While some of you have had three or four weeks to settle back into the college lifestyle and revisit your old haunts, first years and second years that didn’t get to visit Cork City last year will be looking for a new favourite café or restaurant. Cork is a big city. Maybe you’ve already found your new favourite place right beside U.C.C. or around MTU’s campus, but I have some spots for you in the city centre that you have to check off your college bucket list, and some places you might not have heard of before.

Izz Café

This Palestinian café may be more of a national treasure rather than a hidden gem but it is somewhere that all newcomers to Cork city should try out. Run by Izz and Eman Alkarajeh out of their premises on George’s Quay, their coffee is homemade and their selection of Palestinian dishes and treats are to die for. I got their cinnamon bun and a slice of coffee cake with an Americano last year and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. Every meal since has been tainted by the sweet cinnamon goodness I got in Izz.

Check them out someday you have a free afternoon. Facing the College of Commerce across the river, this café is accessible to all post-Leaving Cert students in the city.

Cupcake Cottage

Not too far from Izz café is a little shop that sells cupcakes that you’ll sell your soul for!
The cakes are baked daily in their store on Anglesea street and come in a range of flavours. I’ve had the red velvet, the coffee cupcake and the oreo to name but a few and am currently planning a midnight heist to steal whatever I can from the store!

Twenty Sandwich Shop

Can you tell that my day job is situated near these places?? Just two doors up from delicious cupcakes is a sandwich shop that will make you forget about all other sandwich shops.
Many of you college kids will know of John Grace’s Fried Chicken on Cook Street, just off Oliver Plunkett Street. It is a rite of passage for any teen, college student or drunk visitor to the city to spend the end of your night drunk as a skunk eating some of the best chicken and chips in the city inside those hallowed doors.

Well, his sisters opened up a sandwich shop on Anglesea street that has proved popular with locals and workers alike. They have a range of different selections each day, but each sandwich is better than the last or the next. The sandwiches are served on sourdough bread and cost about the same as a footlong from Subway, so you’re not breaking the bank either.

Their sausage rolls in the morning are little pastry puffs of heaven so if you can get there for a sausage roll and a sandwich you have reached the pearly gates, my friend.

Lab 82

Why don’t you give yourself a bit of extra time when you’re getting your next train home and stop off at Lab 82 in the Victorian quarter. There is such a friendly vibe in this place and the food is absolutely delicious. This is a popular spot so don’t be surprised if you’re waiting for a seat but I promise you, it is worth it!

Mutton Lane

I can’t do a listicle like this and not mention at least one bar. I also could write about ten articles on the best coffee spots in Cork city, and maybe one day I’ll finish my anthology of hipster cafés, but coffee is not the only elixir you will survive on in your time in college.

The Mutton Lane is situated in the alley next to Burger King and the English Market. While it may not be your typical college spot, it is a great bar with lovely staff and a an equally lovely pint.

So, while you, like me, will spend the majority of your time in the greatest city in the world frequenting the popular spots and ending up with the rest of the herd in Hillbilly’s at two in the morning, don’t hesitate to try any of the places I’ve mentioned above. College is a time to really find out who you are and what you like. You might find a study spot for the next four years and you might find a cup of coffee so good that it will haunt you forever. Who knows? Happy eating/drinking!

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