When it comes to coffeehouses, Glasgow’s cup (mug?) runneth over. It’s difficult to think of a Starbucks from which it isn’t possible to see another Starbucks. Branches of Costa Coffee lurk in otherwise unassuming bookshops. There are coffee shops in trees, in postboxes, in the sky. What makes Beanscene so special?
Well, for a start it’s a local-ish independent chain rather than a large multinational. Always nice to support small businesses. Also, as coffee-shop-fare goes, the food is superb and the portions unstinting. The chicken nachos, in particular, are outstanding, and come buried under a massive pile of salsa and jalapenos and sour cream. The tapas plates are maybe a little overpriced for the size of portion, but the paninis are excellent value and the cheese board constitutes a frankly unreasonable amount of cheese. Avoid the baked potatoes, as they’re microwaved and consequently aren’t any good. There’s a separate kids menu and high-chairs can be provided on request.
Of the several Beanscenes dotted around Glasgow, the Woodlands branch has the friendliest staff and seems to be occasionally favoured as a shooting location by local television productions. This branch is also wheelchair-accessible (most are, but you may wish to call ahead) and has several comfy leather sofas mixed in amongst the seating. A recent refurbishment has left Beanscene airier and more open than before.
The coffee? It’s alright. Nothing special. Don’t go for the coffee, go for the atmosphere. And the nachos. And the wee cakes.