One of the most popular cities in the country, York is easy to fall in love with for those that can see past its tourist hotspots. A good coffee can set you up for a long day exploring and this guide will show you the best cafes and coffee shops in York!
Having lived in York for over 7 years up to 2017 and regularly returning for weekends in the city, I have spent many a morning searching for the best cafes and coffee shops in York (and of course the best places for a beer in York too!) There are many independent cafes all over the city but you really need to know where to look to find that perfect flat white, the smoothest hot chocolate or the strongest mug of Yorkshire tea.
I’ve only developed my love for coffee very recently, since becoming a Father obviously, so I’m a bit disappointed that I didn’t get to experience all of the amazing coffee that is served up in cafes across York. However, we always visited cafes away from the tourist hotspots in an attempt to find a peaceful safe haven before venturing back onto the streets. There are some incredible places that serve up exceptional brunches that would give those found in Melbourne a run for their money. This guide is going to take us through my thoughts on the best cafes and coffee shops in York and I’m hoping that this helps plan where to refuel on your next trip to this beautiful city!
THE BEST CAFES AND COFFEE SHOPS IN YORK
You’ll find Kiosk Cafe down my favourite street in York; Fossgate. Fossgate is full of independent shops, pubs and cafes and Kiosk manages to squeeze between them all in a very small space next to the entrance to the Merchant Adventurers Hall. Along with Spring Espresso below, Kiosk probably serves the best coffee in York if I’m honest. Top marks for serving the drinks in the iconic Huskee cups too. Kiosk all serve food and the focaccia sarnies are something worth returning for if not for the coffee! There are only a few seats indoors but, if the weather’s alright, there are two tables outside where you can sip your latte and soak in the atmosphere of this wonderful area of York
FortyFive Vinyl Cafe
Now we’re talking; FortyFive Vinyl Cafe is exactly my kind of place. Great coffee, beers if you want them, grilled cheese sandwiches and music played on vinyl all day long. I loved spending a few hours here working on my travel blog whilst having a few coffees before seeing whether there was anything I could add to my record collection. For vinyl lovers, there’s something for everyone and, if live music is your thing, there are regular acoustic shows on throughout the month. FortyFive Vinyl Cafe is also dog friendly which is a good thing to know if we’re to return to the city with our cockapoo.
With two cafes in York, one on Fossgate and one on Lendal, Spring Espresso is taking artisan coffee to another level. It’s no wonder that Spring Espresso has landed itself a spot in Britain’s top 30 coffee shops! I visited the Fossgate cafe about half an hour before it closed at 5pm so was only able to grab a takeaway flat white but there was plenty of space to kick back and relax if you were here earlier. Food is served all day long too with some incredible looking brunch and lunch options.
I’m not entirely sure whether Shambles Kitchen counts as a ‘café’ but it’s unreal so I’m including it anyway. Found on its namesake street, Shambles Kitchen has been one of York’s most famous ‘grab and go’ sandwich shops for years. If you can’t find it, just follow the smell of slow cooked meats! There are no seats here so just order straight from the window. Don’t miss these sandwiches, they are so so good! Think artisanal bread stuffed to the brim with 8 hour cooked pulled pork (The Harry Trotter) or a beef Reuben (The Dick Turpin) or roasted cauliflower and and chickpeas (The Camilla). There’s a chicken or vegan shawarma too plus a kids ham and cheese sandwich with ham, blow torched cheese and apple BBQ sauce. Sounds good right?
The Dark Horse Espresso Bar
If you’re looking for a high quality takeaway coffee or a quick bite to eat, look no further than the Dark Horse Espresso Bar in the Shambles Market. Laura and Mark, whilst originally from York, take inspiration from their time spent in Australia and and serve up great coffee and gourmet toasties right from this customised horse box.
Rise offers in my opinion the best brunch in York and I’m not just saying that because Rise originates from Preston (I’m a huge Preston North End fan). We visited here for my sister’s 30th birthday and it was the perfect place to get together, relax and celebrate. Both the décor and vibe were ultra cool I had to try a few different drinks with such a varied menu from the usual hot drinks offerings to homemade lemonade and smoothies. The flat white was smooth in all the right ways and the matcha latte was lovely. For brunch, I couldn’t steer away from the breakfast roll filled with a sausage patty, chilli jam, soft scrambled eggs and cheese. All for £8. The French toast also looked insane and, if you’re a bit of a late starter, you can order sandwiches from 12pm onwards such as the classic Reuben sandwich.
Rise also offers some pretty cool merch too if you fancy remembering just how good your brunch was in the form of a t-shirt. I bought my sister one as an extra present and she still wears it now!
A little surprise addition to this list but quite possibly the best place in York for a quick bite to eat for lunch. This deli sells all manner of high quality food produce including cheeses and charcuterie which can be added to a sandwich pretty much however which way you fancy. I always visited here for a workplace lunch (or Krusties opposite – RIP) with my order being freshly hand-carved ham on the bone, homemade coleslaw and homemade piccalilli all piled into a bread bun. My taste buds are tingling right now as I write this so if you’re looking for a nice and easy place to grab a bite to eat (takeaway only), head to Henshelwoods Delicatessan near the Shambles Market.
Newgate Coffee Bar
Newgate Coffee Bar is a very cosy café just by the Shambles Market. We used to come here quite regularly and knew we had to return straight here when we had a one night stay at The Grand Hotel after our wedding. It’s a great location to take a minute, ponder your thoughts before carrying on with your day; whether that’s heading to all of the top tier York attractions or trying yet more of the best cafes and coffee shops in York. The hot chocolates are to die for here with often a wide range of flavours available including Maltesers!
Brew & Brownie
Open since 2013, Brew & Brownie have two locations in York from where they offer freshly cooked food with ingredients sourced as locally as possible alongside all of your usual barista-made coffees, teas and hot chocolates. Brew & Brownie don’t just serve brownies (though they have many of those!), the menu features pancakes, french toast, smashed avocado on sourdough toast and their take on the full English. If you’re arriving into York on the train, it would be a great idea to head straight to Brew & Brownie on Museum Street before beginning your perfect day in York.
Gatehouse Coffee is probably the most unique café in the whole of city and, if you’re walking the city walls (which you must, it’s one of the best things to do in York), you’ll no doubt stumble in here for refreshments. As the name suggests, the café is housed inside of an iconic medieval barbican; a gateway entrance to the city of York. It’s apparently the only intact medical barbican in the world! There’s also an incredible terrace where you can sit outside and admire excellent views back towards York Minster. This church run café offers exceptional speciality coffee courtesy of Allpress Espresso and I’ve even seen a toasted salted caramel hot chocolate on offer over the colder months!
Coffee Culture is a proper local cafe on Goodroomgate split over three floors in this old building. The coffee here is a blend created specifically for Coffee Culture by York Emporium so you can be assured of a great cup to recharge your batteries. There are always many delicious looking homemade cakes that you can eye up from the window and I know I need to return to taste test those cannoli!
I’m so glad I’ve finally managed to pull together all of the best cafes and coffee shops in York right here. There will no doubt be many other new additions over times but I’m looking forward to returning to the city and working my way round as many coffee shops as possible!
Hopefully this post helps you plan your trip to York and, if you need any more tips or have any recommendations or your own, let me know in the comments below!
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