Thursday, 7 March 2013

Books & Beans

I thought I'd start something new on the blog, sharing and recommending some local spaces and places I've frequented throughout Aberdeen City and Shire. You know the sort of thing: coffee and food spots; museums; vintage retailers; galleries; local landmarks and other points of interest (but, let's face it, mostly just coffee and food) that I think are worth a visit.

It took me a while, but I eventually cottoned on that it wouldn't actually be anything new  - Last Bus Cafe anyone? - and that, well, my opinion doesn't really carry much clout. But I decided to roll with it anyway.

First (or second, whatever) on the list is Aberdeen's Books and Beans. 

A coffee shop, secondhand book store and internet cafe, Books and Beans can be found at 22 Belmont Street (just off Union Street) in the city centre of Aberdeen. 

Abandon all notions of dusty shelves, bad lighting and musty smelling books and think bright, modern, colourful space, book-filled walls that call to mind that scene in Beauty and the Beast, and lots of comfortable seats. The cafe is Fairtrade (which, if you read my other blog, you'll know has been on my mind a lot of late) and caters well for vegetarians, selling a variety of soups, sandwiches and paninis, an assortment of delicious-looking cakes and tray-bakes and a hot drinks menu to rival any mainstream coffee chain. Last time I was in, my friend and I both sampled a "Chai Bomb" (hers spicy; mine vanilla) - a chai latte with a shot of espresso - which I'd definitely recommend.

Whether you're sampling some of their treats or just browsing the shelves for a cheap book, there's something about the atmosphere in Books and Beans that makes it easy to understand why it's become such a staple part of Aberdeen life. Coffee, books and the freedom to really stop and enjoy both -- what more could anyone want?!

(Well, how's about a poetry evening? They host one of those on the last Thursday of every month. I haven't been yet, but I definitely hope to at some point.)

The only let down in Books and Beans' brilliance is their closing time of 4:30pm (4pm at weekends) which seems remarkably early to me and is worth keeping in mind if you pay them a visit. That said, last time I dropped by they were packed full of customers to the very last minute, which I think speaks volumes in itself.

So.. Next time you find yourself on Union Street in need of a mid-shopping caffeine fix, fore-go those coffee-chain giants (no matter how much enjoyment you find in having them scribble strange names on your cup) and support somewhere local and independent instead.


  1. I love Books & Beans! It's a lovely place to while away the afternoon. As you say, it has a great atmosphere. I had no idea about the poetry evening - must check it out, sounds fab :) Lj x

    1. Doesn't it sound brilliant? I'm picturing hardcore slam poets with dreadlocks and fiery words. It's probably more grannies with knitting needles and neatly rhyming ends but, either way, I'm intrigued!

  2. Wow, this place looks so cool!

  3. This looks magical! In North Carolina our used book stores aren't as cute but I did find an astronauts training manual from the 1980's on our most recent trip. Can't wait to blow up some of the "how to put on a space suit images" and put them in a frame!!

    1. Yeah, most of ours aren't so cute either - mostly badly laid out charity shops with that weird old person smell. But hey!
      Your astronaut book sounds like quite the find! I would never think of blowing the pictures up for framing, but that's such a clever idea!