Heralds of Glasgow’s Coffee Scene: Tinderbox Espresso Bar

Tinderbox Cafes are a Glasgow-born chain of coffee shops that span across the expanse of the city, heralded as the originators of the current coffee culture in Glasgow. Having been in business since 1998, Tinderbox is now threaded into part of the city centre’s fabric, with five coffee shops in total  springing up along the Glaswegian streets, as well as now having expanded southwards into England with cafes in Manchester and in London.

While in Glasgow, I decided to sample this home-ground coffee for myself, taking a break from my exploring around the shopper-lined Buchanan Street for a quick coffee break. Although the Tinderbox on Ingram Street is normally the preferred location, the one in Princes Square is equally as nice but can be on the busy side. This is mostly due to its great location being in the centre of the shopping district of the city centre. Hence it being the perfect spot for me to to go to as a mid-day shopping break.

Read more on what I got up to in Glasgow here: Exploring Glasgow: Day One In Scotland’s Largest City


This particular Tinderbox can be found on the top floor of the very polished Princes Square Shopping centre. Because of this, the cafe has a great view over the centre of the shopping centre which is artistic in itself to look at, as well as watch all the people mull about on the floors below. Luckily, despite it being a hectic Saturday in Glasgow, I managed to bagsie a seat right by the railing.


Although the cafe itself is very spacious and modern, I found it a little dark, particularly in comparison to sitting out on the balcony. The staff on the counter work like a conveyer belt in that your order is passed along from one to another, each doing a different task until it is eventually delivered to you. Although this is a very efficient way to get a lot of order done quickly, it did make the chain nature of the cafe much more prominent, as it made the service feel a little bit less personal. But as a popular cafe during lunchtime on a Saturday, efficiency rules all. This may not be how it is for the majority of the time, but it certainly was a shame for my own experience of Tinderbox.

See what I did on my second day in Glasgow here: Exploring Glasgow: Day Two In Scotland’s Largest City


On finishing my turn on the converter belt, I received my order of a Cherry Tart and  Latte. Returning to my claimed viewing seat, I happily enjoyed my food until I felt socially pressured to stop taking up a whole table when hungry shoppers were waiting to rest their feet. I was impressed with my order overall. Their coffee was comfortably nice and well made, though not breathtakingly awesome, but you do get a generous portion, which I can’t argue with. The pastry of the Cherry Tart was a tad dry but otherwise the pastry was entirely delicious, and would have happily had another, if not for the impatient shoppers glaring at me and my half used table.

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