TWO much-loved independent businesses well-known to Carlisle have teamed up to operate a popular cafe in the city centre. 

Coffee roaster, John Watt and Son, has partnered up with Bookcase & Bookends, which will see them oversee the day to day running of bookshop café and garden, Cakes and Ale.

The 155 year old coffee business, which originally started opened in Glovers Row in 1865, will be bringing their expertise to what is much more than just a cafe on Castle Street, known for it's quirky style, homemade cakes, local beers, author events and live music nights.

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Peter Johnston, director of John Watt and Son said: "When Bookcase approached us about running Cakes and Ale we thought it just seemed like a perfect fit.

"It’s a fantastic café with a great reputation and so much good, local food and drink on the menu.

"Working in partnership with Bookcase & Bookends we’ll continue to provide customers with the high-quality they expect and keep sourcing produce from the local suppliers such as McCalls Bakers and InterFresh," he said. 

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Cakes and Ale is the latest cafe to join the John Watts expansion, which has already seen adopted coffee shops at Tullie House, Cumbria’s Museum of Military Life, Accord Healthcare alongside a partnership to deliver hospitality and catering for Carlisle United's Brunton Park. 

Lucy Matthews, of the Matthews family which own three independent bookshops and Cakes and Ale said: "We have known and worked with John Watt and Son for many years and have used them as our local suppliers of tea and coffee so when the opportunity became available for someone to run our café, we just thought of Peter and Carol Johnston. 

"We’re delighted they agreed to join forces with us and excited to be working together. We’re really pleased that the same friendly and talented Cakes & Ale team will be working in the café and we’ll still be hosting a programme of evening events too," she said. 

The coffee roasters can also be found on their Bank Street and Blackfriars Street sites.

Cakes and Ale will be playing host to three of the country's top authors next month, including M W Craven and Fiona Cummins on May 12, and best-selling author Kiran Millwood Hargrave on May 19. 

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