LOVERS of caf culture are becoming spoilt for choice in Stroud as the European-influenced Star Anise Caf opens as the town's newest arts venue.

After it's official unveiling in September the owners of the Gloucester Street eatery wasted no time setting up a rolling programme of exhibitions and performances from some of the area's top artists.

Nicholas Allan, who runs Star Anise with partners Alexandra Hoppe and Milda Gudelyte, said they were keen to promote Star Anise as an artistic venue as well as a place for a meal and a chat.

"Our intention is to provide a small scale venue for people to try out new work and perform to an intimate audience," he said. "We are interested in supporting artists in developing new material and our long term goal is to provide not just great food but an arts venue for the Stroud community."

The caf has already hosted a number of performances in it's Saturday night showcase spots, including a set by talented guitarist James Watson and a talk from acclaimed local artist Simon Packard, whose exhibition runs at the caf until the end of November. For youngsters, Star Anise also provides family fun with Saturday morning storytelling sessions for children at 11am.

"We want to create a feeling that everything has been taken care of," said Nicholas Allan. "There is a family atmosphere and we want children to feel at home here too." Food at the caf is primarily vegetarian, all prepared on the premises and the owners use organic ingredients wherever possible in their food.

The Star Anise Caf can be found on Gloucester Street and is open 8am until 6pm Monday to Friday and 8am until 10pm on Saturday.