Words by Hannah Cannon
As a city, Brighton houses 363 coffee houses, which is the equivalent of one cafe per eight hundred people. As well as this, only 9% of these cafes are mainstream branches; unsurprising considering the unbelievable number of quirky, independent coffee houses populating the city.
It is difficult to wander through Brighton without coming across a high volume of both mainstream coffee branches (including Costa, Starbucks, or Cafe Nero) as well as niche independent cafes. Just walking through town myself I found a total of twelve cafes whilst walking to the seafront. This has become a key characteristic of Brighton, having so many independent, artisan cafes parked next store to the big name branches. Everywhere seems to have its own niche, making them so attractive.
This rise of cafes is not exclusive to the city with multiple coffee shops dotted throughout campus. Room 76 is perhaps the busiest cafe on campus providing a lively social atmosphere and delicious affordable drinks and snacks with the Arts Piazza a close second, providing a more adult vibe. The library cafe and the ACCA cafe are much more laid back, study oriented space whilst maintaining the typical warm cafe ambience. The Dhaba and the Sussex Innovation Centre are the more obscure coffee shops on campus, I have found. Both provide a cosy, comforting air whilst being slightly quieter than other campus cafes. Last but not least, there is a Starbucks on the ground floor of the Jubilee building, bringing the grand total number of campus cafes to a brilliant seven!
The cafes are full of an interesting mix of students filling their time studying or reading between classes and people socialising, catching up with friends and sharing a drink. They seem to have become a welcoming, relaxed alternative to the quiet of the library. It seems the allure of the campus cafes is the feeling of a reward for your studying efforts with a treat as well as feeling free to speak and relax. The cafes on campus seem to have followed the culture of the cafes in town.
Historically, cafes were introduced as an alternative to taverns and bars where individuals could socialise and purchase non-alcoholic beverages. It seems this tradition has been thriving in Brighton and Hove. Cafes in town are full to the brim with tired students sipping lattes and hot chocolates pouring over their laptops and leaching off the free wifi, as well as gatherings of business people discussing their new projects over americanos and teas. Cafes have become notorious for productivity, feeling rewarded both for completing your tasks and getting out of the house.
Following social isolation, I think we all are able to appreciate simple outings. With times being so busy since our return to the Spring term, it is getting harder and harder to find time to make space for mindful journeys and activities. Going for a short stroll to a cosy cafe scratches that wanderer’s itch- as well as not taking away from your study time. Cafes have become a hot spot for students both in town and out, supplying calm spaces to boost your creativity, allow you to actively socialise happily and of course, to quench your thirst.
Photo credits: Hannah Cannon