It’s not really a secret that the University of Guelph has the best food in Canada. With so many options and so many places scattered around, you can usually find what you’re looking for somewhere. But one location shines over the rest: The Bullring. It sits practically in the heart of campus and honestly, it’s the best place to go with friends or even alone, whether it’s in between classes, or after your day is done, or even in the morning for coffee. For many reasons, it’s by far the best hangout location on campus, and it’s my job to list just a few that draw me there every week in hopes that you’ll take full advantage of it!
1. It has a past.
The Bullring hasn’t always just been The Bullring. Just like so many of the buildings on campus, it has a glorious past that adds to the charm. Built in 1903, before the University of Guelph was even a thing, it was originally a cattle ring for auctions and shows. Then, in the 70s, it became a campus pub, which was loved by the students – for a while, before sales went down and it closed. In 2003, it opened into The Bullring we know and love today, and hopefully it’ll stay that way for a while. The comfy vibes of the place stem from its age along with its other assets and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
2. The couches are superb.
The Bullring is composed of couches and tables and chairs. There’s plenty of both options, and while the tables are great too, the couches are so comfy and cozy, perfect for either working or chilling! There’s plenty of them, but you have to be quick when you spot one – it could be scooped up by the time you get your food. But if you do, you found the prime location to hang out with yourself or your friends.
3. It sells fair-trade coffee – and it’s good.
The coffee at The Bullring is absolutely delicious. Their French Vanilla is sweet and actually beat my standards the first time I tried it, and the English Toffee is just as good. I’ve yet to try the “normal” coffee but I’ve heard great things about it, too, so don’t worry. Whether it’s in the morning before class or while you study, the greatest coffee on campus awaits you here!
4. Most of the food is relatively cheap – and it’s good, too.
The first time I went to The Bullring with a friend, I got excited about the prices. Most other places on campus charge you quite a bit, or at least the places I go to do. Of course, there are more pricey options, but let me tell you that they’re worth it. The Philly cheesesteak? Amazing. As university students, money is not always at our disposal, and it’s nice to have a comfy place that respects that where we can go and hang out. Plus, The Bullring always accepts meal plans, making our lives easier.
5. Open-mic night!
Every Wednesday, The Bullring opens its doors until midnight and allows anyone to take to the stage. It’s fun to hang out with your friends as you take a (short) break from studying to just enjoy the music or poetry or whatever it is and just relax…
6. There’s plenty of room.
Like I previously mentioned, there’s both tables with chairs and couches. But besides that, there’s an outdoor patio with plenty of seating as well. It isn’t really usable in the winter, of course (there’s a lot of snow in Guelph) but when it’s open, it’s a great area to sit if the inside is full. Wherever you decide to sit, there’s usually an opening somewhere to snag. Which is saying something, because every dining area fills up so fast.
7. It’s judgement-free.
Everyone else is here for the same reasons; to relax, to study, to hang out. Sometimes, “hanging out” means that you’re alone, and honestly? No one cares if you’re alone here. You may feel strange sitting alone at a table some places, but here, it’s common. The Bullring is a place to be who you are, and it’s quirkiness is a part of what it is. Embrace it.
8. It’s near most of your classes.
The Bullring is right beside Rozanski Hall, home to the biggest lecture hall on campus. It’s also right near MacKinnon, MacNaughton, Thornbrough… the list goes on, and not to mention the library is nearby too. Unless all of your classes are in War Mem or across the streets that border main campus, odds are that you have at least one near The Bullring. And when you’re already close, it’s easy to hang out with people in the same classes between them. Easy time-waster.
9. You don’t have to buy anything to be there.
The Bullring accepts that sometimes, people just want a nice place to hang out. So, don’t feel obligated to buy food every time you go in. It’s perfectly acceptable to hunker down on a couch and just hang out without spending a dime. In the winter, that may be a godsend.
10. It’s aesthetic-friendly.
You don’t just want some boring place to hang out with your friends all the time. It’s nice to have somewhere to go that your eyes enjoy looking at, too. There could be painted pumpkins, paintings, different kinds of art, and singing to please your ears. Worn couches and coffee with friends with books and laptops while being productive? Sounds like a dream. Even if you’re not technically being productive, you probably feel like you are. It’s a happy place that is extremely photogenic and trust me, you’ll find yourself returning.