Content Warnings: Food
As much as I love The Teaching and Learning Building, campus can be a little repetitive at times. Sometimes it’s nice to refresh your study space, and the city has lots of cute places to offer. Excitingly, we no longer have to YouTube ‘rainy coffee shop ambiance’ or ‘coffee shop acoustic’ to get ourselves through studying. Plus there’s the addition of yummy cake.
Waterstones Café is a great place to study. Not only is the coffee pretty good, but you’re surrounded by books, which definitely encourages academic vibes (and maybe some unhealthy spending habits). The café has plug sockets which is great for a long study session and there’s usually a few tables free so it’s reliable any time of day. Booklovers will love this, and it definitely makes your studying something to look forward to rather than a chore! One downside is the tables are pretty low down, but it’s a small price to pay for an all-round wholesome experience.
If you’re looking for an aesthetic café that looks straight from your Pinterest board, this is the place to go. Yorks has a cosy, hip vibe that makes you want to stay all day, and they roast their own coffee, so coffee connoisseurs are guaranteed a good time. It is slightly small, so you may not want to stay for a long study session, but it’s great to treat yourself, and right outside New Street station, so easily accessible. Their food menu is exciting and inventive, with fun brunch items including ‘Chicago honey fried chicken’ and tasty cakes like their ‘matcha brownie’.
Boasting similar cosy and aesthetic vibes to Yorks, 200 Degrees is the study space of dark academic dreams. Very close to New Street, there’s an exciting buzz, creating a fun and motivating atmosphere, making it a great place to meet and study with friends. Its décor is equally exciting, with cosy lights, and a neon light fireplace to pretend you’re in a Hogwarts library. Though it may not be the place for the peak of exam season, it’s a great spot to get some casual work done, whilst having an enjoyable time. It will also look great on your Instagram.
Located in Bournville, a beautiful spot a short train ride (or walk) from Selly Oak, Kafenion is an eclectic and cosy independent coffee shop. Away from the buzz of the city, Bournville is picturesque and peaceful – perfect for a slow and productive day of study. Serving tasty and homemade food – you can get a warm bowl of soup, a boujee sandwich or a great pastry. They also have pretty amazing hot chocolates – which my whole house can attest to. Once you’re done with studying, you can explore the quaint centre of the village, which has an independent bookshop, bakery and many other small businesses.
The list here is amazing – but I couldn’t let it go up without a mention of the café I’ve fallen in love with recently – Cherry Red’s. Being super close to New Street station, it’s fairly convenient, relatively cheap and the drinks, for lack of a better word, slap. The only metric I can give for this is the only drink I order there: a delicious mocha for £2.90[*] (though my friends tell me the other drinks, and cakes, are also pretty good). Plus, last week a fly landed in my housemate’s drink so they gave her a second one for free. Take from that what you will. The only downside in my opinion is a lack of outlets – though I just like to consider my laptop’s battery a restriction on how much time I can spend working.
[*EDIT: This has now gone up to £3.20. Still, not bad.]