For those of you who have just started living in Nottingham, it may be hard to figure out where everything is – shops, cafés, bars. Naturally, the top priority on everyone’s lists will be to find a good spot for a caffeine boost.
With that in mind, here is a beginner’s guide to five of the many cafés that Nottingham has to offer. Whether you’re a tea drinker, coffee aficionado or have a serious sweet tooth, there is something on this list for everyone.
Please note: all of the cafés on this list offer non-dairy/milk alternatives.
Whether you’re a tea drinker, coffee aficionado or have a serious sweet tooth, there is something on this list for everyone.
THE SPECIALTY COFFEE SHOP
The Specialty Coffee Shop, more commonly known as Specialty Coffee, has been a fixture on Friar Lane since 2015. The coffee served here is strong and flavourful, and they also offer it for sale at the back of their cosy café space. The owners boast of their passion for coffee on their website, and it definitely comes through in the taste of their drinks, whether it be no-fuss filter coffee or milky lattes. You may be surprised to learn that it also serves a fantastic, though small, range of teas. My recommendation: the rooibos and cocoa.
Specialty Coffee also serves food from 8am-3pm, and a range of homemade cakes throughout the day. Sometimes you may find the weird and wonderful here, including such flavours as rose, pistachio, or lemon and poppy seed.
A bright pink beacon of caffeinated hope, Wired sits near the top of Pelham Street, near Hockley. If you’re looking for an evening drink to kick off a night of essay-writing, you’re in luck – Wired remains open until 7:30pm every weeknight. Wired arguably offers the most unique coffees in Nottingham; my recommendation would be one of their lavender lattes, or the rose iced coffee. This is only scratching the surface – white hot chocolates and chai lattes have also graced their weird and wonderful menu. Of course, if you just want your standard flat white, they will still have you covered.
Wired serves a limited lunch menu, but perhaps more impressive is their cake display, boasting giant rocky roads, almond slices topped with entire strawberries, and a strange creation that is one third doughnut, one third pastry and one third muffin. And most importantly, they have pretty decent wi-fi if you have work to do.
Now, all of the places on this list are very friendly and will often recognise their regulars. But the staff at Café Sobar absolutely go above and beyond when it comes to making their customers feel welcome and happy. Perhaps it’s the atmosphere, perhaps it’s the punny name, but the staff do feel uniquely cheerful every time I go inside. This café has a knack for brightening up your day.
The drinks sizes of this café are also worth a mention: a regular latte is easily the size of a large at other establishments. There is also a hefty range of teas to explore. And finally, there is also an enticingly affordable menu (with student discount!) on offer until 3pm that includes all-day breakfast. If you’ve had a big night the day before studying or partying and need a boost when you finally drag yourself out of bed, this is your place.
Cobden Place is the new kid on the block – it only opened up this week. But most importantly, it is the first café I have discovered that offers bottomless filter coffee for just £2.50. That’s right – pay for one coffee, and potentially consume dozens. It offers a decent range of loose-leaf teas for the discerning tea drinker as well. Most interestingly, it offers one of the larger ranges of gluten-free homemade goods I’ve seen in town. So, if this is a requirement in your diet, this may be a great place to spend a weekend afternoon.
The décor here is definitely worth highlighting: sourced entirely from vintage stores including a working cash register, this new café fits in perfectly with the rest of Cobden Chambers; a hipster paradise filled with an art gallery and several independent companies. It’s also off the main road, so it’s exceptionally peaceful.
Flying Horse Walk
If you’re thinking, ‘wait, I’ve seen this place before – isn’t this by the station?’ well, you’d be right – there are, in fact, two branches of local coffee roasters, 200 Degrees, in the city. But the café at Flying Horse Walk is an architectural feast. The building itself is hundreds of years old and has been tenderly renovated, resulting in a timber-framed café full of dark wood, velvet sofas and soft, cosy lighting. This is my top pick if you’re looking for a place to work – it has easy access to wi-fi and plenty of tables and plug sockets.
The coffee here is reliably good, with the classic lattes, flat whites, cappuccinos and americanos offered throughout the year. They are joined in the summer by cold brews, iced coffees and the affogato: espresso poured over a scoop of vanilla ice cream. You will also find a range of tasty sandwiches and cakes here until as late as 8pm on weekdays. This place hits the nail on the head with the balance of atmosphere and deliciousness.
If you’re looking to visit all of these, it might be worth looking into Kettle Society’s activities this year, as their town centre Café Crawls are very well-attended.
There are many other cafés in the City Centre I considered for my top five, including Cartwheel on Low Pavement, Fox Café and The Kitchen on Pelham Street, Delilah Fine Foods and Bird & Blend on Victoria Street, and Outpost Coffee in Hockley. If you’re looking to visit all of these, it might be worth looking into Kettle Society’s activities this year, as their town centre Café Crawls are very well-attended.
With cafés rising in popularity amongst students, new places are popping up every year, so there’s no shortage of places to go. Now you’re all set with locations for a good cuppa, you can start worrying about things like actually completing your degree. Happy sipping!
Featured image courtesy of Jenny Katte. Article images courtesy of Leila Craven. Image licence found here.
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