Campus Capuccino?

Whether pre-lash cocktails or post-lash debrief, the Muse Food and Drink team show you all that the University food venues have to offer

Cartoon by Brandon Seager

Cartoon by Brandon Seager

The enterprising Nouse Food and Drink team have decided to undertake the arduous task of reviewing all the campus eateries for your benefit: we have sacrificed our very dignity by eating in Cafe Barista, we have quietly and suavely read the news over coffee in the Courtyard, and we have sipped a stylish cocktail (or three) in the Lounge, all for your benefit. The things we do in the name of journalism. Here are the results of our intrepid meanderings from distant Alcuin to positively southerly James, to discover the best that campus has to offer.

Library Cafe: The library is literally such a hub, that I don’t think even the customers can handle it. There are plenty of comfy chairs and little corners to work, you are offered the full range of Costa coffees, pastry and cakes, there are even gluten free options. My order of pasta and meatballs was delicious and perfectly sized – all in all, delightful.

Vanbrugh Food Court: If you’re a grumpy hungover student, or simply in need of some pick me up comfort food, go to the Vanbrugh Food Court. Although none of the food is cooked to perfection, and isn’t very suitable for the more health conscious, as a good student grubby meal, it’s just right before a long day in the library.

VBar: As a pre-drink base, a social space where many a tense society meeting has been held, or as a music venue for various campus events, VBar is a great social space. The separation of seating areas works to great effect, providing comfy seats for a post-lash debrief, and large tables for congregations of serious-looking societies. It serves good coffee, and has the added bonus of a discounted sweet treat every day.

Courtyard: One of the most popular food joints on campus, offering an all-day menu and live sports screenings. It is nearly always packed, but with comfortable sofas and a pool table, this is hardly surprising. The menu caters to a student budget yet offers foods that might not feature on your weekly shop, although there is often a long queue for ordering. They serve well-presented hot food, with paninis and burgers being particularly nom-able, but desserts are not their forte and definitely not worth the money.

Heslington East

Heslington East

Wentworth Edge: The haunt of the postgrad, Edge conjures images of pallid school dinners and mystery meat in gloopy sauce, but I was pleasantly surprised with the buzz of a coffee shop. The staff were friendly, helpful and prompt, the portions of food would certainly keep you going through a long day of studying, and I’ll definitely be getting coffee from there again.

The Lounge: Known to ye olde thirde yeares as McQ’s, it is a surprising experience. As a cocktail bar it is a great success, despite its proximity to the distinctly banal James dining area. Two cocktails for £5 despite their slightly silly college-related names, is nevertheless a good deal, and the bar staff are friendly and efficient. A great stop-off before heading into town, the Lounge provides a chilled out atmosphere for a couple of drinks or a good gossip.

Cafe Barista: Welcomed by the hum of the fridge cabinets lining the walls, Café Barista is a coffee shop which lacks atmosphere but is frequently used. It has friendly staff and serves decent coffee; it is a shame that the place closes at 3. The space, tables and sofas are still, however, very much in use after opening hours.

B Henry’s: Alcuin’s college bar might be named after a legendary porter, but with short opening hours from 10 to 3, it is more of a cafe than a bar. It is popular with the post-grads and University staff, offering a variety of hot foods at lunchtime including homemade soups, jacket potatoes, burgers, nachos and pizzas. There are also sandwiches, wraps and salad bowls that are convenient for takeaways.

D Bar: If it is fair to say that Derwent College is the social heart of campus life (this reviewer may or may not be in Derwent), then D bar must be considered the aorta. Historic host of much hyped festival Big D, messy mini Club Ds, pub quizzes and open mic nights, it holds place for Derwenters as much more than just a glorified Costa. Infamous niggles – such as the lack of cashback – do not taint the decent student prices, healthy lunchtime portions, and weekend wedges for big screen sports viewing.

Glasshouse: The drinks options and menu in this small bar are almost identical to that at Courtyard. We enjoyed a happily traditional and hearty pub-style dinner, although the atmosphere was somewhat lacking (even for Hes East it was notably quiet). On the other hand, the clean and cosy range of seating and pool tables made us think that maybe it’s more of an evening sort of a place.

Best Atmosphere: DBar
Best Value: Library Cafe
Best Cocktail: The Lounge
Best Meal: Courtyard

One comment

  1. You seem to have missed both Cookies in Biology and The Hub Cafe (great paninis, pretty good coffee) and Cafe Society (no hot food, glorified tuck shop but better coffee) on Hes East. Oh and the Costa in the Sports Village sells paninis and bacon sarnies so that might count.

    I can forgive you for missing Quarks (as it’s pre-booked only) and the Roger Kirk Centre (because I believe it’s still pretty dire despite such innovations as Wok On! and a Costa).

    Thanks though for the reminder that B Henry’s still exists. I make have to make the trip there myself to see this with my own er tastebuds.

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