Ok I’m sorry my titles are getting a little corny….. would you believe coming up with a title sometimes takes me longer than writing a post. No, I hear you say, because your titles are ridiculous! Well yes.
I’m writing this post on a sugar high. So please excuse the jitteriness and excited-ness, good job I don’t drink caffeine too! But don’t worry I’m sure the come down will hit me soon!
It’s my friends birthday and to celebrate her accomplishing another year she suggested going out for cake or dessert with the girls.
So our first experience of Figbar Norwich occurred. I’m sure there will be many more to come!
Knowing this newish bar/cafe/restaurant (I’m undecided on what it is, but then in 2017 haven’t we learned that everything doesn’t need a label, some things just ‘are’!) was in a historic and ‘arty’ part of the city, where many of the buildings are old, small, beautiful and listed I was concerned it wouldn’t be brilliantly accessible.
Browsing their website I didn’t find out much in regards to access, (although my mouth was watering at the sight of the menu!) just that the bar is small, seats 20 and much of the seating is a bar, which I assumed to be at a high level. Figbar don’t have a phone number (times are changing), so I emailed them with a few queries. Does Figbar have wheelchair access? Is there a step at the entrance? Are there accessible toilets? What are the seating arrangements and is there low level seating that would be at a height for my wheelchair?
Within just a couple of hours I had received the most friendly and useful response ever!
In a cheery and welcoming tone I was informed that Figbar is located on the ground floor. There are no steps to enter, just a slight ‘lip’ of a few inches (I was unsure what a few inches meant). That yes Figbar seats only 20 guests, much of which is bar height with stools, but also have a long sharing table that seats about 8-10 guests, at regular height. There are stools around this table, which are easily moved and rearranged. There would be space for my wheelchair (including through their double door entrance), though when busy it can be a bit of a squeeze, and the team would be ‘delighted’ to assist me on my visit.
I was also informed that due to Figbar being a listed building the toilet was located down a flight of stairs without wheelchair access. Oh well what will be will be, as I spoke about in my earlier visit to Waffle House Norwich, sometimes you just have to live, and worry about having a wee later!
I was told that they looked forward to welcoming me and not to hesitate if I had any other questions.
I did respond thanking them for their brilliant explanation and asked them if they could just expand slightly on the few inch ‘lip’. Figbar, the amazing host that they are later got back to me having measured the ‘lip’ down into the bar, detailing that it was 2 inches in height with a welcome mat in situ that reduced this ‘lip’ to 1.5 inches. If there was anything they could do to help and prepare for my visit to just let them know! How welcoming are they?!
I now had a perfect visual of Figbar Norwich without yet visiting. I knew that my wheels would have no difficulty with the double doors and slight ‘lip’ at the entrance, and I expected a warm welcome when I arrived, knowing that any requests or assistance I needed wouldn’t cause bother.
Being an independent bar rather than a chain may have helped with the welcoming and detailed response I got. My email conversation was with one half of the husband and wife team, that knows their establishment well and obviously care very much about their business and their guests.
Figbar day had arrived! I often use the bus as parking in Norwich can get busy and cost a bomb, however I decided to drive (well my PA drove) as it was a dull and rainy day. The joys of an English spring!
Google street view told me it was actually very close to the carpark (St Andrews for any of you locals). Using Google street view meant that I could view the walk on my phone before I even left home, I could see shops and crossings which would then jog my memory when making the journey. Also enabling me to see any difficult pathways and crossings. The carpark was busy, as is generally the case in Norwich, a big City with lots to explore. Timing was perfect though as my friend arrived and parked at same place and time. We walked the short trip to Figbar together.
On arrival I saw the double doors, of which a staff member rushed to open when she saw us. The small ‘lip’ into the bar was just as described with said welcome mat lessoning my drop, the layout and seating again just as described in the emails.
Figbar wasn’t too busy at this time, there were a few people sitting at one of the bars but the large sharing table was empty, so we perched ourselves there. As I wheeled myself to the table, even though it was of perfect height it was a chunky wood table which meant that I couldn’t get my knees under due to the design. I could just about reach the table, but needed the assistance of my PA or friend to pass my drink as there was quite a distance and I wouldn’t trust myself not to drop/spill it!
Now on to the fun stuff!
Figbar is predominantly a dessert bar that offers a menu of plated desserts with wines or beers to compliment. There is also a large, and I do mean LARGE, variety of cakes and pastries (a few of which are savoury) that are displayed at the counter, along with a selection of your usual hot beverages. Although on first appearance maybe slightly pricy, you really do get what you pay for at Figbar and the quality was in my opinion outstanding.
I started with a decaf mocha while I perused the menu and cake selection. The rich, creamy and delicious mocha started me off well. My friend got a sausage roll, too full from the mocha to consider a savoury delight, and on a sugar roll, I headed straight for the sweet stuff! Sneaking a peek at other customers desserts made me want to try something plated and a little more special than the cakes on the counter, not that these didn’t look delicious themselves! I ordered the plated Snickers dessert. Wow. Think of all the components of your popular Snickers chocolate bar, deconstruct them, and times their flavour and creaminess by 10! Yes maybe it was a little sickly. But sometimes sickly is what you need!
I’m relatively confident in my wheels, I’ve been using them for years and have had my fair share of difficult access experiences, yet I felt so much more at ease emailing Figbar in advance to enquire about access. I knew what to expect when I arrived, didn’t have to worry about steps, space or unaccommodating staff. Although you can never tell the types of people and attitudes you will encounter, that is just something you have to deal with! The amount of access information you have of an establishment can be controlled. The detailed information Figbar kindly explained to me in their emails could easily be on venues websites. Door width, step height, toilet, seating arrangement etc.
Anyway enough of me going on, I’m already looking forward to my next visit to Figbar.
Maybe next time I’ll try one of the recommended wines to accompany my dessert!