By Anna Barry
Photography by Angela Wang
As students, we constantly find ourselves holed up in the library writing a paper or studying for exams. Sometimes we need to take a break from the bleakness of Mugar and find a new environment, filled with unidentified Spotify playlists and the warm aroma of coffee beans, to get our creative juices flowing. Boston is home to many coffee shops that give students the opportunity to head out and explore the city, all while under the guise of being diligent and focused students.
Conveniently located on campus at 736 Commonwealth Ave., Pavement Coffee is the perfect go-to spot if you have a group project or if you want to quickly review before an exam. It offers free Wi-Fi for the first 2 hours, which is perfect if you need to use your laptop. However, be warned—during the week it can be hard to find a seat at Pavement, as it is packed with BU students and professors working on papers or projects. It is an ideal spot for students who have to focus on their work, but want to be amongst people. There is always the potential of running into someone you know at Pavement, which is nice because it provides a welcome break from studying.
If you want to get yourself out of the BU bubble, Crema Cafe at 27 Brattle St. in Harvard Square is a quick trip across the river. It might have less of the intimate coffee shop vibe, but the “cozy, French brasserie atmosphere,” as customer Amy Barry describes it, has “anything from small tables to big, shared communal tables where you will be accompanied by other students.” If you venture over to Crema, you should try to arrive early or else you have to bet on your luck, since it is always full. Not to mention, customers tend to linger over their conversations, food, or work. Fun fact: “caffé crema” is Italian for “cream coffee” and is an old name for “espresso.”
Thinking Cup, with multiple locations around the city, is a unique coffee shop that combines a quiet, yet quirky atmosphere that makes it easy to focus on your work. The location at 85 Newbury St. is a bit of a walk from campus, but places you in the heart of Boston. It may be hard to find a seat at the Newbury location because of the small, intimate space brimming with customers. The window seats are the perfect cure to the study blues because you can always peep outside and people watch on Newbury. If you are lucky enough to find a seat, it is a comfortable place to dig into your work as long as you do not need Wi-Fi—Thinking Cup does not provide Internet service. This can be a downfall when you need to use your laptop to study, but it’s the perfect place to pull out a book and unplug.
Ogawa Coffee, located at 10 Milk St.—could that street name be any more perfect for a coffee shop?—has an interesting twist on the coffee house experience. The seating in Ogawa, a Japanese coffeehouse, is different than your typical coffee shop. It has tiered seating that allows you to be a part of the coffee-making experience, but also offers table seating so that you can spread out your work and pull out your laptop. Although not as cozy as the others, the modern, sleek interior gives it an industrial feel that is perfectly suited for the neat freak inside all of us.
Caffé Nero also has multiple locations around Boston, but the one in Boston’s trendy South End has a comfortable, eclectic vibe that allows the customer the freedom to do whatever he or she came there to do. The antique leather couches, plush chairs and the noise of the espresso machine transports the customer to an Italian coffee house. There are a few large tables, which offer a nice study spot for a group project or friends to all study together. Whether you study by yourself in the comfort of a leather couch or sit at one of the communal tables, the charm of Caffé Nero is incomparable and offers a great alternative to Mugar.
Mugar may be the safe option for students, but the next time you are cramming for an exam or writing a paper, remember that our campus is in the midst of a wonderful city with many other options as a study spot. Get out there and soak up the eclectic vibes of the coffee shops around Boston. Order a cappuccino, nestle into that leather armchair and make studying practically bearable.