It's not just for coffee - Glasgow's cafes are where you’ll most definitely experience the city’s famous friendliness, and the scene is filled to the brim with independent cafes and coffee shops to meet a friend, read a book or simply just people watch. Here’s a taster of some of the best of the city's cafe scene. Don't forget to check individual websites for details on opening times and booking systems. Be aware that guidelines from the Scottish Government mean that cafes are subject to a 6pm closing time.
Based in the heart of the city at Glasgow Central Station, Gordon St Coffee serves up award-winning coffee, roasted on-site, including a popular Glasgow blend, and fresh food prepared daily, including pastries, vegan treats and cakes from Big Bear Bakery.
A little cafe that makes a huge difference. After delivering more than 500,000 free food packs across Scotland during lockdown it's great to have Social Bite back serving their tasty breakfasts, sandwiches and coffees at their cafe on St Vincent Street. A social enterprise helping to tackle homelessness, every purchase made helps towards their goal.
This stylish Riverhill Coffee Bar is perfect for indulging in the Glasgow roasted Dear Green Coffee brand and in their array of astounding cakes and pastries from the Riverhill snickers bar to pistachio meringues and veganese swirls.
Laboratorio Espresso was named 'one of the world's best places to drink coffee' (Phaidon 2017) and one of the '50 best coffee shops in the world' (Big7 2019). The authentic artisan Milanese Espresso Bar is the ultimate pit-stop for the coffee aficionado.
Spitfire Espresso on Candleriggs is open for sit-in or takeaway to keep you well-fed and caffeinated with sandwiches, cakes and pastries and selection of coffees.
Mackintosh at the Willow is a world-class cultural and heritage attraction and is also a lovely spot for tea and cake. Open from 10am daily for morning coffee and pastries (which are now also available to takeaway) and then from 12pm for their delicious lunch menu and afternoon tea, served up in the stunning Mackintosh-designed surrounds. Guests can now book the brand new Salon de Luxe Afternoon Tea which includes a tailored talk in the historic Salon de Luxe plus entry to the interactive exhibition. See the Mackintosh at the Willow website for more information, menus and to book a table.
Glasgow Neighbourhood Cafes
A relative newcomer to the city's cafe scene, Jodandys is a top-rated venue on TripAdvisor! Located on Pollokshaws Road, one of the main arteries stretching through the south neighbourhood, it's earning five-star reviews for its fantastic menu, mouth-watering cakes and friendly service. Currently open for sit-in and takeaway.
It All Started Here
Starting life as a pop-up, It All Started Here now has a small and stylish permanent residence on Deanston Drive, just a stone's throw away from Queen's Park in the south neighbourhood. Currently only open for takeaway, Lonely Planet praised the cafe for its speciality skills and for its model of rotating coffees from around the world each week.
Opened in 1931 in the popular Shawlands area of the city, the Brooklyn Cafe is a Glasgow institution. The Italian family-run business is famous for its ice cream, friendly staff and their amazing empire biscuits which they ice with witty phrases and pictures to mark all sorts of occasions. Open daily from 9am for walk-ins only.
The Glad Cafe
South of the river is the not-for-profit arts hub, The Glad Cafe, with its popular all-day brunch menu including new Vegan brioche rolls and a new kids menu too. See their website for details. The cafe combines architecturally award-winning design with artsy laidback vibes and scrumptious food. Currently, open Thurs– Sun from 10am for walk-ins, takeaway is also available.
Just a little further along this busy neighbourhood street, you'll find Deanston Bakery. Famed for their sourdough and bagel recipes, their cinnamon rolls are also the ideal accompaniment to a cup of freshly roasted Dear Green coffee. Be prepared to queue as this family-run business has established itself as a must-visit since they opened in 2018.
House for an Art Lover
Combine the amazing setting of a Mackintosh inspired house with local, seasonal produce in their Art Lover's Cafe - the perfect spot to relax in the south of the city. House for an Art Lover is currently open daily from 10am, you can enjoy the visitor attraction, the shop as well as the cafe. Pre-booking for the cafe is recommended and can be done online or by phone, visit their website for information about booking the Art Lover's Cafe. You can also enjoy audio-guided tours of the house on the hour from 10am-3pm by pre-booking in advance.
Mesa is the sister restaurant to popular south venue Café Strange Brew with the same ethos to serving up breakfast, brunch and great coffee. Open every day for walk-ins only, serving up tasty soup and sandwiches and daily specials.
Grain and Grind
With not one but three venues in the south, Strathbungo, Battlefield and Cathcart, Grain and Grind are a small batch coffee roaster serving up coffee, sandwiches and awesome brownies for takeaway, every day of the week.
Head to Ocho which is set in the corner of a Georgian-style building on the banks of Speirs Wharf canal and feel like you are escaping it all, just five minutes from the city centre. Enjoy a delicious selection of dishes from their brand new autumn menu, including vegan and gluten-free options and 50% off brunch, Mon-Thurs, throughout October. Head to their website or give them a call to book a table.
Broken Clock Cafe has some seriously artisan cakes on offer and they taste as good as they look. This delightful, dog-friendly cafe and patisserie got a mention in Time Out's recent feature on the '50 Coolest Neighbourhoods in the World' as a must-visit spot within the cool neighbourhood of Kelvinbridge.
Found on Great Western Road, Serenity Now is currently operating as a takeaway and pavement café from Fri-Sun and offer a 100% plant-based breakfast, brunch and lunch menu, with the drinks menu including some seriously healthy delights in the form of smoothies and wellness lattes. They also make vegan treats for dogs! Please note they are closed until Nov 6.
Relaxed, positive vibes and uplifting tunes is how Papercup describe their environment and the punters agree. Found on one of the city's longest and most prestigious streets, Great Western Road, Papercup offers strong coffee and Instagram friendly designs and dishes.
This little artisan bakery on Great Western Road, in the city’s west neighbourhood, is famous for its fresh bakes, cakes and croissants. Cottonrake Bakery has a small sitting area where you can enjoy their baked goods and people watch, but it’s also an ideal cafe for a pit stop whilst you're busy exploring this bohemian neighbourhood.
Found in the UK's hippest strip, Finnieston, The Steamie is both a coffee roaster and a cafe. Stop in for a blether (Steamie is a Glaswegian word for wash houses, which used to be the best place to find out all the local gossip) and enjoy dishes from their 'clean menu'.
Sugarfall is a modern, artisan patisserie on Byres Road where you can indulge in all manner of sweet treats, with everything from cakes and petit gateau, to chocolate gourmands and pralines. All served with Italian coffee or loose leaf teas, what more could you ask for!
The University Cafe
Run by the same family since opening in 1918, The University Cafe is a Glasgow institution. With retro art deco interiors, The University Cafe, which can be found on Byres Road, serves up fish n chips, ice cream, toasties and much more.