Scotland may be better known for its whisky, but its coffee scene is also alive and well, with Glasgow at the forefront. The city abounds with coffee shops and artisan roasters on a mission to prove that Glasgow knows its caffeine. Here are 10 top coffee shops to try.
One of the original pioneers of Glasgow’s coffee movement, this family-owned coffee shop now has three locations throughout the city, and the one on Ingram Street is by far the most welcoming: head upstairs and settle into a cozy leather armchair. Atmospheric, unpretentious, and serving potent and mouthwatering coffee, there’s no downside to Tinderbox.
This tasteful and stylish spot serves exemplary coffee as well as an ever-changing selection of sandwiches, baked goods, and even omelettes. Avid customers can buy beans by the bag to take home, and the shop also offers training sessions for those who are interested in learning about the roasting process.
Talk of coffee shops in Glasgow wouldn’t be complete without Artisan Roast, a stalwart on the caffeine scene. The good people of this coffee shop buy their beans directly from farmers, roast them in-house multiple times per week, and serve them up in their minimalist, no-frills fashion, letting the java itself take centre stage.
This cafe is named after Dr James McCune Smith, an Enlightenment-era abolitionist and academic who became the first African-American to hold a degree in medicine; something he earned at the University of Glasgow having been refused entry to American universities. Soak up the fascinating history at a sun-dappled table over a cup of joe and an artisanal sandwich or a bramble and panna-cotta tart.
This spacious, bohemian coffeehouse offers views of the River Kelvin through its floor-to-ceiling windows, and has a relaxed, casual atmosphere, as well as seating for approximately 50. A popular study spot for students, Offshore is a delightfully laid-back place to enjoy a brew and a bit of downtime.
Housed in a building which formerly served as a recording studio frequented by Glasgow-based bands such as Snow Patrol, this funky coffee shop retains a sense of individuality. Peña is notable for two things: the coffee, and the toasties. Go for the Nigella toastie; almonds, ricotta, white chocolate, and raspberry.
Charmingly quirky, Jelly Hill offers generous seating, seats carved from chunks of wood, and, true to name, has an enormous bowl of jelly beans on the counter which are free for customers to grab on their way out of the door. Caffeine and sugar, in one cosy café.
Using beans from Dear Green Coffee Roasters, a cult-favorite Glaswegian brand, this Thornwood café is small in size but churns out delicious and reasonably-priced beverages. The flat whites are particularly good, and on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings a plain coffee is just £1.
For an Italian-inspired espresso bar, look no further than Laboratorio Espresso, which boasts award-winning architecture and design, a bespoke coffee blend provided by Dear Green Coffee Roasters, and a weekly ‘special’ espresso option. This coffee shop takes its craft very seriously, and the attention to detail pays off.
This Southside café is a perennial classic, covering all the bases with great coffee and equally good food, baked goods, beer on tap, a constantly-changing art selection on the walls, and frequent film screenings, plays, and performances by local musical guests. This is a haven for Glasgow’s creative folk, and is the perfect place to sip some coffee and immerse yourself in artistic pursuits.