study nooks!

February 9, 2011

It’s midterm season! Which is mere weeks away from finals season, which is days from the whole recursive system again commencing. There are not enough nooks in this damn city for everyone to have a decent corner. There’s an endless array of coffeehouses, but with expanding options comes excessive nitpicking. I always ultimately decide on the Cal Anderson Vivace — only to again woefully realize that utopian study haven has long since been plowed over, through, under, & out.

So where to tuck yourself away? By far, the coziest coffeehouse is Fremont Coffee (it’s a house!), & of course the University District is chock full of study nooks (Suzzalo reading room! Allegro! Le Fournil!); but perhaps that’s for another investigation.

The big 5 on Capitol Hill seem to be:

But let’s mull over some other potential spaces. Here’s some I’ve bunkered down in & gave merit to based on reliability of internet, strength of coffee, & late hours. Tell me, how the hell Seattle not have an allnight coffee house? Even fucking Olympia does (it’s owned by gothic orthodontists nonetheless!)


1. Joe Bar
+across from Harvard Exit Theater – if anyone else still uses the rewards system
+quiet mezzanine
-kind of small
+proximity to Cornish

2. Metrix Create:Space
+tech gadgetry playland
-can be awkward to simply study
+perfect vending machine (forgot headphones? a usb cord? your wd-40 pen?)
-stocked with clever distractions – come for the engineering classes & projects, not to write a paper

3. Oddfellows
+soaked in daylight
-a restaurant, so lunch & dinner crowds
-that feeling that you’re taking up a table in someone’s section (stick around when it’s slow, & always tip accordingly)
+Mexican Cola
+everyone seems to aesthetically match somehow, in muted tones
+Wittekerke beer
+happy hour
+proximity to park
+coffee cans of fries

4. Travelers
+the attached room of knick-knacks
-pine street distractions
-no wifi
+best for group meet-ups

5. Elliott Bay Book Company
+can still support a brick-and-mortar bookshop, even if you can’t afford new books
+lovely wood interior
+Mexican cola
-coffee is eh
-obnoxious surrounding conversations (given it a few tries & it seems to be an unfortunate mainstay)
+corner nook

6. Captain Black’s/Linda’s back patios
+brilliant solution to the I-don’t-want-to-stay-inside-&-study dilemma
+happy hour specials
+cheap bar snacks
-you’re still trying to study at a pub – go early & leave before the bar crowd fills up

7. Top Pot
-sure, a latte & a donut sounds like a great pick-me-up – for the first ten minutes
+convenient for its dense residential neighborhood
+once, a Seahawk wandered right on in to the downtown Top Pot for some 3am donuts…so they have to be somewhat worthy

8. The Starbucks (Roy Street, 15th Avenue, & Olive Way)
-residual irritation with Starbucks’ guerilla marketing & co-opting of flourishing community success (though it did end up failing — 15th Avenue will again bear the logo)
-supporting corporations over local business, etcetera etcetera
+meticulously decorated after extensive marketing research & a plentiful design budget
+beer! wine!
+all of the employees have decent benefits, so that feels good, especially since it’s so difficult to tip them
-can’t shake that feeling that hand-stamping your cups, holding “indie movie” nights, & shipping in baristas from the Tame Alternatives with Tasteful & Sparse Tattoo Art catalog does not make your coffeehouse a kitschy local place

9. Arabica Lounge
+intriguing space
-low tables – not meant for studying
+each time, the people within have been quite charming & laidback
-inherits some of the “casually reading this heady philosophical text with the spine in plain sight on a Sunday afternoon, as no time is spare time for this attuned mind” crowd from the outdoor tables of Vita & Bauhaus
-more of a cozy social place than a veritable study spot

10. Porchlight
+a serene bright blue — isn’t that what self-help books always seem to herald for tranquility & focus?
-tiny round tables, armless wooden chairs — clearly designed against camping out
+well-curated playlists
+lots of light

That’s all I’ve got. I spent a class comparing & contrasting these, so now off to hole myself away in one of the above.
Submit your favorites below!


2 Responses to “study nooks!”

  1. mattw said

    Have you stopped by Metrix Create:Space on Broadway?

    Big tables, ridiculous fast wifi, open til midnight.

  2. cocoa said

    indeed! it made the list

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