Friday, 31 May 2013

cafe hunting in glasgow

When I arrived at the Buchanan bus station at 6am after a 7 hour stop-start journey from Liverpool, coffee was the last thing in my mind. I needed sleep. Night buses aren't necessarily the most comfortable way to spend your sleepy time. I’m pretty sure I learnt that the last time. Ah the life of a traveller.

I walked about 2km to the Glasgow youth hostel up in west end (quite a swanky area for a hostel really!) and despite my lack of sleep, I was excited about the blue skies over head and the day that was to unfold. Of course, I started off with a wee nap in the hostel lounge.  Waking up an hour later, refreshed and sporting a solid bed head (or couch head) I set about my day. The idea of hanging out inside grew on me as grey clouds grew over the blue I went on a mission to find some funky cafes.

 I was surprised to pass several cafes that would class as funky-independent, artisan, third-wave (whatever hipster name you want to use) by Australian standards. In a mere half an hour I found more places in Glasgow than I did in 4 months in London! I had a fair way to go along great western road before making it to byres road so I decided to pick and choose. The first stop was Papercup. A very simple coffee house that had an open plan bench and fantastic coffee. I browsed through some of the coffee table books, which were ironically about coffee making.  I felt I came out a better educated barista. Cold War Kids were playing in the background and although the barista seemed a little lost without a bench to stand behind, he managed to punch out a few random notes every now and then. 

I walked further to byres road where I was told where the gold mine was. In terms of cafes though, I think the other road had it all. Byres road seemed a little touristy for me and had a lot of the chain shopping stores. Like Glasgow's version of oxford street. I did however stumble across Ashton Lane, a cute cobbled street with bars, a small cinema and fairy lights hanging overhead, which I'm sure would have looked the part at night.

I then found a cool little place near the university on Gibson st with the best cafe decor or I've seen in a long time, Artesian Roast . I had a lovely 3 pound leek and potato soup and sat and watched as the uni students poured in for their caffeine hit. This place bordered on perfection, except it didn't have wi-fi. It had a nice lounge area at the back and more seating upstairs so you really wouldn't notice if half the people sat on one coffee for 3 hours to tap into a little technology.

You could probably spend a good while at places like these, I only went to two. These streets have a few good vintage and second hand shops as well and there a lots of pubs nearby.  I opted out for second coffee coz I needed another nap.

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