What West End Coffee Shop should you go to today? 

1. Most important question first… should you be studying?

A. Yes! I’m meeting a pal for a highly productive and definitely procrastination-free study session

B. I don’t know what you mean? Study? Me? Shhh!

C. Yeah, I figured today is as good as any day for bashing out that essay due at midnight.

D. I’m not stressed or anything, but hoping to get a good hour or two in

E. I’m taking an afternoon off because I’m actually on top of it! (Yes it’s the first week of the semester don’t ask me again)

2. What are you in the mood for?

A. Not too fussed, probably my usual cappuccino

B. Tea please! The more options the better

C. Pancake stacks, smoothies, flavoured lattes!

D. London Fog, Glasgow Fog, Miami Fog…. Anything foggy please!

E. I’d quite like some nice vegetarian and vegan sandwiches, or maybe a sweet pastry! I’m treating myself today

3. Do you want a big or small place?

A. I want an open spaced café with big windows so everyone inside and outside can see the outfit I picked out just to sit here and pretend to read for two hours  

B. I want a small cosy café where me and my friend can have our own little nook just to ourselves

C. I just want to be one suffering, noise-cancelling-headphones-wearing student in the crowd

D. I don’t mind, just killing time between seminars

E. I want to be able to whisper my order to the barista from my table

4. What should the café look like?

A. On a corner, just by the river and the park. Big old sofas giving that true Central Perk vibe

B. The darker the better. Fairy lights and cosiness please. I like sitting on the floor and getting the old chess game out. I’ve not got anywhere to be so might as well get comfy

C. I won’t be looking anywhere but my blank word doc, so I don’t care

D. I don’t know. Just like a normal café I guess?

E. I like being able to sit outside without cars driving right by

5. What music do you like to hear in the background?

A. Sad stuff. Mitski, Weyes Blood, etc

B. Calming instrumentals please

C. 2010 hits

D. Bon Iver! Maybe an odd folklore-song? Just good sweet tunes

E. I don’t know, I’ll be listening to the sound of the river

A- Offshore- Seems like the coffee gods want you to go to Offshore today. You might get a little work done, but realistically, you will spend most of your time looking out the big, big windows, just like everyone else. Your dilemma today will be whether to wave at the familiar faces walking by, or risk them seeing you ignore them.

B- Tchai-Ovna- It seems like you are in dire need of some you-time. This is not an I’m-on-top-of-it-and-I-deserve-it break, but rather a I’m-so-far-behind-I-am-loosing-it break, but that’s okay! What better way to take care of that big brain of yours than to unwind in the fairy lit, cosy little dungeon that is Tchai Ovna. Although, there’s no denying it’s a risky game– what starts with an innocent pot of honey tea, soon becomes pot number three, day turned into night, dinner-time fast approaching and no time left to hit the library. But that’s the soothing magic of Tchai Ovna, baby– and I think you need it.

C- iCafe: Surely, this is no one’s favourite café. But if you’re too far into the midterm madness to lose your dignity walking around the learning hub trying to find a seat when you know they all filled up before 9am, the iCafé might be your best bet. It is what it is, and it’s frankly not great at being that. With loud music and a surprisingly high number of kids running around, it’s far from peaceful, but still, no one will bat an eye to you sipping the same cold cappuccino for 6 hours while you finish that essay of yours. After all, you’ll just be one stressed out student in the crowd here, and there is comfort in that. For your journey to the iCafé I have only one bit of advice: if you’re like me, and other people’s noise tends to piss you off, noise cancelling headphones (or indeed simple foamy earplugs) are a must.

D- S’Mug: Located just off Byres Road, near the Learning Hub and the University Gardens, it is the perfect place to go between seminars. It’s small, snug, and always full of students! Grab yourself a bagel and a legendary fog (London fog or Glasgow fog: pick your fighter!), and just sit right down and relax. It’s always nice to spend time in there, and they even have outdoor seating for all the five times a year when the sun shines down on Glasgow. And I swear, every single time I was there in my first semester they played Bon Iver on repeat, and it was just the sweet comfort I needed. You can never go wrong with S’Mug!

E- Kelvin Pocket – Located below Kelvinbridge (or the Great Western Bridge), right by the subway station, this small café is one of my absolute favourites in the whole city. Their menu is full of delicious sandwiches, pies and pastries, of which I have only had time to try a handful. With only a few tables, it’s peaceful and personal, and their mismatched furniture and pastel painted walls never fail to lift my mood. It’s ideal for taking time off – so next time you feel yourself getting drained, ask a pal to meet you there for coffee and then take them for a walk along the Kelvin. I promise you’ll both feel a lot better afterwards.

[Matilda Eker | (she/her) | @matildaeker]

Image credit: https://restaurantguru.com/Offshore-Glasgow

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