Coffee and children do mix at this excellent new cafe

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It can be tricky to find decent, family-friendly cafes in the northern end of our city.

Sometimes, it can even be tricky to find them in the southern quarter, as demonstrated when the owner of an Albert Road establishment asked me to remove my daughter’s shoes before she sat down.

In the past, if you wanted anything more than a fry-up or a waffle, then you had to go to Southsea.

No problem because I love Southsea, but a bit of a pain if all you fancy is a decent coffee on your doorstep.

There are plenty of cafes that serve scalding milk with brown colouring masquerading as a latte, but there was nowhere that provided cafe culture, and welcomed children.

However, joy of joys, I am able to use the past tense, because The Chocolate Lounge has opened in Copnor Road. And not only do they serve good coffee, but children may wear their shoes inside.

Mick, the owner, is lovely, staff are polite, and there is seating outside. This is great if you happen to be passing when walking your dog between Gatcombe and College Park.

It has also been fabulous to be able to pick my girls up from school and take them there for an ice cream, while I sit and ogle the hand-made chocolates.

Last week my friend Leanne and I went to the grand opening. It was fantastic to see so many people from the community supporting a new enterprise.

Copnor Road has developed over the past year, with a bridal boutique, jeweller’s, florist and reptile shop joining the baker’s and the excellent butcher’s.

North End often gets a snobby glance cast its way from the Southsea locals, but, having lived in Southsea, Titchfield and Alton, I can firmly say that only here do I feel part of a community.

The area is quiet, there are no clubs kicking out, there is the family-friendly Green Posts with a great kids’ menu and garden, and now there is the re-opened Hilsea Lido.

Every area has problems. When I lived in Southsea I was frequently woken by drunken men leaning on the doorbell while urinating on the door, and a window was once punched through.

Nowhere is perfect, because no one is perfect.

But the chocolates in The Chocolate Lounge come close, and that’s good enough for me.

Verity Lush is a 36-year-old mum-of-two who lives in Portsmouth.

She is a tutor in philosophy, English and maths and has written a book for newly-qualified teachers, plus textbooks and articles for teaching magazines and supplements.
Follow her on Twitter @lushnessblog