Silicon Beach Bomo - Orientation Guide | The Triangle
|The Triangle is just uphill
of The Square, 5 mins walk WNW, reachable via a pedestrianised shopping precinct called Orchard
Walk (after its earlier incarnation as Orchard Avenue), which has a mix of shops large and small.
The main 'theme' the Council evidently wants to promote for the larger establishments is clothing
chain stores, like Debenhams, Zara, H&M, BHS, Primark, and River Island - a Poundland there
recently lost its lease to a sports-kit store selling trainers etc. However there is still a diversity
of other types of retail outlet, from phone shops to tourist-souvenir shops to chemists/drugstores.
Off the precinct halfway up is also The Avenue Shopping Arcade, with electronics and sports outfits,
but no cafes. You can also walk to the Triangle via the Central Gardens, turning left uphill at
the playground just before the tennis courts, to exit by Avenue Rd Car Park. The route is mentioned
in the Gardens' new signposting system. (Note that the walking times they cite are for Olympic-class
The Triangle itself gets its name from the triangular open space accessed from the town Square via the top of the Orchard Walk pedestrian precinct, where the road cuts around. This was formerly a bus-park terminus for westbound routes. where the yellow buses parked overnight. There is now a pedestrianised space in front of the Library and some neighbouring cafes, notably Flirt Café Bar, which hosts literary events and has a sundeck extension on the pedestrianised area. This has stone-step style benches across the uphill side for office workers etc to eat their lunches on. There is a small green above the step benches.
Looking uphill, across the stone-step style benches towards the junction with Commercial Rd. The main problem with this space as far as peace and quiet goes is that motorbikes are for some reason allowed to use it as a shortcut, roaring through the pedestrian area. Despite the ground sloping, occasional French etc markets, similar to those held in the Square, are held here, especially around Xmas.
On the NE side, Avenue Rd curves up from the Square between the Gardens on the NE side, and on the SW side the other entrance to the Arcade /M&S, passing a multistorey car park opposite the Library. The new Central Library [2002-] is the most important building in this hub, with café side entrance by the front doors and two floors of library facilities above, including a computer suite and a large and a small meeting room. The rest of the ground floor of the library building facing the triangle is a row of shops by the bus stop.
Right: The pedestrianised area from the top of Orchard Walk (mouse over photo to see imqge of latter). The red canopy belongs to the sundeck extension of Flirt Café Bar.
On the far [ie W] side of this road winding up the hill is Atlântico Portuguese restaurant (fish n chips plus traditional food from Madeira), Troy Turkish restaurant, and ‘Bournemouth's only vegan and veggie lounge’ the Mad Cucumber (which also does arts events such as poetry evenings). The connecting roadway loops around the Triangle buildings opposite, past Omelettos takeaway (which bills itself as the first of its kind) and the Mint Leaf Indian Brasserie, by the bus stops. If you prefer a real-coffee place to a tax-dodging international chain, across from Starbucks is Espresso Kitchen, which has a small upstairs lunchroom.
The road loops around a wedge of buildings on the N side, called ‘The Branksome Oval’ forming one side of The Triangle. On the far side, Ojo Rojo, a 2-storey Mexican restaurant, is on the corner. On the near side along Commercial Rd is the Four Horsemen pub, Lola's (formerly Lolita's, a long-established Spanish tapas restaurant), a 'bubble tea' shop, the Oriental Garden / Happy Diner [a Chinese takeaway/ restaurant], Smokin' Aces Cocktail Bar & Whiskey Lounge, Bar Afrique tapas bar, and at the NW apex, Blue Hill Cafe & Bar [Portuguese food, English breakfast etc]. (This was formerly the site of Battistini’s coffee shop, the first in town to have continental-style outdoor seating back in the 90s, and had to fight a battle with certain reactionary elements on the Council to do so - they claimed the sight of young women in short skirts sitting outside would cause drivers to crash their cars).
There are well over a dozen cafes, coffee shops, bars and restaurants around the Triangle, the close competition resulting in a certain amount of churn that has already seen several modest cafe enterprises close. Tara’s, pictured above, was a plain caff which also did Turkish breakfasts (the owners being Turkish); however it has now been replaced by a new Turkish restaurant, Troy.
Nearby: Across Commercial Rd is Rio internet café, a Thai cafe, and Funchal By Night [Portuguese dishes]. A Brewhouse & Kitchen outlet, part of a chain where the brewery and pub are integrated, stands on the site of the former Branksome Arms, with a large beer garden at the rear. This is near the entrance to St Michael’s Road [pictured right]. This heads up the steep hill to the SW, past an organic-foods shop to a loop road full of B&Bs and small cheap semi-residential hotels at the heart of Westcliff (potential short-term accommodation for any newly-arrived startups on a budget).
Right: St Michael's Rd seen from outside the Blue Hill cafe.
Beyond that, within walking distance, are some larger hotels with lounge facilities. Along West Hill Rd, the largest hotel, the Wessex, is now gone, demolished. The slightly more upmarket Connaught Spa Hotel, with an evenings-only award-winning French restaurant, and a brasserie opening onto a terrace garden, is around the corner on West Hill Rd. If you keep going to the clifftop, the best-known (and poshest) Westcliff large hotel, the Marriott Highcliff, is just to the left, with various types of amenity, from a 'library' lounge to a dining terrace. (See Central Seafront page for further details.)
The Little Triangle, looking N towards Poole Hill. The boarded-up shop next to Rancho Steak House was a Kodak Express, a victim of the changeover to digital photography. The building on the traffic island was converted from a public convenience, initally as a Healthpoint centre, and now reopened as a Caribbean-themed restaurant with outdoor bench seating.
The Little Triangle
The main Poole Hill road west runs past the Little Triangle. Next to the corner are D&C's
cafe and Steam Vintage Tea Rooms, which also does breakfasts. Opposite there
are a pair of Italian restaurants, Pinocchio and Sorriso [formerly
La Piazza] (where you can sit outside if you don't mind the traffic), and farther uphill the
popular [reservations needed] Koh Thai Tapas restaurant and Olive Cafe
Bistro [daytime only - English breakfast etc]. This stretch of road was once a hub for
various PR firms, This may be the basis for the label "Bournemouth's Soho Quarter"
on TripAdvisor etc. However this seems to have suffered a decline since the mid 2000s boom. One
building now offers office space for short-term rental.
|... and beyond: An archway on the near side of the main Poole Hill road just above the Triangle leads to a quiet residential road [Upper Norwich Rd]. You can walk W through here along Norwich Rd, crossing Cambridge Rd dual carriageway via a pedestrian underpass to reach a smaller centre on Queens Rd. On the corner of the side road [Bourne Close] is where Bournemouth West station stood, opposite the coach and car park, before its branch line was closed in 1965. The station building on the corner which became a pub is now a Coop store. On Queens Rd, there is now Cafe Erté & Lounge Bar [formerly Platform 19] which has expanded to include weekend daytime and evening meals, All Hail Ale micropub [where the Nepalese restaurant was] and an award-winning pizza place [Da Mario]. From the foot of Queens Rd, below the Wessex Way underpass, you can access the Central Gardens bike-/foot-path, which crosses the road here.|