Oxford’s libraries are, I often find, difficult places to work in. Despite the history and beauty of my college library, it is, particularly during exam season, a constant hub of anxiety. As finals and prelims draw closer, college libraries and the Bodleian become charged with the presence of stressed finalists and frenzied first years. As Trinity term progresses, the distracting sound of manic typing gets increasingly loud, and the omnipresence of your hardworking tutorial partner gets even more exasperating.
If you’re looking to escape the tense atmosphere of your college library without ending up stuck in your room all day, Oxford’s café scene is the perfect opportunity. There are many hidden gems in Oxford when it comes to student-friendly, atmospheric cafés, and Green’s Café – located relatively centrally in the St Giles area – is one of these.
Tightly sandwiched between a newsagent and a pub, the café is an outwardly unimposing sight, which appears, upon first glance, to be tiny. Inside, however, the café is a two-story, atmospheric venue, which houses students on laptops, families eating, and friends having coffee dates. The café makes fresh produce onsite, each day, with organic, free range, and Fairtrade products, and it offers vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free food. With its friendly staff, free wi-fi, and spacious upstairs seating area, the café is perfect for those who prefer to write their tutorial essays in a relaxed, cosy setting.
Find the best upstairs spot, put your earphones in, and concentrate on your work whilst enjoying the café’s generous selection of food and drink. Green’s offers a wide selection of coffees – from delicious cappuccinos to chai lattes – as well as a huge array of TeaPigs teas and homemade smoothies and milkshakes. If you’re planning on eating lunch whilst you work – an endeavour prohibited by Oxford’s libraries – Green’s offers a wide range of pastas, jacket potatoes, paninis, soups, salads, and baguettes, all which are slightly more expensive than hall food, but reasonably priced considering the café’s central location – pasta costs £6.25, for example, jacket potatoes cost £5.25, and sandwich prices range from £3.70. The café also home-bakes scrumptious, moist cakes – many of which are gluten-free – which would all be excellent companions to a difficult essay. The cakes are, however, rather expensive, with prices of small slices ranging from £3.20.
So, if you’re desperate from a break from the library – and if you’re looking for a cosy, reasonably priced café to study in – Green’s is a great alternative. Finish your problem sheet over a slice of homemade banana and chocolate cake, perhaps, or write up your lab report whilst sipping on a hot chocolate.