From socialising to studying: We rated UoN’s cafes on the stuff that really matters
George Green cafe is the best, fight me
As students we have a duty to be dedicated, intellectual and overall act as good role models for our university.
A large part of maintaining that impression is strapping on your best academia-inspired outfit, claiming an entire study booth for your own and promptly flexing on your peers via Snapchat and Instagram on how studious you’re being.
We curated this definitive guide to assist you in your endeavours for the perfect cafe to spend your free time studying at uni. Whether or not you get any actual work done whilst you’re there is up to you.
8. Coates Cafe
It seems that the engineering students have it hard when it comes to hard angles – there is no lumbar support for the benches you can sit at to work in this cafe, and the seating that seems to be more comfortable is limited. The choice of outdoor seating is very claustrophobic as it is situated in-between large buildings.
The lighting on the few cute seats we did see was absolutely perfect, so if you go on a good day you might get that golden hour glow. However, it is not a good vibe with the current scaffolding, but what else can you expect from the school of engineering?
There are limited options for hiding from your responsibilities, the closest I got was hiding behind a rubbish bin, which may be suitable for the more insecure. There’s a trash joke to be made here.
Avoiding responsibilities: 3/10
Outside seating arrangements: 5/10
Overall rating: 4/10
7. Law and Social Sciences
This case is like a knock-off brand that does the job, just rather disappointingly. Small and enclosed, with a disappointing variety of mysteriously priced sandwiches. Hot drinks come from a machine but this seems to work well for the students who have lectures just next door.
There are two seating areas in separate rooms, one with precisely two computers and no power outlets, the other with power outlets and precisely no computers. During my time in the liminal space of these waiting rooms, I was forced to think actual thoughts, which, as I’m sure you may agree, was not a good time.
It’s difficult to hide from your responsibilities with transparent chairs and eternal damnation, and I wouldn’t want to sit and work here for a long time.
Caffe latte: 7/10
Avoiding responsibilities: 1/10
Seating, quite rigid: 5/10
Overall rating: 5/10
6. Lakeside Arts
The selection of food and drink seems to be alright, but the most important aspect of this cafe is the booze on display behind the counter. This cafe is more of a campus tour stop than student life, but oh man, the takeaway cups are cute.
The cafe has school cafeteria vibes and feels quite clinical, but if you get lucky and sit near the front door you do get quite a good view of the lake.
The seating is not really secluded, but if you prefer a communal, touristy vibe to work in then this cafe might be for you.
Coffee: 5/10, “does the job”
Avoiding responsibilities: 7/10, the rest of the building has you covered. The cafe, not so much.
Overall rating: 6/10
5. Sir Clive Granger
Not so much of a cafe as a makeshift food stop, although it boasts a decent selection considering the size of the setup. Parked right outside lecture halls, there is comfortable seating and some power outlets – convenient for the geography and humanities students that haunt this place.
Sadly, given the limited space of the cafe and the terribly bland white walls, Sir Clive offers little in the way of creative liberty for a truly unique pic. The same can be said for hiding from your responsibilities, although if you’re daring enough you might try climbing into one of the bin cabinets – they seemed rather cosy.
Caffe latte: 7/10, Ribena gets a solid 8
Avoiding responsibilities: 5/10
Overall rating: 7/10
4. Monica Partridge
If you want to feel like a student, Monica Partridge is the cafe for you. Complete with comfy sofas, elegantly curved private desks and the occasional large table for the more tedious group projects, the aesthetics of this building hold great appeal.
The carefully-placed cup of coffee, your laptop and colour-coded notes arranged delicately, and to top it off, you can reserve your own private booth to make sure you can get any angle to get that perfect study picture. If you want to flex on how good a student you are, Moni P is the place to be.
Hiding from responsibilities and woes is a breeze with the sheer size of the place, and if that fails you can always lock them inside your private room. At least, until the next reservation comes along.
Avoiding responsibilities: 7/10
Overall rating: 8/10
3. Portland Coffee
Going to Portland Coffee is a rite of passage at this point. If you haven’t been, go, and if you have you’ll understand perfectly when I say this: those brownies are to die for. Seriously, if nothing else, go for the brownies.
This is a dedicated cafe with an established place in the Portland building, and you can see it in the sexy vibes of the interior decoration, the pleasantries of the staff and the coffee I’d argue are on par with Starbucks.
More often than not it’s so busy there are no places to sit, but if you don’t mind moving someone’s abandoned plate and mug then you should be a-okay. Sitting inside is good for catching up with mates after that awful seminar and the prestige and interior decor makes for excellent Insta-braggability that you managed to get a seat with the girls.
Iced coffee, iced latte and regular latte: 8/10
Avoiding responsibilities: 6/10
Seating, if you get it: 8/10
Overall rating: 8/10
2. Hallward Library
Bring Starbucks to a library and you’ve got yourself Hallward Library Cafe. The heating was on when we arrived which was a relief after a freezing day. It felt like we were being blasted with the warm breath of a very large, pro-student budget.
The latte was rather foamy, but delicious anyway, and the lush purple seating and elegant aesthetic definitely makes for an excellent Insta post.
A mix of students can be found here, with many diligently working and appearing very studious, and many who come here as a quieter place to chill with the lads. Shoutout to the staff at Hallward, I feel almost threatened with how kind they all are.
As a more social cafe however, there are limited options on where to hide from your problems. The stools were too tall to offer emotional comfort, so between the sofas is my recommendation to you.
Flat white: 6/10
Latte: 9/10 – very hot, but that will last you for a long study session
Avoiding responsibilities: 7/10
Overall rating: 8/10
1. George Green Library
Hear me out. I know the cafe is small, but have you seen the selection? The seating? The sheer magnitude of this library?
George Green does not hold back when it comes to seating options: low, soft chairs, benches for the dedicated worker, tables that run along the inside of the building so you can gaze out, wistfully enjoying the view and thinking about how lucky you are that an article told you to come to this place.
And, of course, a significant number of power outlets about everywhere you can sit. The location is gorgeous, the interior is magnificent and the chairs are so dummy thicc you sink right in and never want to leave.
Avoiding responsibilities: 9/10
Sheer aesthetics: 10/10
Overall rating: 10/10, fight me