Great independent cafes near campus

University of Leeds
6 min readAug 18, 2021

There’s so many amazing cafes within a few minutes walk of campus, and our intrepid author Bethan, a Masters student has spent a LOT of time doing the research for you. Here, she’s served up a report of the best places to grab a drink, catch up with friends or refuel after a busy day in the library.

If you’re looking for your favourite cafe on campus — here’s our choices for you!

Cafes near campus

Bakery 164

Possibly producing the most famous sandwiches in Hyde Park situated opposite Parkinson, Bakery 164 is the go-to student lunch spot. Serving up freshly baked focaccia and ciabatta sandwiches with a huge range of filling options to choose from. They also serve a selection of cakes, cookies and muffins as well as pizza slices too. Bakery 164 also offer to toast your sandwich for an extra 30p and with it being takeaway only the perfect spot to eat these are on Parkinson steps! Instagram: @bakery164

Rand

Rand is the perfect spot for coffee in between lectures while supporting an independent business. Situated opposite Parkinson building it has both indoors and outdoor seating which is perfect for catching up on some work. Rand is part of Rand Coffee Roastery, a family-owned speciality coffee company established in 2010. The coffee beans are roasted in store and then served up daily. As well as coffee they also offer milkshakes, sandwiches, and a range of cakes and other sweet treats. Instagram: @randcoffeeroastery

Hyde Park cafes

Coffee on the Crescent

Located in Hyde Park along Woodhouse Lane, Coffee on the Crescent is an independent café serving coffee, patisseries, and craft beers. The coffee is roasted here in Leeds and therefore changes daily, the selection of sandwiches and patisseries on offer each day also vary, with flavours on offer being updated on their Instagram stories as well as serving up the best meat and vegan sausage rolls.

Coffee on the Crescent have both indoor and outdoor seating (in the birdcage) and is a perfect spot for catching up on some work. Being situated in Hyde Park it means they are a central spot for most students and with them offering takeaway it is also the perfect time to grab a coffee for that walk into campus. Instagram: @coffeeonthecrescent

Hyde Park Book Club

Hyde Park Book Club is a bit of a hidden gem — still on Woodhouse Lane but being up past Hyde Park Pub and on the very edge of Hyde Park it can often get missed. Hyde Park Book Club not only serves food but is also home to Hyde Park bottle shop and Hyde Park jazz club and Hyde Park flower club. Serving up all vegetarian dishes but with meat alternatives items on the menu include eggs Florentine, brunch flatbreads and extremely good club sandwiches! Hyde Park Book Club also offer a dinner menu which starts at 4pm where you can expect to find burgers, loaded fries and a variety of small plates. With both indoors and outdoor tables and very reasonable prices this is one of the perfect places to go with friends. Instagram: @hydeparkbookclub

Headingley

Fika North

Fika North is situated within Headingley and therefore may not be your go to coffee stop however, the bagels are incredible (smoked salmon is a must try) and the iced coffees are delicious. It is definitely a place not to miss out on. They also feature guest bakers giving independent bakers an opportunity to show off their bakes and for everyone else to pick up something new and exciting! Additionally, they serve cocktails in the evening which is such a nice touch. Instagram: @fikanorth

Bowery

Bowery is a café and creative space in Headingley serving up Allpress coffee, home baked cakes, savouries, sweet treats, pastries, freshly made sandwiches and salad and grain bowls. Everything on the menu is extremely reasonably priced perfect for students. There is not much seating area in here for working but for a quick lunch or snack it's perfect. Instagram: @boweryleeds

Cafes in the city

Brod Sandwich Bar

Situated just off from Millennium Square, Brod is an independent sandwich bar serving up some of the best sandwiches in the city centre. You pretty much have free reign on your sandwich including bread, fillings, sauces and whether it’s hot or cold! The chilli cheese baguette is not to be missed out on and they also feature a variety of special sandwich fillings daily. As well as producing amazing sandwiches, they also have a wide range of sweet treats including brownies and blondies. Being a sandwich bar, it is just take away but with Millennium and Park Square being close by to sit and eat. Additionally, with it being just on the outside of the city centre it is very close walking distance from The Edge, Roger Stevens, City Side and Central Village. Instagram: @brodsandwichbar

Wolfox Leeds

Located a bit further away into town yet still only a half hour walk from Hyde Park, Wolfox is the perfect place for an instagramable brunch with your friends or whether your just after a brilliant place to work. Roasting its own coffee and selling food ranging from their take on a full English and sweetcorn fritters to smoothie bowls and overnight oats this place is not to be missed out on. It is also such a light and airy venue with so many tables all very well-spaced out making it an amazing spot for studying in that perfect café environment. Instagram: @wolfoxleeds

If up North — Call Lane/York Place

If up North is a café serving speciality coffee, brunch and bottomless brunch! If up North have three venues; Call Lane, Vicar Lane and York place all serving house espresso from North Star Coffee Roasters with alternative milks available. On York Place you’ll find in house baking, lunches and lots of workspace! Call Lane is where you’ll find brunch and Vicar Lane Is take away only serving coffee, sandwiches and fresh bakes. All venues are around 30–40-minute walk from Parkinson building but if you live at Central Village, City Side or even at Leeds Dock these may be spots you want to get to know! Instagram: @ifupnorth

North Star Coffee Shop

North Star is a speciality coffee establishment offering amazing coffee, fresh bakes from nova bakehouse and a seasonal food menu. You will struggle finding better coffee than at North Star! (unless you visit a café that sells North Star!!) They offer two espressos both different in flavour and occasionally special processed coffees for customers to try. There are also quite a few tables within the café, in an industrial style setting making it the perfect work spot. If you live at Leeds Dock this should definitely be your local! Instagram: @northstarcoffeeshop

Fint

Fint is a Scandinavian inspired restaurant open for breakfast, brunch and dinner situated on Great George Street with a friendly happy and relaxed environment. Situated just behind the hospital, it is close to Central Village, City Side and the university campus making it a good spot for grabbing a coffee, takeaway or brunch. The food looks stunning and definitely has that wow factor.

Other amazing independent cafes to discover:

  • Gron Kafe (Roundhay)
  • House of Koko (Chapel Allerton)
  • Residence 74 (Otley Old Road)
  • Olive and Rye (City Centre)
  • Laynes Espresso (City Centre)
  • Mrs Athas (City Centre)

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