But step inside the Common Bar and Kitchen and you’re transported into a world of tasty tacos, burritos, cool craft beers, cocktails and live music.
Having lived in Ecuador for six months during my misspent youth, I’ve picked up my fair share of street food at bustling markets; a feast for the eyes with their colourful textiles, ponchos, felt hats, and alpaca jumpers piled high alongside empanadas and patacones (fried plantain slices).
Common brings that same sense of fun, colour and flavour-packed food, but in a refined, trendy bar.
The former solicitor’s office - a building that had been empty for quite some time and was in a state of semi-disrepair – has been given a new lease of life in an area that has recently seen investment through the council’s £8m Quality Corridors project to upgrade key areas of the town centre.
And with specialty coffee shop Upside Down and barbers Andsome on the same stretch, it’s become quite the place to be.
Eye-catching flowers adorn the entrance of Common, which is spread over two floors.
Downstairs you’ll find the bar and an area for live music alongside seating while there’s a spacious room upstairs with brick walls dressed with brightly coloured South American-themed posters and a large floral print.
We’d booked in advance online which was brilliantly easy to do, and our request for a high chair was ready for our arrival.
Kieran looked after us marvellously with a friendly smile, chat and attentive service throughout our early evening sitting last Friday.
The menu is simple but inviting.
And it says a lot when there was something to please everyone in our brood from age two to 18, including our picky eight-year-old whose go-to meal choice doesn’t normally venture further than fish fingers or pizza.
Tacos, burritos and nachos are central to the menu with a variety of sides to add some more South American flavours – and all really reasonably priced.
We decided to give the burritos (£8) a try with a few sides to share.
Packed with your choice of filling – slow cooked shredded pork, shredded chicken tinga or (vegan option) pulled maple chipotle mushroom – along with seasoned rice, black beans, cheese, pico de gallo, and guacamole, the burritos are seriously satisfying.
And we were grateful the tortillas were expertly folded to ensure the delicious filling stays exactly where it should!
We shared sides of spicy yet sweet chorizo in red wine and honey, melt in the mouth halloumi fries (not sure how South American they are, but they got top marks from the kids so we’re not complaining!), seasoned corn (cobs taken to the next level are a must-try) and fries with aioli.
The food is fun, tasty and fresh – served in a laid-back atmosphere.
Since opening in January, Common is adding new elements all the time, including Bottomless Lunches which have become a big hit on Saturdays.
There’s also live music at the weekends; a duo was just setting up as we headed off for the kids’ bed-time.
I sense a baby-sitting night is on the cards for a return visit!