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Nov 13, 2003 08:41 AM

cafe/studying venues

  • d

where's a good place to study with:

(good) coffee
open tables
lowish conversation levels


my friend lives in brighton, so somewhere around there is preferable . . . thanks in advance!

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  1. Your friend can try Espresso Royale, on Comm Ave (BU Central T-stop), or, if they'd like to venture across the Charles, 1369 in Central Sq.

    I was going to post that question this morning! Does anyone have suggestions for the same kind of place in the Somerville/Arlington area (I'm a regular at Someday Cafe in Davis, just looking for a little change of scenery this weekend!) Thanks!

    5 Replies
    1. re: Evey

      I'm not a coffee aficionado or anything, but i think Espresso Royale's coffee is lousy. And it is served in a clear glass mug, which i wasn't a fan of for some reason (you can ask for a real mug tho). it's an alright scene for studying, but can get a little loud during peak study times.

      1. re: Nab

        Agreed, on all counts. It is, however, one of the only coffee places in the Brighton area, and it's easy to get seats there. They have a good tea selection, and I'm not a tea afficianado, but I used to enjoy the apricot tea when I was a student over there.
        However, I just realized that I forgot all about Brookline...there's a Peets, about 5 Starbucks, and probably some other places I can't think of right now. Coolidge Corner area, close to Brighton.

        1. re: Nab

          The clear glass doesn't work because you always think the coffe is weak, even when it isn't because you aren't used to seeing the actual consistency of your coffee displayed, I always add the wrong amount of cream or sugar trying to correct a problem that isn't there.

        2. re: Evey

          In Somerville I like Diesel. There are also a few places in Union Square (I forget the names) that are nice and relaxed.

          In Arlington there's the Edwardian Tea Room in the Heights and Carberry's (the food isn't great but they let you stay a long time) in the center.

          1. re: Raconteur

            The Tea Room moved to Winchester a while ago. There's a frame store or something there now.

        3. I've been exploring various venues in the Harvard Square area. It's hard because of the crowd and noise levels. This is what I've found in the last two months.

          Peet's Coffee and Tea: I love working here. Pros - Great coffees, excellent mini-tables, nice benches to sit on, and two bathrooms. Cons - sometimes noisy and really crowded. Also, the snacking treats don't look very appetizing. Often times there aren't any tables available. Very frustrating.

          Tealuxe: Pros - great teas. Nice tables, fairly quiet. Cons - uninteresting snacks and no bathroom. This is a big con.

          Starbucks in the Garage: Pros - good coffee and couches. It's also not as crowded. Plus, if I get hungry, I can run across the hall to get ice cream (Ben and Jerry's) or mediocre Vietnamese to go (Pho Pasteur).Cons - noisy and it's a Starbucks. Plus, the snacking treats look awful.

          Hi-Rise Bakery on Concord Ave: Pros - Excellent sandwiches and nice snacking treats. Cons - annoying clientale, you have to be sure to get a small table. No bathroom. Big con.

          My favorite place - Upstairs on the Square, Monday night bar. Pro - beautiful setting, nice bartender, gracious staff, great food. It's not dead quiet, but enough noise that I can block it out. Too much quiet doesn't work for me. Weekdays, they offer a wonderful prix fixe lunch for $20. Appetizer - either the salad or soup. The entree is something special and a full meal. Some specials include swordfish with broccoli rabe and fingerling potatoes, duck with a sherry reduction sauce and homemade papardelle noodles. I don't remember what else I've had. Dessert is anything on the dessert menu. The grand marnier pot de creme is fabulous and unbelievably decadent. I usually have the dessert a couple of hours after my entree. I've also arrived on the early side, before lunch has started, and sit quietly at the bar working until I am ready to order. I've sat at the bar for as long as 6 hours quietly working. I have gotton unbelievable amounts of work done at this location. Cons - it's pricey.

          I've only gone to Upstairs on the Square on a Monday or Tuesday, during the day. The Starbucks and Peet's I've gone on the weekend, various times throughout the weekday and just random times.

          I've wanted to try working out of Cafe Pamplona on the other side of Harvard Square. Frankly, I have just not been motivated to walk that far with all my stuff.

          1. I thought there was a little coffee shop/bakery right in the middle of Brighton Center. I don't know if there are lots of seats though.

            I wondered if I could add one thing to this question. I'm looking for coffee shops with comfy chairs, that aren't Starbucks.
            I like 1369, but not only can I almost never get a seat in either one, they aren't usually very comfortable.

            1. The Grand cafe in Union Square Somerville. Great coffee and tasty bakery treats, old ratty couches that you kind of just sink into, and fairly comfortable chairs.

              Carberry's? Not so comfortable chairs, tho.

              1. i know this is an old post but....

                athans is perfect for studying or just spending the day reading. there are enough treats to keep you going all day! plus they have an amazing breakfast. also cafenation is a huge hit with the locals. the smoothies are delicious.

                1 Reply
                1. re: susie519

                  Cafe Nation is fun, but can get a bit loud at times. It has comfy chairs, good coffee and tea, and yummy crepes.