The Lounges in Dorset
I have been a fan of these cafes/restaurants/bar hybrids for almost 14 years with fond memories created in different Lounge locations. The Velo Lounge opened in Bath in 2007 and it quickly became a great place to meet friends for coffee as at the time, I was living just down the road with 2 very small children.
I knew there were a number of Lounges, but it was a shock to discover this week quite how many Lounges there are across the country, partly I think because they have always felt so much like a local cafe, from the caring and friendly staff to the community outlook.
Since moving to Bournemouth, I enjoyed spending time in my new local Lounges and now my local one is the Ludo Lounge in Southbourne. The Ludo Lounge has lovely high ceilings and lots of space, both inside and outside the front and its courtyard rooftop terrace. The food is always delicious, the staff friendly and there is a cheerful vibe whenever I visit.
The Lounges in general, are a brilliant place to have a coffee, to spend an hour or two working, brunch, lunch or share an evening drink with friends (all of which I have done over the years) …and I wanted the Lounges to have a review on Dorset Foodie Feed too, despite their ‘chain’ status.
The Ludo Lounge in Southbourne is my closest, but there are 3 others in Bournemouth, with more in Christchurch, Poole, Dorchester and Weymouth (full list below). Each Lounge is designed to make the most of very interesting buildings as well being decorated with fun and eclectic wallpapers, paintings, lampshades and furniture.
Starting in 2002 by 3 friends, the Lounges (and now with the Cosy Clubs too) have had a remarkable success and key to their success is that each Lounge Bar opens its arms to the community and operates as an independent would… and it feels that way to the customer too (many are surprised, like I was, to find that the chain is so large!).
Their menus are also a great selling point as not only do they have an all day Breakfast menu, but they also have full menus for vegans and for those with gluten allergies… and they are good menus too! That means that those with dietary differences do not have to stick to the usual boring salads and brownies but can choose from a long list of delicious options.
Pre-covid, many Lounges had board games to borrow (which will hopefully return when safe to do so) and many of the Lounges are very small child friendly with lots of space for pushchairs. They also welcome well behaved dogs too.
The menus have a large and delicious all day breakfast menu from a full English to pancakes or toast and everything in between. They also have sandwich options, tapas style small plates as well as slightly larger meals. They have a large list of hot drinks with all kinds of milks and syrup options for coffees and different types of tea.
Post Covid, they have implemented an easy to use app to order food and drinks at your table and I have always found Lounge staff to be smiley, friendly and helpful.
The Ludo Lounge has been my most frequented cafe since Covid as it has wonderfully high ceilings, plenty of space between tables and lots of outside space and open windows. They have taken care to make the customer feel safe when dining (inside or out) and I tend to find myself suggesting it when looking for somewhere to go for coffee or lunch.
It is always tricky to decide when a food business is not an independent and clearly The Lounges are not any longer… but they are brilliant places to go, they often work hard to help their local communities and clearly are well loved on their local high streets.
If you are looking for somewhere to meet a friend and grab some drinks or food, then you won’t go wrong in a Lounge. The full list of Dorset lounges are below…
Arcado Lounge – Christchurch (71 High St, Christchurch BH23 1AS)
Ludo Lounge – Southbourne (34 Southbourne Grove, Bournemouth BH6 3RS)
Conto Lounge – Winton (418 Wimborne Rd, Bournemouth BH9 2HB)
Circo Lounge – Westbourne (66 Poole Rd, Westbourne, Bournemouth BH4 9DZ)
Delfino Lounge – Poole (8-9 Falkland Square, Poole BH15 1ER)
Vivo Lounge – Dorchester (23 Weymouth Ave, Dorchester DT1 1QR)
Nautico Lounge – Weymouth (66 St Thomas St, Weymouth DT4 8EL)
The Lounges feature on our searchable Directory of over 550 Dorset based food and drink businesses.