It is safe to say that there’s a time and place where one wants to pop the bubble that is St Andrews and step out of the university lifestyle. Most people do that by hopping on the next bus, train or even plane for that matter. However, you can pop the bubble without actually leaving St Andrews.
On the morning of September 28th, I found myself at The Saint Bar & Kitchen for the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning. This event is hosted yearly by the charity, Macmillan Cancer Support, a specialist healthcare dedicated to the fight against cancer. Cafes and restaurants throughout the UK set up a morning of coffees, cakes and other sweet treats in exchange for donations. The World’s Biggest Coffee morning is the charity’s biggest funding event, having raised more than 138 million pounds since its first holding in 1990.
When arriving at the event I was greeted with colorful balloons, a beautiful arrangement of cakes and the centerpiece of St Andrews largest scone tower. The event was in an enclosed part of the restaurant, separate from the regular morning diners. It really made it feel as if everyone was brought together to celebrate one big cause in a welcoming, friendly environment. On one side of the room there was a table with vouchers for great lunch and dinner deals, an impressive array of alcohol – all much out of my student budget – and other amazing prizes that were given out to the winners of the raffle. All you had to do was leave your name and number, drop it in the raffle box and one of these prizes could be yours! Another generous opportunity was set up with the scone tower. If you were to guess the number of scones in the tower correctly, you would win an afternoon tea for two accompanied with prosecco. I found my humanities trained brain trying to uncover any mathematic value I used in high school to help me accurately guess the correct number.
The first thing I asked was how much a piece of cake and coffee were. The lady in charge of the event kindly told me that the coffee and cakes were given in exchange for donation for the charity. After I got over the slight embarrassment of my question, I could hardly believe how gracious The Saint Bar and Kitchen was being through holding this event. I have been back into the full swing of student life, where one is constantly counting their spare change and managing their weekly budget. I had forgotten that events like these were held, where one gives to so they can give back even more. So much kindness in one room, all going to an even better cause. I felt good giving a generous donation to a good cause, especially with all the work the restaurant put into this warm, comforting event.
The Saint Bar & Kitchen, once called Westport, recently underwent significant changes. The ambiance is modern yet classic, with all the traditional St Andrews vibes without the outdated looks. It’s a great place for a nice meal out, without the threats to your bank account. My personal favorites include their benedict burger, topped with a free-range poached egg, creamy hollandaise sauce and served with chunky chips. For those times where you’re craving that comfort food, the mac’n’cheese offers that gooey cheesy layer of applewood cheddar to fulfill just that. For the coffee morning, The Saint Bar and Kitchen’s sweet treats including various brownies and cakes, with my favorite being the ricotta lemon cake. It was soft, not too sweet and perfectly moist. The waitress staff offered coffees and teas to accompany the treats, all on the house.
Following your everyday routine sometimes makes you forget that Saint Andrews is more than just a bustling university town. There are community events like these that make you remember you can be part of something more than what the university has to offer. Looking around as I bit into my cake and sipped on my coffee, I looked around at the parents taking their kids out for breakfast, young women talking about work and old couples enjoying a casual Friday morning. I even found myself talking to a woman who had graduated from St Andrews some time ago. It may have been the first time where I had been to an event with primarily locals rather than students. Being there made me feel like I wasn’t in Saint Andrews, at least not the Saint Andrews we students are accustomed too. So for that next time that you feel like you need to break away from your eat, sleep library repeat schedule, going to a local event like this can make you feel like you’re part of more than just a student community.