Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Coffee Shop Hopping

It’s even better than the bars. Why? Because you can do it during the day.

It’s the middle of finals. You’re getting cabin fever from Van Pelt (not to mention to the food selection in Mark’s Café is sub-par), Buck’s is loud and filled with sorority girls planning their nights out while you are desperately trying to crank out those fifteen pages due tomorrow, and Starbuck’s just smells funny. So what do you do? Why, you get out of town, of course.

I don’t mean literally. There are a plethora of off-campus study locations (and by this I mean coffee shops, because I refuse to work out of the easy reach of food), both near and far. I aim to bring you a far from comprehensive listing of a few of the choicest options.

First, if you want to stay near campus, The Green Line Cafés, two of which are at 43rd and Baltimore and 43rd and Locust, are excellent choices. Socially responsible coffee meets edgy West Philly in a friendly neighborhood atmosphere. Unfortunately, the Baltimore location does not offer wireless access but the Locust one does. The Locust shop is also two doors down from Koch’s, so if the vegan-veggie vibes of the Green Line aren’t doing it for you, you can always pop over to Penn’s best and only deli for pounds of (free) meat.

If you want to venture farther, well, that’s when the fun starts.

Across the Schuylkill but still close:
Walnut Bridge Coffee Shop, which I think is at the intersection of the Schuylkill River and Walnut Street, offers free wireless, comfortable chairs, and chocolate truffles.

Just a little further (Rittenhouse Area):
Tuscany Café, at Rittenhouse Square and Locust (West End of the square), is my choice for morning work, as its little window-front bar gets so much sun it could probably power the whole café. (I have a think about sitting in the sun.)
Just diagonally across the square is the Center City Barnes and Noble, whose second-floor Starbucks offers better-than-Tazo teas but pay-for wireless (BOO).
In the vicinity is La Colombe, just north of Rittenhouse on 18th, famous for its coffees, and Remedy Tea Bar, at 16th and Sansom, previously reviewed on this blog.
Then, of course, there’s the park itself, although it is not conducive to productive studying.

South Street offers its own fair share of coffee shops, particularly La•Va, at 21st and South, and the Bean Café at 6th and South.

12th and Pine features The Last Drop, and 11th and Spruce is home to Spruce Street Espresso.

If you’re looking for somewhere new to study and get a little exercise while you’re at it, Philadelphia has more than its fair share of small, neighborhood coffee shops, most of whom offer wireless internet and excellent food and beverages. And the best part? No one you know is there to distract you.

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