Cafe W is a little-known treasure of the coffee scene in Oxford.
Three floors up in Waterstones at the corner where Cornmarket meets Broad Street, it’s a quiet place, and it feels a long way from the crush of central Oxford.
With three big windows looking down George Street and up towards the Ashmolean, the room is well lit with natural light.
Often busy, but somehow never full, motivating yourself to work is easy when you’re surrounded by books you haven’t read.
There’s a good selection of cakes and biscuits. The scones, which come with authentic jam and cream, are a particular highlight and are very hard to resist when you’re in the middle of an essay crisis.
While the absence of filter coffee on the hot drinks menu is regrettable, pots of Earl Grey for only £2 make up for it.
The wide variety of milks on offer – including the seriously underrated almond and soya – is good if you’re not so into dairy.
A lot of coffee shops in Oxford end up feeling dark and cramped.
The floor-to-ceiling windows in Cafe W make it bright and airy, with plenty of sky.
Working is best when you can look away from the screen and out, down onto the road.
If you’re working on a computer, sockets are scarce, and the tables – oakwood – are a little small. But some coffee shops feel like too much of a workplace, and Cafe W doesn’t.
The distance Cafe W puts between itself and the street, and the fact that there are people there who aren’t writing essays, means that even work can feel like an escape from the insular environment of academic life in Oxford.
If you’re bored of The Missing Bean and Turl Street Kitchen, Cafe W is definitely worth a try.
Spacious, bright and relaxed, it’s everything a coffee shop should be.