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Best cafes to study all day at?

sharkbait88 Oct 16, 2009 10:25 AM

Does anyone have any suggestions as to cafes with mainly good coffee and at least passable food where I can go and order a couple menu items and study for hours without feeling bad or being bothered to leave the cafe? Preferably around the Peel X St Catherine downtown area, guy concordia and mcgill area.

  1. a
    alexalready Oct 16, 2009 10:35 AM

    All of the cafes that come to my mind with that criteria are in the plateau. I think most places downtown are not "hang out all day" friendly.

    2 Replies
    1. re: alexalready
      sharkbait88 Oct 16, 2009 11:03 AM

      which ones do you recommend on the plateau then?

      1. re: sharkbait88
        Maximilien Oct 16, 2009 11:14 AM

        Café Art-Java should be good enough for you; maybe Laika (on St-Laurent)

        Both are internet hotspot.

    2. w
      williej Oct 16, 2009 11:38 AM

      Cafe Imagination at Parc and Sherbrooke has a little section you can sit in. Not bad food. Their branch at the YWCA is also a good spot and quieter. Presse Cafe at Milton and Parc is always full of Mcgill students working and studying.Not very quiet tho.

      1. b
        bigfellow Oct 16, 2009 12:56 PM

        I like Shaika on Sherbrooke in NDG. It's always full of students when I've been.

        1. mainsqueeze Oct 16, 2009 01:27 PM

          Press Café on Ste-Catherine (south side) between McKay and Bishop
          Café Dépot on de Maisonneuve and Mackay
          Starbucks and Second Cup in the Faubourg

          1. blehfu Oct 16, 2009 02:06 PM

            As far as Plateau is concerned, my place to be is Cafe Neve. Excellent coffee (I think their baristas do competitions; of Art Java and In Gamba pedigree), good food (at least from the benetictine I've had), great tea. Internet, comfortable seating, and lots of outlets for laptops. Given the size of the place, it's hardly ever going to get loud or too crowded.

            151 Rue Rachel Est, coin de Bullion. Bicycletterie JR's old location.

            2 Replies
            1. re: blehfu
              Shattered Oct 17, 2009 09:28 AM

              I doubt that a new, very small, and independently-owned place would appreciate being descended upon by single people who want to occupy an entire table almost the entire day with minimal contribution to the bottom line. otoh, I guess they'd appreciate being mentioned on the boards.

              1. re: Shattered
                anachemia Oct 23, 2010 10:51 PM

                Hmm, dunno. If you decide to open a cafe that offers good food, comfy seating and Wifi, I'd expect the business plan to account for a non-trivial percentage of campers...

            2. c
              chilipepper Oct 16, 2009 06:51 PM

              Also the Second Cup at Milton and Parc is always crowded with McGIll students and their books and laptops.

              1 Reply
              1. re: chilipepper
                Shattered Oct 17, 2009 09:21 AM

                Hardly quiet, though. It's very much a seen-and-be-seen vibe. The place students seem to prefer when it's too early to hit the bars, frankly.

                Presse Cafe diagonally across the street is quieter and roomier, and has some proper food.

              2. s
                sharkbait88 Oct 17, 2009 09:18 AM

                thanks everyone for all of your great suggestions :)

                1. carswell Oct 17, 2009 09:32 AM

                  FWIW, a Plateau-based friend who spends much of every day working on his laptop in coffee shops rotates between Névé, Else's and Art Java.

                  If good coffee is indeed one of your criteria, avoid Second Cup, Starbucks and the other chains.

                  1. j
                    janetmweiss Oct 17, 2009 03:50 PM

                    It may be a bit far for you, but 2 of my regular study cafes are

                    1) Cafe Noir at Mount Royal metro (I think they just opened a new one at Saint Denis). I'm not a coffee drinker, but my old study partner was, and a discerning one at that, for what it's worth. They have wireless internet, a salad bar, pizza by the slice and freshly-made fruit juice and they're open 24 hours a day.

                    2) Cafe Pi on St. Laurent, which I think has been mentioned on these boards before. It's usually filled with older men playing angry, competitive chess, which...adds character? You can find wireless internet here again. Foodwise, I've only ever had their grilled cheese though; the proximity of Santropol tends to draw me away from studying when I get hungry.

                    1. d
                      daddyL Oct 17, 2009 04:28 PM

                      There is a great place at St. Marc and St. Catherine. They play classical music, serve homemade soup and croissants, and have a very good mint tea. I'm not entirely sure what its called but it has a picture of a croissant on the sign. Its on St. Catherine...on the northwest corner of St. Catherine and St. Marc.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: daddyL
                        Mei Oct 20, 2009 12:15 AM

                        La Croissanterie, maybe, the mint tea is very pretty.

                        The cafe in the YMCA on Stanley is okay, but maybe there is no internet, and there is definitely no atmosphere, good people watching though, if a bit grim sometimes.

                        1. re: daddyL
                          sharkbait88 Nov 8, 2009 02:43 PM

                          finally made it out to this place, and its perfect. great quiet and homy atmosphere! almond croissants were different, but delicious, chocolatine not so good, dough was salty and barely any chocolate. they had a huge assortment of other pastries, but i'm making this my new go to place when i need a quiet place to study. thanks so much for everyone's suggestions!

                          1. re: daddyL
                            anachemia Oct 23, 2010 10:40 PM

                            Went to check out La Croissanterie on Ste Cathering this afternoon. Classical music? Check. "Homey" decor (circa 1980s)? Check. Free bonuses: dingy dusty atmosphere (like it hasn't actually been CLEANED since the 1980s), horrible lighting, sketcho extension cords all over the place, makeshift shelving that looks like it will fall from the ceiling any minute, obnoxious loud employee chatter making it impossible to concentrate...and, best of all: microwaved puff pastry empanadas (CARDINAL SIN).

                            Really a shame - I wanted to love this place but for me there was not enough good to outweigh the bad.

                            Gave up on it after an hour or so (even after dropping $20 on snacks & drinks for 2 ppl) since it was impossible to study there. Ended up trying the cafe above Al Taib on Guy - it's called Cafe Olive and the atmosphere was MUCH better for studying. Great lighting, quiet mellow music and generally peaceful setting - was able to get a lot done here. They carry Mighty Leaf teas among others, and their coffee & snacks are mostly sourced from local companies. The food options seemed fresher, although more heavily weighted towards cafe snacks than meals...but in a pinch there is always Al Taib downstairs (directly connected inside, owned by same people).

                            Granted, there's no time machine here that will transport you back to 1983...(if that's what you're looking for...)

                            Al Taib
                            2125 Rue Guy, Montreal, QC H3H2L9, CA

                          2. lorie Oct 20, 2009 02:19 AM

                            Since people are mentioning places that are not in the downtown core, I thought I'd add a few I became familiar with over the last two years, while a grad student: (All of these places have free internet)

                            Le Dépanneur Café: http://www.ledepanneurcafe.com/ (on Bernard). People play/practice live music there, but it's always close to empty in the day, very cosy, and good food. You could hang out for 10 hours and they would not care.

                            Em Café (on Parc


                            Lili + Oli (on Notre Dame near Atwater Market). Not a ton of food, but there are a bunch of restaurants nearby (and the market) if you want to take a break. This place is very relaxed. It has a nice small couch in addition to tables. And people bring their dogs in and sit around.

                            Laika or Divan Orange or Le Cagibi (on various parts of St-Laurent)

                            I also second Shaika Café on Sherbrooke West in NDG. Most days there are 20 people with laptops in there.

                            I've never been there, but I hear that the café above the funeral home on St-Laurent is a very quiet space.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: lorie
                              williej Oct 20, 2009 07:10 AM

                              Cafe 92 on Sherbrooke west of Cavendish. Kind and friendly owners. Lots of space. Free wi-fi (ile sans fil). Great coffee and snacks and meals.

                              1. re: lorie
                                foodinspace Nov 9, 2009 09:49 AM

                                Le Dépanneur still ranks as one of my worst food experiences in the city. I had an awful, overpriced omelet. I could have made something better at home. And the grapes that came on the side were moldy.

                                Sure, the atmosphere is nice and it's probably a good place to enjoy a coffee.

                              2. w
                                williej Oct 20, 2009 10:40 AM

                                Al Dar on Mackay below Ste Catherine is a not bad Lebanese food place with free wi-fi. As long as you eat a cheap sandwich you can probably stay all afternoon as it is not too crowded. There is sheesh smoke though so beware of that.

                                1. m
                                  mak2k Oct 20, 2009 10:56 AM

                                  i used to study at cactus bubble tea shop on mackay. They got free wifi (ask the waiter for password), and after ordering one bubble tea and a snack, they usually don't bother me for a while. That was also 5 to 6 years ago, so I don't know if things changed

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: mak2k
                                    mainsqueeze Nov 9, 2009 08:39 AM

                                    I believe cactus is closed right now. The building has barricades all around it because the facade was falling apart.

                                    1. re: mainsqueeze
                                      sharkbait88 Nov 25, 2009 06:54 PM

                                      passed by today and there was an open sign.

                                      1. re: sharkbait88
                                        mainsqueeze Nov 26, 2009 03:10 AM

                                        Yes it looks like the facade has been patched up and that side of the structure is open again.

                                  2. b
                                    bakersdelight Oct 24, 2010 03:29 PM

                                    it's further west, but David's Tea on Sherbrooke just west of Victoria in Westmount is a new spot I noticed today. Lots of students doing their thing. The proverbial clean, well-lit place.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: bakersdelight
                                      jessicajessica Oct 31, 2010 07:42 AM

                                      Hey everyone,

                                      Just thought I'd mention that the Montreal Mirror has a section dedicated to Study Friendly Cafés in its Annual Student Survival Guide. Here's the link: http://www.montrealmirror.com/2009/08...

                                      (Just scroll down and you should find the section about half way down the page.)

                                      Hope that helps :)

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