studio
- free access to a library of paperback fiction, non fiction hardbacks, zines, small press chapbooks, cookbooks... basically all sorts of weird and wonderful reads
- free gigs -- free to perform AND to attend with no snobbery, all are welcome to perform
- a free art gallery -- free to visit AND exhibit
- a great little non-profit shop for artists and artisans to sell their wares in
- access to art materials, art workshops, writing workshops, music lessons, jam sessions, dance classes, book binding, screen printing etc etc etc all FREE
- organised trips to places as far flung (and awesome) as Amsterdam and Paris
- rideshares, flatshares, clothing swaps, a free shop, infoswaps, tutoring etc -- all provided through a fabulous and varied noticeboard (best I've seen in the city)
- fantastic CHEAP healthy enviro-friendly veggie and vegan food
- huge selection of teas, coffees, cakes, salads, soups, main meals, juices etc, all for tiny prices
- awesome gigs of all types from poetry readings to fire-spinning
- the opportunity to volunteer in the cafe for perks (free meals, free books etc)
- the opportunity for artists to pick a space of wall and create a fantastic permanent artwork
- a hairdressing service where you get a free drink with your haircut
...I could go on.
Yeah, the loos are unisex and have graffiti and occasionally smell a bit dodgy (I actually have never seen them all that bad), but people: GET OVER IT. If you can't deal with unisex loos (there are cubicles!!), poor you. Stick with the Balmoral Bar then, eh? Forest is a total must visit and deserves people's support.
There really aren’t enough places run by volunteers these days, well volunteers that aren’t raising money for a charity… The Forest Cafe is all about the artists and musicians, the colourful characters that make Edinburgh what it is. Plus these are the guys that stick around outside of fest season, more than enough reason to drop by for a listen or a perv on their work. Have a cup of teas, play a gem of chess, and get to know the locals!
Not for the city slicker!
The Forrest is Edinburgh’s hippie hang out and low-brow artspace and lives its pseudo-bohemian life to the full, staff are unpaid volunteers, which attracts alot of critisism.
The food is Vegetarian though uses so much cheese that it makes for a very smelly establishment. Toilets are unisex, and, well the less said the better (I have witnessed people peeing on the floor in the corridor outside they are so bad).
The Forrest hall upstairs is a large space and hosts some interesting and some downright strange events, however toilets are shared with cafe downstairs, so I recommend you treat with caution!
A place made really for hippies only, though worth a bash if your passing through. Rumoured to be closing soon.
Forest is fine; it is cheap, it’s got a good space for hire upstairs which I’ve used to do casting calls in the past, it has some comfy chairs and free wifi. It is, however, a bit rank. It is quite flea-bitten, the food is in my opinion not particularly inspiring, and the staff- who admittedly are volunteers- seem to be high all the time.
Forest Cafe is a vegetarian, volunteer run caff and artspace in the centre of Edinburgh. It is situated just up from the National Museum and is easily reached by any bus that travels up the Mound or the Bridges. The cafe itself is full of old sofas and rickety tables, very comfy and reasonably priced food. The clientèle at Forest a made up mostly of arty/hippy/punk/anarchist students and under 25’s, but don’t let that put you off! There are community art spaces for hire, and a large hall upstairs for any events you fancy putting on. Located at the front of the cafe is the “free shop”. Yes it does look like a pile of bric a brac rejected from a charity shop, but you can occasionally find a rare gem.
If this is you: down to earth, hippyish, artistic, vegetarian or vegan looking for a place to meet others of like type, in the Forest you’ll find your home away from home. Here the furnishings are worn from long use and you clear your own table and take your dishes up when finished. Here you can only get vegetarian or vegan food, but it is of top-notch quality and utterly delicious.
The Forest is run as a non-profit, and the cafe pays for the rest of it, which is an artistic space. Various projects and workshops take place, there is a 'free shop’ (take what you need, give what you can), and a more traditional artsy shop as well.
The atmosphere throughout is relaxed and cosy. Yes, the furnishings may be worn from use, but that just means they have become soft and comfortable. You’ll never want to leave.
The Forest Cafe is definitely one of my big favourites here in Edinburgh! I love the atmosphere, the people are all quite chatty and the food tastes really(!) good.
The only deficit is the loo. Not exaclty what you’d call clean or anything, but in a way this is all part of the Forest I love!
for the free shop alone i’m giving this place five stars! its a standard of charity the rest of the world could do with adopting, and the next time you have a car boot sale and end up with a few bags of stuff no-one bought then drop it in here! apart from that, the art exhibitions are always worth a look, and while you’re there you may as well have a coffee and see who’s about. remember the motto is a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet!
the forest, on bristo place is a volunteer run non-profit making cafe/venue in an old building (a theatre I think) over several floors.
\it is a chilled out kind of place with exhibitions, film screenings, regular music events.
don’t expect posh, its not, it is simple home produced tasty veggie food place where the plates and crockery are a mish mash and you clear your own plates. great atmosphere and very friendly staff and clientele.
teas and coffees are fair traid, you can buy forest beer or berry wine and also byob during the festival.
So, don your jeans t shirt and flip flops or khaftan if you have one grab a sofa and chill out to some cool music or readings or some other artistic banter.
The Forest Cafe is probably the best known and most visited alternative spot in Edinburgh.
The place is mostly volunteer run, offering drinks and snacks in a different environment. It acts as a venue for all sorts of performances which vary from day to day, week to week. There also often various projects and experiments running, like the long term book swap or free shop.
First of all let this brilliant idea be comended. An autonomous leaning, participatory based, cooperative led space is what we need more of. Second let it be said that this sort of thing is very hard to pull of in a culture and society encouraged to do the opposite.
However, the Forests negative points have to be noted and too often they are brushed aside in euphoric idealism.
There is no reason why the place couldn’t be more professional. Hair in the food, unclean bathroom and the eternal bewilderment of a health and hygene pass. These things do not hold up the image of alternative projects on the frontline of a movement (if I am correct in saying that it tries to do so).
As a space for ideas and debate you might think that the Forest felt free and open. However, dialogue seems homogenous and oppinion only seems to differ within narrow particulars. Of course this may simply be the product of the similar sorts of people who visit. There is, however, a definite and worrying new-age, anti-intellectual tone to many debates.
Of course being volunteer run means that the same quality cannot be expected as that of other cafe and restaraunts. But it would be expected that certain quality controls would be in operation as the standard of food seems radically inconsistent.
The idea should be praised and respected. However the Forest Cafe needs to improve in certain important areas if it is to be the important radical place it should be.
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