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Eating and Drinking

An army marches on its stomach – and the same can be said about the College. 

Food is very much part of everyday life at the RCA, and there are a number of venues which cater to ensuring staff and students are fed and watered properly, despite the College's compact size. 

From the friendly RCAfé to the vibrant ArtBar, to the always-packed Canteen, all tastes are catered for.

The RCAfé

The RCAfé is a hub of the College, where you can get fresh ground coffee, great sandwiches and sweet things at affordable prices. The café is somewhere to read, exchange ideas outside the formal boundaries of each course and maybe even to chat about things that have nothing to do with art or design.

The Cafe is run by and for students at the RCA. We employ Student staff daily to prepare fresh food and coffee. This provides an opportunity for students to earn some extra income while they study.    

The RCAfé is the hub of free speech within the College. Students are encouraged to use the venue to host their own projects, which are supported by SU equipment, publicity, time and effort.

On warmer evenings, the RCAfé opens its terrace and is the place for you to eat, drink and chill whilst watching the daylight fade over the Royal Albert Hall. The RCAfé is also home to the RCA table football and pool table, of live bands, and artist presentations. On occasion, the café also becomes a venue for live music, film, performance, interaction, debates and parties.

RCafe Kensington
RCAfé Kensington
Photographer: Richard Haughton

The ArtBar

The ArtBar is a vibrant experimental place where students can socialise and take advantage of some of the best-priced drinks in west London. It holds regular late nights, cocktail promotions and different parties and events throughout the year, with the grande finale being the Convocation Ball.

Great decks and a mighty PA can accommodate all musical tastes and students are free to set the audio agenda from the experimental to the ridiculous. On busy nights we have DJs in both the Bar and Café, and a state-of-the-art projection system provides a fantastic backdrop for dancing the night away.

On warm evenings our large terrace overlooking the Albert Hall is one of the best places in London to have a drink. We solely employ current students and any profits go directly back into running the Students' Union.

The ArtBar
The ArtBar


The canteen (officially the Junior Common Room or JCR) offers respite in the middle of the day for a chat with friends and staff over a hot meal. It offers three choices of meal (including a vegetarian option), a salad bar and desserts, and is generally packed at lunchtime. 

The café in the canteen is open throughout the day selling sandwiches, hot drinks and other snacks and vending machines are available when it’s closed.

Photographer: Richard Haughton

"The ArtBar is a vibrant experimental place where students can socialise and take advantage of some of the best-priced drinks in west London."