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When it comes to settling down to study, students instinctively think of the Library. Fortunately for them, the Second City is currently undergoing a caffeinated renaissance, and the Birmingham and Black Country area is now home to a whole host of fantastic, cosy cafés which provide the perfect environment to work and enjoy delicious local food.
These cafes provide a fantastic alternative to campus life and the chance to explore the local region; where it’s possible to both experience affordable culinary delights and great places to study.
Urban Coffee Company – Church Street and Big Peg, Birmingham.
Housed in a hollowed out Victorian building, Urban Church Street is a must visit café just outside of the City Centre. Hidden behind the Parisian grandeur of Colmore Row, this relaxed coffee shop serves up all the regular espresso based drinks, as well as a vast range of filter coffees, sandwiches and hot food.
Branch out a bit more and visit the Jewellery Quarter. The Big Peg is a striking testament to modernism. On the ground floor Urban serve up their full menu which caters to all requirements in their style. Those in possession of an Independent Birmingham card can also enjoy a hot drink of their choice, plus a slice of their amazing cake for less than five pounds. Bargain!
Zuri Coffee – Lichfield Street, Wolverhampton.
A short train, tram or bus ride from Birmingham and you will find yourself in another of the West Midlands’ cities; full of grand industrial and Georgian buildings; Wolverhampton has no shortage of cafés to indulge in. Among these, Zurich Coffee is surely one of the best. It boasts an impressive five star trip advisor rating which could not be more well deserved. Somewhat more bizarrely, it also features AstroTurf as a table decoration (but we won’t speak about that).
‘Desi Pubs’ are a Black Country speciality are popping up all over the region. Zuri sets the tone for a new ‘Desi Café’ with their amazing coffee accompanied with incredible Indian treats. Vegans and vegetarians will also be spoilt for choice. The café is situated just a few minutes’ walk from Wolverhampton Interchange and Wolverhampton St George’s.
Whilst here, it is also possible to visit the Art Gallery which houses a world class Pop Art collection, as well as the National Cold War Exhibition. When it comes to procrastination, it’s always worth making a day of it!
Edwardian Tea Rooms – BMAG, Centenary Square.
The perfect place to do some work, catch up with friends, or bring your parents to when they visit; the Edwardian Tea Rooms offer something for everyone. A coffee or a full three course meal can be enjoyed within the magnificent surrounds of this listed building in the heart of the city centre. I would personally recommend their full afternoon tea which cannot be matched for its price. Snuggle into a leather Chesterfield, tea in hand, and reminisce about times gone by hundreds of years before you were born. This is another great spot which accepts the Independent Birmingham Card, offering the chance to receive ten percent discounts. So, for all those sitting on the fence about having that extra scone, go for it!
These places are just a few of many fantastic cafes making up the city’s local café scene. World class restaurants and fantastic dineries are opening in an endless stream across the region, so jump out of your comfort zone, and dive in.
Written by Chris Burden
The UoB Linguist Magazine
Guild of Students,
University of Birmingham