Bites: Literary haunts

The word is out: here are cafés and hang-outs known to literary and bookish types

By Caroline Stacey
Saturday 29 March 2003 01:00

Café at GOMA, 111 Queen Street, Glasgow (0141-229 1996)

As if Glasgow's Gallery of Modern Art wasn't cultured enough, a lovely new lending library – the only one open on Sunday in the city that gave us The Book Group – was added in the basement last summer. The café attached to the library is ideal for grazing bookworms. Come in for coffee, sandwiches, cakes and crisps (shh, keep the crunching down), read magazines and newspapers at a table, or pick up a book and slump in a sofa with a snack.

Live Café, Bar and Bistro, Live Theatre, Broad Chare, Quayside, Newcastle (0191 2321331)

Live Theatre is the hub of Newcastle's thriving literary scene, and when the attached downstairs bar and upstairs bistro were taken over by local restaurateur Terence Laybourne at the end of last year, an appetising new chapter began. Roll up for great grub like spring rolls with crab and ginger vinaigrette, and roast monkfish with red pepper relish and champ in the first-floor bistro. Writers do make it up there, though the downstairs bar serves drinks and snacks all day too.

Poetry Café, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2 (020-7420 9880;

Poets and others in the know treasure the Poetry Society's Covent Garden HQ for the wholesome and bright café as well as the many events. Regular users pay £15 annual membership, but if you're only eating you can just sign in. Neal's Yard cheeses, Portuguese custard tarts – and soups, salads and puds made on the spot provide the rhyme and reason for coming.

Troubadour, 265 Old Brompton Road, London SW5 (020-7370 1434)

Every haunt for garret-dwelling artists should look like this Earls Court café. The collection of coffee pots has been gathering dust at the window since the Beat poets, the coffee and food aren't the draw, but the atmosphere is the real thing, of artistic ambitions yet to be realised. When they are, the Groucho Club probably calls. Poetry, folk and general boho events downstairs, too.

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