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I tried and rated six of Glasgow West End’s top coffee shops so you don’t have to

So you can get that perfect ‘study’ picture for your Instagram story


Coffee shops are one of the most versatile establishments you will come across in your time as a student. Not only are they a perfect place to romanticise the often laborious task of exam revision. They are also perfect for a casual first date, or for a wholesome social activity to do with your friends. Not only this but coffee itself is a student staple.

How else are you meant to not only function but perform academically, on as much sleep in a week that most people get in a day? Especially as we enter our cold, rainy, seasonal depression era. A nice hot coffee can be that little thing that tempts you out of your warm cosy bed. Somehow leading to the miracle that is going to your 9am lecture.

But being a student is not cheap, and apart from those who are blessed with a Pret subscription, even the chain coffee shops can be expensive. Also, the West End is packed to the brim with coffee shops, so it can be overwhelming trying to pick the great from the good.

Luckily for you, I have tried out some of the best recommended and best-value coffee shops in the West End and, in no particular order, these are my go-to’s.

1. Tinderbox

The big sister of the JMS Tinderbox and favourite child of the Glasgow based chain. This cafe is located on Byres Road just across the street from the intersection of University Avenue and Byres Road. It has a cosy and studious vibe, with free wifi and comfy booths, as well as a fairly large and reasonably priced cup of coffee.

Whilst I would highly recommend this cafe I would say it is more suitable for studying than social interaction as the majority of the clientele are people working. However, I do have fond memories of my last breakup that happened there, so maybe it is more versatile than I’m saying.

2. Naked Soup

If you are a bagel enjoyer, try the bagels they are genuinely out of this world. My only criticism would be how small it is inside, so it is more of a summer cafe if you are not taking your drink away.

3. Kelvin Pocket

Another small cafe, located next to Kelvinbridge subway station, this place is perfect for a catch up with friends. It is a super cosy refuge from the current chilly weather and reminds me of my childhood friends’ rustic farmhouse kitchen in the highlands. Not only does this cafe provide an ambient location for chit-chat, but the coffee itself is delicious.

If you are looking for something more substantial whilst you are there they also have a selection of toppings on their delicious toasted wholemeal bread, as well as many cakes and pastries.

4. Espresso Coffee House

Located on Byres Road, just a couple of minutes’ walk away from JMS, this cute little coffee shop is the perfect place for a well-earned study break or even a location for some more informal studying. Their coffee is not only delicious but also very reasonably priced with a latte and a very generous slice of caramel brownie costing only £6.30.

Another thing I would say about this place is that the staff were incredibly friendly and helpful with our coffee being brought to our table with very little wait. Also, the girl on the till was incredibly sweet and generally just improved the experience overall. I recommend a visit!

5. Offshore Coffee

Located on Gibson Street and very conveniently right on the way home for Kelvinbridge/Woodland Students amongst us (myself included). One of my favourite locations for a refreshing iced coffee after a gym session is the Stevenson Building. This cafe is full of natural light yet remains cosy and comfortable, with plenty of space and comfy couches.

It is perfect for both studying and socialising although I would say it sits more on the studious side than the social. Perfect if you are on the way home from Uni and want to get some more working time in.

6. Sonny and Vito’s

Just up the street from the previously mentioned Kelvin Pocket, Sonny and Vito’s is a cafe and deli that sells coffee, food and artisan gifts. It is beautifully decorated and makes probably my favourite coffee of every place on this list. Not only was the coffee delicious, but it was also very reasonably priced. The cafe has a whimsical feel with vines hanging from the ceiling and tonnes of beautiful fairy lights.

It is also perfect for buying beautifully made gifts as we are coming into the Christmas season. This was my first time going to this cafe despite it being right next to my house. However, I will be going back.

And here concludes my coffee shop review. Although this does not make a dent in the vast number of coffee shops there were in the West End, these have been the best out of the portion that I have tried. I have found that all of these local coffee shops have a very similar price point to chains such as Starbucks or Pret.

Additionally, they were all far more aesthetically pleasing. Although I do understand the grind of trying to squeeze as many free coffees out of your Pret subscription as physically possible, maybe it’s time for a change and to give some of these a try!

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