Newcastle cafes you need to visit in between your lectures
If you’re a coffee addict like me, then you need to try these places
If you’re anything like me then you most likely have been to a café to study before. And why not? Why wouldn’t you want a good atmosphere or distraction from the regular draining space of your room or kitchen, maybe a place to refresh yourself from loud flatmates and dirty sinks?
Whether you want to do some extra work or just get a bit of a break before your next lecture, what isn’t there to like about getting a good cup of coffee to wake yourself up and a nice piece of cake to recharge? Being a new student in Newcastle, I made it my goal to try to find the best cafes for this very purpose and here’s what I found.
Firstly, disclaimer, I must admit, I did focus my search on the centre of Newcastle due to the convenience of it being closer to the university, so if you’re wondering about places in Jesmond or Heaton, I do apologize. With that said, I found quite a few, often surprising, cafes that I feel everyone would enjoy:
A Newcastle University café classic. The Grand is a must on your list as a student, being so close to the university it’s only too convenient. There’s a good selection of coffees, the chai coffee being a personal favourite (Yes, I’m that girl) and it’s decently priced too. Not to mention, if you download the ‘YoYo wallet’ app you can get free coffee and vouchers, which is always handy on a student budget. The Grand also sells food such as appetizing hand-made cakes as well as some sandwiches so don’t worry if you’re worried about going to your lectures on an empty stomach, that won’t be necessary.
The one downfall of the Grand that I must mention, is that often you must bear in mind that it does get busy. Sometimes it can be difficult finding a seat as it is quite small, so bear that in mind. Apart from that, I highly recommend it, after all, the Grand is, well…grand!
Olive and Bean
Olive and Bean is a destination that is highly praised by many students, often it being the place you would take your friends or parents to “show off” Newcastle. This, I think, is due to the delicious range of sweet and baked treats they have to offer and the drinks you can indulge in such as freshly made smoothies and hot chocolate with generous whips of cream.
Olive and Bean is bright, modern and aesthetic but what keeps it from getting to the top of my list is some of its drawbacks: for one thing, it’s not always the cheapest option, not to mention if you go during busy hours the service will be slow. Like, really. Slow. So, if you’re thinking of getting a quick panini and coffee before your lecture, think again. Don’t get me wrong, the panini will most likely be the most mouth-watering heavenly piece of toasted bread you’ve ever had, but you will also most likely age a couple of years while waiting for it.
I only recently discovered this cafe tucked away but I was pleasantly surprised by the discovery. Flat Caps had a good atmosphere, with twinkling lights adding to their aesthetically pleasing decor, making it feel bright, even on a gloomy day. There’s music in the background, however, it’s not too overpowering, allowing you to have conversations with your friends or even study, as many tired-looking students I saw were doing beside me. What I also liked about this café was it had some comfortable couches at the end, giving it a homely feel and allowing me to be able to feel cosy whilst working on my essays.
It’s a bit more on the pricey side, being £9 for my roasted chestnut soup and toasted garlic bread, but the proportions are fairly generous, and I can’t complain about the food, which was flavourful and appetizing. If you’re looking to do a bit of work, there is Wifi which though can be slow, does often work quite well. In terms of location, it’s not too far from both Newcastle and Northumbria, and overall I would recommend it for any occasion, whether it is for a catchup with friends or some concentrated time to work.
If you’re a bit tired of rainy cold England and are looking for just a little bit of escapism, then Albufeira café is the perfect choice for you. A Portuguese-themed café it includes authentic Portuguese snacks and pastries like the well-known pastel de nata, which is like a custard pastry, and even Portuguese coffees to give you a little well-needed break. Simplistic in design and decent in price, it’s fairly close to the Newcastle Business School and around 10 minutes from the main campus, so why not take a visit and pretend you’re in the sunny Algarve for an hour or so?
The Dispensary coffee house
A creative and warm place to grab some waffles and coffee, this one is specially dedicated towards STEM students. The Dispensary coffee house is located near the business school and is a quick destination for those who live in Wellington St Plaza, but what makes it stand out is its science theme, in which they serve their coffee through a titration set-up. Though I’m more of a humanities person myself, being able to inject my pancakes with maple syrup through a needle was really engaging and fun, making your mealtime feel a bit more like a memorable experience. Their proportions are quite large and filling, but ultimately, delicious. I would definitely recommend.
Got a bit of a rogue choice here as this café is a lot further from the universities, but it nonetheless deserves a mention for its free drinks. That’s right, free drinks, you read that correctly. The Baltic café is found on the ground floor of the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and is run purely on donations, serving free hot drinks and snacks. The coffee and tea selection won’t be the most diverse or whimsical but it’s worth it to be able to go to a warm room and have some hot coffee free of charge! Not to mention, if you have time, you could always go and see the great abstract art exhibitions they showcase just upstairs.
Super Natural Cafe
A personal favourite of mine. I accidentally discovered Super Natural Café when walking to the train station and once I went in, I fell in love. Simple but cosy, whenever I step into the café I instantly feel warm and relaxed. The ceiling is decorated with many twinkling fairy lights which illuminate the place, especially on a cold winter’s day. Building onto this tranquillity is the music they play which ranges from smooth jazz to blues to some Elvis Presley. Prices are also quite decent, and they serve a vegan menu that Is aided by some homemade smoothies. Another positive is on weekends they remain open until 8pm so if you want a place to relax after a late lecture, you can even grab a drink from their selection of beers and wines. If I had to critique one thing (though I’d rather not) it would be the wifi connection that often connects and disconnects, so if you’re planning to do some work, it can be slightly frustrating. Otherwise, I only have high praise for this snug eclectic oasis of a café.
When I went to Meli café I had a clementine and almond cake as I worked on this article. I stayed for a couple of hours enjoying my view of Northumberland Street and listened to the waiters hum to the soothing instrumental music they play in the background. I feel like this encapsulates Meli Café perfectly. It’s quite simplistic in its décor but is nonetheless quaint and cosy with a lot of friendly people working or chatting and smiling with their friends. It’s a good atmosphere and one I will be back to experience. I was quite taken aback by the location, which is tucked away around a corner on Northumberland St, opposite Milligan’s and Pret. If you go upstairs (three flights of stairs) then you’ll enter Meli café and hopefully be as pleasantly delighted as I was. In terms of price, it’s not the cheapest but also not the most expensive for an independent café and is manageable. I also like how close it is to the University and will be paying back a visit before my lectures for a little bit of winding down.
This is another café that can be found on the campus of Newcastle University (Sorry Northumbria) and one that I think is quite convenient but also has a good ambience. Their website describes itself as “offering an open, welcoming space to work, relax, meet with friends or enjoy a pre-show tipple.” and I think this encapsulates its essence perfectly. I always enjoy going for a cup of good local coffee right before a lecture and noticing all the students around me working and enjoying their hot drinks. I also want to give a little shoutout to their coffee mugs which I think are cute and every time I see them, I have the urge to take them home with me. If you’re also a theatre nerd like me, then you’ll also probably like and indulge in the idea of eating and studying at a theatre, where on the way out you can pick up all the latest leaflets to see what new plays are circulating.
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