Five Stirling businesses that bring me joy

4 mins read

As the weather gets bleaker and the nights grow longer, I try to focus on the simple things in Stirling that make me happy.

Whether it’s a simple cup of coffee, a perfectly crafted baked good or a cosy spot in the pub where the bar staff know my usual, happiness for me always involves good food and drink.

Pull up a chair, get comfy and support some local Stirling businesses.

The Book Nook

The Book Nook on Upper Craigs combines two of my favourite things: food and books. Seriously, what more could you ask for?

Beautifully decorated and surrounded by packed bookshelves, the café is a hit with students – so much so that it’s sometimes impossible to get a seat.

Don’t let that deter you though. Have a browse while you wait, and whilst the food menu is rather limited, the seasonal drinks here are the real stars of the show.


King Street’s Vera Artisan Bakery has got you covered for every occasion: scrumptious breakfast rolls, filling lunches, dozens of baked goods and the best ice cream in town, courtesy of local producers Milk & Honey.

The staff are always so welcoming, it’s hard not to spend a whole afternoon there working your way through the offerings.


This Stirling pub has deservedly reached legend status amongst locals and students alike. While much of the chain bars around town are corporate and lifeless, Tams feels extra homely.

It has absolutely everything a good pub should – decently priced drinks, wonderful staff and shitty toilets.

From their popular folk nights to quite simply the greatest pub quiz in the world, Tams is best enjoyed with good friends and a cold pint in hand (Thistly Cross Original for me please).

HBW Coffee

A cappuccino from HBW is my go-to if I need a midday pick-me-up. The smell of the coffeeshop alone is enough to put me at ease.

Their beans are so good, I buy ones to make coffee at home every few weeks (I may be every so slightly addicted). Getting a tin refilled for £7 and a free takeaway drink is just too much of a bargain to resist.

The coffee is perfectly balanced and they also offer some stellar brunch food and baking – it’s impossible to leave without a little treat and a smile on your face.

Darnley Coffee House

Arguably the Top of the Town’s best kept secret, Darnley is the perfect lunch spot. But be quick – the business has gone up for sale.

The café makes the most of local and seasonal produce, meaning their soups are ever-changing and always packed with flavour. Their baked potatoes and sandwiches are generously filled too.

And finally, the homemade cordials can’t be forgotten. A variety of types are available in the café to accompany your meal with still or sparkling water. Bottles can be bought to take home too, either from the coffee house or Made in Stirling on King Street.

Feature image credit: HBW/Book Nook/Brig

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Film, media and journalism student. I like writing about my inability to eat gluten.

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