I started mentally planning this post during my final months in Glasgow, at a time when I was studying for my final exams and turning every coffee shop in the West End into my personal study space. I’ve always loved studying in coffee shops: the ambience, the chatter and clinking of spoons against porcelain mugs, the robust aroma of coffee that fills the room. It helps that I’m the kind of person who feels delight staring at a cup of pretty latte art too.
After three years of drinking (and eating) my way through Glasgow’s coffee selection, these are my must-mention spots.
Rumor has it that this place serves Glasgow’s best coffee, and I’m not one to disagree. While it’s not a great study spot – it’s small and there’s always a queue out the door – they serve award-winning latte art and deserve a mention for their brunch menu alone. The menu tends to change with the seasons, but I’ve never ordered a dish that disappoints. Their French toast, chia pudding and avocado toast are all 10/10.
Imagine the ecstasy of finding out that my fourth year flat was (literally) right above this place. In case you can’t tell by this raving review and the photo selection below, I practically lived here on the weekends (I even got my mail delivered here once when I wasn’t home… oops!).
With a miscellaneous collection of dark wooden chairs and tables, an inviting sofa set and some seriously comforting soup, this is my go-to place once the weather gets cold enough for knits and scarves. They serve strong coffee from beans they roast themselves, and there’s always a selection of freshly baked goods. I’m obsessed with all of their loaves – from the classic banana/walnut to other fruity and nutty concoctions.
Kember & Jones
K&J is guaranteed to be packed on a weekend – they’re the hot spot for both brunch and lunch. They have an insane collection of cakes and sweet treats; you’ll be drooling just admiring the display. They also serve fine deli staples and have their own bakery (they supply bread to a number of other cafés around Glasgow). They’re a little on the pricey side compared to other places in the area, but worth it for a special occasion or if you want to treat yourself. My favorite seat is the high-stool counter by the window, ample for people watching whenever I need a break from staring at my laptop.
Gesso is situated right by Charing Cross at the end of Sauchiehall Street; a slight walk if you’re coming from the West End. It does, however, provide the ideal study space. It’s bright and spacious, with many individual tables to choose from and a few for larger groups. The coffee is good and the tea comes served in a gorgeous cast iron pot. While the food is nice it is slightly overpriced. If you’re looking for a quiet place to work, this is definitely it.
Note: I’ve heard that Gesso, previously operated by Tinderbox, is now a regular old Tinderbox café? Please confirm or deny these rumors…
For Fika Sake
A Swedish inspired café near Dumbarton Road, this place deserves a mention as it provides a little solace and reminder of home when needed. Here you’ll find quality coffee and a small selection of pastries (a few classics and some Scandinavian inspired). The large space also houses a store that sells homeware by Nordic brands, and hosts workshops and language classes. Stop by and learn some Swedish! (The most important word you’ll ever learn is ‘fika’: a concept that basically means ‘to have coffee and cake’.)
Don’t miss out on these all-time favorites as well:
Avenue Coffee – with its minimalistic interior this café makes a great study space. Quality coffee and a selection of house roasted beans you can take home, a good lunch menu and always a great display of baked treats. They get extra points for having matcha lattes and egg tarts on the menu.
Cottonrake Bakery – this bakery has the best of both quality and beauty: gorgeous tarts, a fine selection of classic British items (scones, cookies, butties) and crispy bread sandwiches ready just in time for lunch. And they have the best brownies in all of Glasgow. Not too expensive and their coffee is a top contender.
Penny Black – sharing a space with the local post office, this easily overlooked café has good coffee and some out-of-this world homemade cakes – plus the friendliest staff that deserves a special mention.
Peña – tucked away in an alleyway near The University of Glasgow, this gem offers great lunch deals and coffee for students. Get a coffee and brunch/lunch item for the sweet deal of £5. They also have affordable brownies and cookies, Wi-Fi and charging plugs – without a doubt designed for students.
Riverhill Coffee Bar – located parallel with Buchanan Street, this coffee shop is ideal when you’re in need of caffeine and a shopping-break. Fresh sandwiches, a grand display of baked treats, excellent coffee and hot chocolate made from melted chocolate swirled into warm milk.
Singl-end – introduced to me by my sister after she moved to Glasgow, this place has great coffee – but I would recommend visiting primarily for the food. With all of their daily specials and desserts lined up at a table by the entrance you’ll be sucked right in. They have an extensive menu with large brunch plates, breakfast items and eggs – not to mention all of the different kinds of bread you can choose from.
Did I miss any of your favorite coffee places in Glasgow? Do you also enjoy studying/working in public places like cafés? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you!