It may be difficult for many students, especially those living on campus, to imagine frequenting a café that is not Grounds or Cupping Room. Those who are more ambitious may even make expeditions into the walking or cycling confines of the Inner North. However, for those of us making the off campus move, it makes sense to broaden our hangout and study spot horizons. Whether you’re searching for an original spot for a first date (and willing to cop an Uber fare) or simply wanting a new place to have brunch on a Sunday morning, I set out on an inter-suburb mission to add some new hotspots to my hit list.
For the daytime:
Double Shot – Deakin
I wake up wanting to kiss you is the catchphrase of this Instagram-worthy café nestled in the sleepy neighbourhood of Deakin. Whether you are sitting inside surrounded by the hanging plants, drop-down globes and stacked wooden logs or outside cozied up under the provided blankets and yellow umbrellas, you will feel just as one brunching should feel – the time is slower, the sun warmer and the sky bluer. I’d recommend the shakshouka baked eggs, the matcha latte or one of their incredible smoothies – adding ‘smoothie’ onto any flavour combo including malt and peanut butter is bound to reduce the calorie intake by at least half in my opinion. You can also build your own super salad or drop in for a takeaway cronut or a protein ball. Don’t forget to check out their seasonal specials as well – the winter gingerbread waffle sandwich with caramelised fig ice-cream, butterscotch sauce and candied pecans will take you days to recover from but is guaranteed worth it.
Bring your: quirkiest interstate friend.
Farmer’s Daughter – Yarralumla
The proximity of the Yarralumla kebab shop is certainly not the only reason to visit this little hideaway: tucked in between a gorgeous gift store and a Thai restaurant, you will find Farmer’s Daughter. You know that joyful shade of yellow that reminds you of summer and reading on the beach? This is the cornerstone of the colour scheme, and is guaranteed to bring you happiness. If that’s not enough, the milkshakes are a must try, as well as the macarons which are extra fluffy. It would be easy for an afternoon to leisurely slip by while you spend time with a book and coffee in hand. Extra points for the funky mural – you’ll have to go to see what I’m talking about – and for the super friendly staff.
Bring your: friend that’s always there for you to show them that you care.
Raven and Rose – Kingston
I’m all about a bit of alliteration in my café names, which is why Raven and Rose drew me in on one of my rare trips to Kingston. If you’re looking for an excuse to head across the lake that isn’t Brodburger, I would recommend trying this little corner café. It’s light and open, and has an extensive menu – the perfect place to end an afternoon stroll through the quaint Kingston village. The coffee was strong and a perfect temperature, and the service was brisk.
Bring your: housemate to get away from your usual routine.
For the night time:
Tilly’s – Lyneham
This is one that’s actually suited for both day and night. During the day, it’s a quiet study spot that evokes a moody stroll through the streets of Paris just moments before ducking in for un café. At night, it transforms into a très français bistro complete with a jazz band. With a range of small booths and larger tables, this is a perfect place for an intimate drink or larger gathering. If the piano and double bass isn’t enough to get you going, they offer a huge range of old school cocktails and a decadent chocolate cake which is just as good for the designated driver.
Bring your: parents because they secretly love a jazz band.
The Old Canberra Inn – Lyneham
Ever craved that Scandinavian cabin in the woods vibe within the comforts of Canberra? Look no further than The Old Canberra Inn, another gem courtesy of Lyneham. It’s a small, sleepy cabin-style inn, and the million dollar seats are of course the leather armchairs by the fire. This is the kind of place I would imagine Father Christmas having a whiskey with his friends. It is warm and inviting, with a crowd that would be happy to strike up and deep and meaningful conversation as they warm their bums at the fire. Try to get in earlyish to snag a seat, or if you’re coming with a group of friends the space is small enough for a ‘stand and mingle’ without feeling like you’re loitering. This is the perfect winter spot, and with a whole collection of craft beers, snacks and sticky date pudding, your night is set to be as cosy as can be – you may even see a reindeer on your way home.
Bring your: friends who can co-ordinate festive sweaters.
The Duxton – O’Connor
Are you a later-year student craving some night-time fun without sticky shoes and too many regrets in the morning? Enter The Duxton – an exceptionally versatile space that’s perfect for anything from a 21st in the Loft to a casual game of pool with your mates. It literally has it all – a softly lit courtyard, a rooftop terrace, a bistro and a bar. The Loft is especially groovy, with a beautiful view of the leafy suburb of O’Connor and Telstra Tower in the distance. I’d go for an evening meal in summer that leads into a few drinks too many and lots of laughs. There is Duxton Delux Trivia every Wednesday to cure those mid-week blues, and live entertainment every Friday and Saturday night to add an extra kick to your weekend. For the young professionals still craving that weeknight fun, there is ‘Suits and Sips’ in the Loft every Thursday from 5pm – who wouldn’t risk a Friday morning hangover for $10 Vanilla Espresso Martinis?
Bring your: new crush here on a date – they are bound to be impressed.