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 hang out with your friends, read a book or simply just people watch. But with so many in every neighbourhood in the city, where should you start? Here’s a taster of some of the best on the city's cafe culture scene.
Based in the heart of the city at Glasgow Central Station, Gordon St Coffee was voted no.1 coffee shop in Glasgow by Glasgow Living. With coffee roasted on site, including a popular Glasgow blend, and fresh food prepared daily, this is a favourite amongst commuters and visitors alike.
A little cafe that makes a huge difference. Based on St Vincent Street in the city centre, Social Bite is a social enterprise on a mission to help tackle homelessness across Scotland. They serve up a range of hot and cold food and drinks, with every purchase made helping towards their goal.
For award winning, check out Laboratorio Espresso, which 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 cafe pit stop for the coffee aficionado.
This cosy central cafe is perfect for indulging in the Glasgow roasted Dear Green Coffee brand and in their array of astounding cakes and pastries. Pull over a high stool in Riverhill Coffee Bar and enjoy watching the busy city life go by.
Explore the beautiful designs inspired by Charles Rennie Mackintosh up close and personal at the Willow Tea Rooms located on the 3rd floor of the well-known Glasgow department store, Watt Brothers. Popular with generations of Glaswegians, expect a good cup of tea in surrounds that evoke a past era.
Named after the first ever African American student to achieve a medical degree from the University of Glasgow in 1837 (James McCune Smith) this unique cafe has an ethos entrenched in the city’s history. Situated in the East, McCune Smith is renowned for their Scottish Enlightenment themed deli sandwiches; a tasty piece of history served with a modern NYC twist and a laid-back friendly Glaswegian atmosphere.
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 5-star reviews for its fantastic menu and friendly service.
Starting life as a pop-up, It All Started Here now has a small and stylish permanent resident on Deanston Drive, just a stone's throw away from Queen's Park in the South neighbourhood. Lonely Planet recently praised the cafe for it's speciality skills and for its model of rotating coffees from around the world each week.
Based in two of Glasgow's South neighbourhood's trendiest areas - Strathbungo and Battlefield, Grain and Grind sell their own speciality coffee. Their amazing breads and cakes are supplied by Freedom Bakery, who are a social enterprise, who train people in prison in the skills of baking, as well as those recently released.
The social enterprise, which exists to help build a more sustainable local food system, supplies many people across the city with organic fruit and veg boxes. It is therefore no surprise that their bright and welcoming in store Locavore cafe in Govanhill sells the freshest and most local of produce. And you can also pick up some interesting groceries to take home.
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, cosy mezzanine level with fairy lights, friendly staff and their amazing empire biscuits which they ice with witty phrases and pictures to mark all sorts of occasions, whether it be the start of summer, an election or a major world event.
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 roasters and a cafe. Stop in for a blether with friends (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'.
A recent addition to the cafe scene, Broken Clock Cafe has some seriously artisan cakes on offer and they taste as good as they look. Broken Clock Cafe 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.
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.
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.
Also on Byres Road, head to SugarFall patisserie and chocolaterie and indulge in all manner of sweet treats, with everything from cakes and petit gateau, to chocolate gourmands and pralines. All served with Italian coffee, what more could you ask for!
After chilling in a city cafe, get a takeout cuppa and pastry to go and take a stroll around one of the city's diverse neighbourhoods.
Last updated: October, 2019