Best Off-Campus Study Spots

Choco Coo Café

C-501 North Road, Coquitlam
Photo c/o Choco Coo Cafe

The Choco Coo Café is located on North Road in Coquitlam. If you are finding it hard to concentrate — something most of us often struggle with — then this place is perfect for you. I always go to study here when I find that I am having trouble focusing at home or the house is just too loud. The café is open every day from 12 p.m. until 12 a.m., which means you can come late and still get some studying in. There are outlets conveniently located by all of the tables that allow you to bring your laptop or phone to charge while you’re doing your work, and so you don’t have to move if your battery starts running low. The menu is very photogenic, which is a plus for social media foodies. From hot chocolates to coffees to green teas, everything is all delicious and they are always served with a cute design on the top made out of cream. The drinks are served in a mug, which never fails to make me feel at home. Not only do they have a large and varied menu of drinks, they also have many different kinds of beautifully decorated cakes. The prices are affordable; you can expect to be able to purchase most things for only $5. This café puts a lot of hard work and dedication into their food and drinks and the calm bright environment is perfect for allowing you to focus and get all of your important studying done.

– Jaslynne Gibeault // Contributor

Port Moody Public Library

100 Newport Drive, Port Moody
Photo: Carlo Javier

My all-time favourite study spot has to be the Port Moody Public Library. I find that it has a general coziness about it, which feels more like a reading nook than a public space. There are large, comfortable chairs with tables and lamps beside them and a replace going during the winters, where you can curl up and really get into a book (or your homework). And, if I’m procrastinating, there is plenty at the Port Moody Library to distract me. They offer a large mix of fiction and non-fiction novels, magazines and a children’s section where I can re-read the books of my childhood. Also, because it’s a library, there aren’t any fees required to access the space or its services. I’m able to stay for as long as I need during business hours without dropping loads of money on fancy coffees. Plus, the librarians and technicians on staff are extremely helpful and welcoming to questions. If I ever ask them a
stupid question, they don’t act like I did. For those like me who live out in the Tri-Cities, there are only a few coffee shops and they’re often too noisy to focus in. So, the library is a conveniently located alternative that doesn’t mean going far to find some small café suitable to get work done. And as a nice reward at the end of a long day of studying, you can walk to the nearby Rocky Point Park to get ice cream.

– Laura Melczer // Contributor

Breka Bakery & Café on Davie

855 Davie Street, Vancouver
Photo: Helen Aikenhead

This Breka Bakery & Café, the best of the four locations, has everything a good study spot needs — free WiFi, good coffee, a warm atmosphere, music that’s nice but not distracting, outlets for all your charging needs and oh yeah, did I mention it’s open 24/7? Breka has more of a European vibe, and by European I mean the staff don’t passive-aggressively glare at you if you’ve been sitting at the table for more than 15 minutes. Breka understands good business isn’t just fast turn over. Besides, we all know that if you’re writing an essay at a café you’re going to need at least three coffees (but don’t worry if you just buy one drink to get in, they’re cool with that too). If during your five-hour stress fest you get peckish, fear not! They have a wide variety of foodstuffs, from quiche to soup to pastries to the best sandwich of all time. I’m of course referring to their turkey sandwich with pesto mayo, Havarti cheese, and garlic butter-basted bread. It’s so good it makes me forget that I’m a vegetarian. Okay, I don’t forget, I’m just a terrible vegetarian. While the sandwiches are a little pricey, they have a range of well-priced treats too, like a pretzel bun for $1.50, so you won’t have to shell out to dig in. So, if you need the perfect place to study… actually, don’t go to Breka, I don’t want to compete for seats.

– Tia Kutschera Fox // Opinions Editor

The Birds & the Beets

55 Powell Street, Vancouver
Photo: Helen Aikenhead

Several years ago, I tracked the wafting scent of bread down Powell Street. It was one of my first days wandering the city alone, and I was (possibly, maybe, just a little) lost. As is often the case, however, following my nose yielded promising results, and I found myself in The Birds & The Beets — a cozy
but open space filled with flowers, baked goods, and many nooks to settle in. Tucked away amongst the old heritage buildings of Gastown, The Birds & The Beets offers
a welcoming atmosphere, with a menu that would make your hypothetical hipster- grandmother proud. With a farm-to-table selection, a solid cup of coffee, and on-tap kombucha, this space checks off all of my boxes. The prices are reasonable for the quality they deliver, and — as I can attest —their bread is as good as it smells. If you’re not scared to get a little messy, I recommend the pork sandwich, which has pickled kohlrabi and apple slaw, giving it a unique twist. For me, this café manages to add a bit of luxury to the drudgery of exams and gives me every incentive to stay. In fact, I would go so far as to say it achieves the impossible – it makes me look forward to studying.

– Freya Wasteneys // Contributor

Waves Coffee on 1st

93 Lonsdale Ave, North Vancouver
Photo: Helen Aikenhead

Although I love the comfort of my bedroom, every so often I like to venture off and find a new place to study. As an avid coffee lover and a barista myself, coffee shops are often a go-to study spot for me. Recently, one of my favourite places to study has been Waves on Lonsdale and First St., situated close to the Lonsdale Quay, and very accessible by transit. Plus, it’s usually pretty quiet, making it easy to focus on your work. Although I wouldn’t necessarily describe the atmosphere at Waves as being the most cozy, I find that it’s a great place to go to when you want to actually get work done. This is a spot that I especially love when it’s raining out,
as I find it calming and there is no smell I enjoy more than the smell of coffee. The best item on the menu is the hot chocolate. It’s made with chocolate chips instead of powder or syrup and you have the choice of milk, dark or white chocolate. My personal favourite is probably the dark chocolate mocha, although, the matcha latte comes in as a close second. After studying, I like to walk around lower Lonsdale to check out some of the new places that have opened up; it’s a great area to explore.

– Natasha Jones // Contributor

JJ Bean on 17th

125 17th Street E, North Vancouver
Photo: Helen Aikenhead

Located under the Loblaws off the East side of 17th and Lonsdale is a quaint and quiet JJ Bean that provides the perfect alcoves to study in. You will
be greeted by a young relaxed work staff that keeps the area exceptionally clean and the atmosphere collected. The staff seem to have full control over the
music — often, you will listen to entire artist discographies throughout the duration
of your stay. That’s alright though, a good taste in music seems to be a requirement
of employment at this location and the frequent barista sing-a-longs just add to the welcoming atmosphere. When I go to this JJ Bean, I’ll most likely grab a mint tea
and a muffin before finding a place to hide in one of the many private cubbies. After spending hours under the natural light and receiving countless hot water refills, I always feel accomplished but still relaxed after spending a study session here. I also love the menu options as they are designed to accommodate most dietary needs, offering fabulous baked goods and snacking options with similar prices to your average coffee shop. If you want to venture off-campus to find a new place to study, this is a location I would highly recommend. Especially to those who often get too distracted
by the busy and loud atmospheres of other coffee shops, because that’s something you won’t find here.

– Sarah Schmidt // Contributor

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