Play Hard

8 cool cafés in Sunderland

Until this weather starts acting like summer, you’ll find us holed up in one of these quirky Sunderland coffee shops, brew in hand…

Written by Becky Hardy
Published 16.08.2023


172­–175 High Street West, Sunniside, Sunderland SR1 1UP

Pop Recs epitomises everything we love most: inclusivity, live music and community spirit. Oh, and cracking coffee.

You can browse vinyl record collections, catch live gigs, and admire local artwork in what is arguably one of the coolest spots in Sunderland. Or just set the world to rights over a steaming mug of coffee.

The bar serves locally brewed Vaux on draught, as well as bottles and cans too, if you fancy a bev. You can even grab a slice of pizza if you’re peckish.

Talk about the full works. It’s little wonder Pop Recs was listed in Time Out London’s list of Top 17 Music Venues in the UK earlier this year.

Monday – Sunday: 9am – 3pm



St George’s Terrace, Roker, Sunderland SR6 9LX 

Hip breakfast spot Cole Kitchen is here to start your day off right with a cup of speciality coffee or loose-leaf tea, good vibes and its own ‘breakfast sandos’ – a simple yet stellar creation that, frankly, we can’t get enough of.

Having set them apart from other cafés in Sunderland, these sandos combine everything from your classic combos – smoked streaky bacon, fried egg, sausagemeat patty, cheddar and house chilli jam all wrapped up in a brioche – to more innovative concoctions, like the Mumbai: spiced potato and onion rosti with fried egg, cheddar, rocket, coriander chutney and house masala ketchup.

Tuesday – Sunday: 9am – 2pm



29 Stockton Road, Sunderland SR2 7AQ

By day, this speciality coffee shop is the perfect pitstop for sheltering from the rain with a bangin’ brew (that is more like a work of art than a cup of coffee), and a light bite if hunger has set in.

Come sundown, their impressive range of craft ales and cocktails comes out to play.

One of the cosiest cafés in Sunderland – with a real pumpkin spice vibe, Scandi styling and community feel – this dog-friendly hideaway never fails to lift our spirits.

Monday – Tuesday: 10am – 4pm

Wednesday – Saturday: 10am – 10pm

Sunday: 10am – 2pm



Marine Walk, Roker, Sunderland SR6 0PL 

If you’re a keen cyclist and fancy starting your day off with a ride along Roker beach, then Fausto Coffee is your ideal post-saddle spot – this cool cycling café is self-proclaimed family-friendly, dog-friendly and lycra-friendly.

Specialising in house-roasted, single-origin artisan coffee, sipping one of their brews along with a cheeky slice of homemade cake or a toasted bagel along the seafront will have you feeling back to your best in no time.

Don’t feel you need to make tracks when the sun goes down, though – Fausto is a real night owl among coffee shops in Sunderland, with an offering that extends to wood-fired pizzas, cocktails and locally-brewed beers come evening, all of which you can enjoy looking out at Roker Pier.

Monday: 8am – 4pm

Tuesday – Friday: 8am – 10pm

Saturday: 8.30am – 10pm

Sunday: 8.30am – 4pm



The Green, Washington, Sunderland NE38 7AB

This quaint florist-giftshop-tearoom is nestled right in the heart of Washington Village and likes to keep things greener than green by putting locally made produce at the heart of everything they do.

Among the quirkiest cafés in Sunderland, this relaxed tearoom sparkles with personality thanks to little touches like its stained-glass detailing, grandma-esque ornament selection and, of course, the fact its bursting with blooms. Here, you can enjoy everything from locally roasted coffee, organic and Fairtrade tea to cakes from local bakers and speciality light bites.

While you’re here, it would be rude not to check out their floristry offering (all sourced from local growers and flower markets), and gift shop; you’ll find locally made products from neighbouring small businesses, with everything from illustrated cards to natural skincare on their shelves.

Monday – Saturday: 9am – 5pm

Sunday: 10am – 4pm



Roker, Sunderland SR6 0PL 

If you love a pick-me-up on the go as you stretch your legs along the sand, then we’d recommend stopping by what is perhaps the most peculiar-looking of Sunderland coffee shops.

Offering a cuppa and a chat to her loyal customer base – as well as free dog treats and water for those thirsty pups – Emmy’s Coffee Pod is the perfect pitstop to refuel along Roker beach, with a fully-stocked dessert cabinet making sure your blood sugars never get too low.

When the weather’s brighter, why not take a pew in the pod’s small seating area? Sit, sip and take in that refreshing sea air and you’ll feel your stress just slip away…

Monday & Wednesday – Friday: 8am – 3pm

Saturday – Sunday: 9am – 3pm



24A New Durham Road, Sunderland SR2 7AA

Artisan coffee is undoubtedly the name of the game in this urban café, although their baked treats (lovingly made by expert baker, Joyce), really sets Grinder apart from other Sunderland coffee shops.

For the coffee connoisseurs, Grinder Coffee Co. spotlights a balanced blend of bright, medium roast beans which give a full-bodied flavour and a mellow, zesty taste. If coffee’s not so much your vibe, the teas, smoothies and frappes here all well worth exploring, too.

And for ultimate indulgence, pair your brew with a cheeky treat. Whether it’s the ever-popular Mackem favourite pink slice or the spiced orange and parsnip cake (a real autumnal fave), you’ll discover plenty of new culinary creations.

Monday – Friday: 8am – 4pm

Saturday: 9am – 3pm



1 Pier Point, Marine Walk, Roker, Sunderland SR6 0PP 

You’ve probably been drooling over Love Lily’s insane pancakes, ice cream sundaes, stuffed cookies, traybakes and frozen lattes on your socials for months now without even realising – we know we have.

Not that this breakfast bolthole is only for the sweet-toothed, mind you. One of the most versatile cafés in Sunderland, their brunch plates are the hearty kind that’ll sort you out whatever you were up to the night before – with everything from full Englishs to avocado on toast in the offing.

Better still, they’re dog-friendly – so, after a long walk along Roker beach, you can bring your pups who brunch, too.

Monday – Sunday: 9am – 5pm

Other stories by Becky Hardy
Cantina Newcastle

Your guide to Newcastle Restaurant Week 2024

Becky Hardy

The North East’s best Dry January approved nights out

Becky Hardy
Newcastle events

5 things to do in Newcastle this weekend

Becky Hardy

3 impressive staycations that have a Saltburn vibe

Becky Hardy
North East events

What’s on in the North East this January

Becky Hardy

January’s coolest gigs in Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham

Becky Hardy