Maybe it was a long night out, and now it’s time for the Sunday Scaries, and you really need to get stuff done. Maybe you just feel the need to get off-campus. Maybe you’re looking for that perfect study spot. If there’s one thing that all sleep-deprived college students crave, it’s coffee. PJ’s Coffee on campus is a great option, but it can also be nice to leave campus and explore Uptown in search of that magical cup of energy. Never mind the fact that a nice coffee shop can be the perfect change in scenery from Howie T. to get productive as finals approach. The options are plentiful, and in the article below I’m going to rank some of my favorite spots around campus, all within walking distance.
First on this list is Rue de la Course, a café housed in an old bank building on the corner of Oak St. and Carrollton Avenue, which is about a fifteen-minute walk from campus. Complete with a balcony overlooking the tables below, this coffee shop certainly carries an air of grandeur, while still reverberating with the laid-back vibes you would expect in a coffee shop full of people reading, working, or just hanging out. Their menu is complemented by a wide selection of organic syrups to add to your drinks, and their bagel sandwiches never miss. If you’re lucky enough to snatch a table in the indoor balcony area, you’re able to take a break anytime to do some people-watching before getting back to work. The marble walls and regal chandelier are definitely enough to inspire an especially creative essay or two, and their coffee is certainly decent as well, although I would rate the atmosphere higher than the coffee itself.
Next up is Z’otz Cafe, located just past Rue de La Course on Oak Street. In sharp contrast to the majesty of Rue de la Course, Z’otz is a narrow café filled with wacky artwork, decorated doorways, and fantastical decorations (including a fully dressed mannequin, complete with lipstick and eyeliner). It almost feels as if you’ve been transported into another dimension. The walls are darkly painted, the windows covered, and the lighting is dim. The café is complete with a courtyard in the back, and the outlandish aesthetic continues in the art across the fencing. They sell coffee and pastries, and the latter, in my opinion, is better than the former. I prefer this spot to Rue de la Course, and it is also open until 1 am, so if you really need to escape Howie T. late at night, this is the spot I would recommend.
Heading in the opposite direction from campus, on Magazine Street there are two stops to talk about: Undergrowth Coffee and La Boulangerie. La Boulangerie is slightly closer to campus, and both are a decent walk unless you take the streetcar. La Boulangerie has a crisp aesthetic, dominated by white tables and a well-lit, large indoor seating area. The pastries are fantastic, but as the name of the shop (which in French means a store for bread) suggests, the bread is the real stunner. The coffee to go along with it is pretty good, and they also have a nice seating area out back, away from the hustle-and-bustle of Magazine. While it’s more of a walk than Z’otz or Rue de la Course, it makes for a fantastic breakfast stop, even if you don’t hang around to study or have a cup of coffee.
Undergrowth Coffee is a super small coffee shop right next to Peaches Records, just past the intersection of Napoleon and Magazine. It’s relatively new, having opened in early 2020, and they roast their own coffee on-site. The entire entrance room is painted green, with a wall of mirrors facing the register. The baristas are very friendly and know regular customers by name, giving the space a very homey and welcoming feel. Their options, however, are pretty limited, so unless they have exactly what you like, it might not be the place for you to frequent.
Next up is a coffee shop that needs little introduction: French Truck Coffee. Located on a quiet corner on Dryades Street, this bright yellow café is distinct for more than just its color scheme. Its coffee is fantastic, and it boasts indoor and outside seating that’s suitable for studying or just lounging. It has a wide variety of drinks on its menu, although I personally would recommend a hazelnut latte, and pastries to go with it if you so desire. If you really feel like it, you can even get a hat or a tote bag to go with your outfit. Out of all the coffee shops mentioned so far, this one is my favorite.
However, there is one coffee shop I would rank above French Truck: the Rook Café on Freret Street. This is my personal favorite café around campus, and it is only a 20 minute walk down Freret. Their expansive menu is full of unique drinks, such as combinations of lavender and honey, and you can always get a plain coffee if you aren’t feeling adventurous. If you’re really lucky, you can sit right in the storefront window, in an armchair with cushions thicker than some of the mattresses around campus. The environment is super relaxing, and it’s the perfect spot to spend an afternoon working through a paper. The coffee is some of the best I’ve had, and it is never hot to the point where it burns your mouth – it is always served at the perfect temperature. The drinks are all Star Wars themed, so if you’re a fan of the galaxy far, far away you’ll like this place even more. Along the walls is artwork made by local artists for sale, and in addition to the armchairs there is a range of seating from tables to couches.
There are a plethora of options for grabbing coffee off campus, and there are many nearby that weren’t mentioned in this article, like Petite Rouge. These are some of my personal favorites. I would recommend all of them, although some more than others. Breaking the campus bubble doesn’t have to involve taking time away from doing work – any of these places would be great for doing homework. They’re all super accessible, and not incredibly expensive. And who doesn’t love a good coffee?
Cover Photo: workfrom.co