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Best cafes in Berkeley for studying

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SEPTEMBER 19, 2014

During your time at UC Berkeley, there is one thing you certainly need to find – your study place soulmate. This is the place where you can zone in on your work and get stuff done without being interrupted or distracted. There are a wide variety of options to choose from: libraries, living rooms, dorm room common areas and cafes. You’ll have to check out the other options on your own, but to help get you started, the Clog took a trip around town this week and ranked five of the most popular cafes based on the things we want most in a study space. We ranked them on a scale from 1 (boo) to 10 (yay). Check it out!

1. Cafe Milano


Coffee, drinks and food: 7 – They have great big salads and satisfying lattes with cool designs on them.

Internet connection: 3 – Don’t go here if you need a consistent flow of Internet connection, because you’re not going to get that.

Space: 4 – This is a great place to study alone or with one other person. It’s generally crowded, so you’re not going to find large open tables.

Low noise level: 5 – It’s not crazy loud, but just bring some headphones, and you’ll be fine.

Distance to campus: 10 – You can’t get much closer than Milano — it’s the best!

Favorite thing: The architecture in this place is gorgeous, especially if you sit upstairs. It’s definitely worthy of a study session.

Least favorite thing: The lighting isn’t sufficient if you have a crap-ton of reading to do, especially at night.

2. Caffe Strada


Coffee, drinks and food: 6 – The coffee offerings are similar to Milano’s, but there are far less food options.

Internet connection: 5 – The connection is far from amazing, but it’s not terrible, either.

Space: 7 – This place is crowded, but tables open up fairly quickly, and there’s enough space for larger study groups.

Low noise level: 8 – It doesn’t get too loud since the majority of the seating is out in the open air, which is really nice.

Distance to campus: 9 – It’s close to the east side of campus, which is great if you have class near Kroeber Hall.

Favorite thing: The patio is ah-mazing. It’s beautiful and classy and has heat lamps to keep you warm on a cool night.

Least favorite thing: This place is CASH ONLY … and the ATM in the cafe charges a fee if you use it — not the most convenient.

3. Cafe Blue Door 


Coffee, drinks and food: 8 – We can’t complain about the iced coffee we got. The food is pretty expensive, but it is good quality, and the portions are fair.

Internet connection: 1 – Don’t even bother with the Wi-Fi. We couldn’t get it to work at all. You can connect to AirBears, however, if you sit closer to the entrance.

Space: 8 – We love the large square tables that nicely accommodate two people (or one person with a bunch of stuff).

Low noise level: 2 – It’s pretty loud and echo-y in here, but headphones can do the trick if you can listen to music while studying.

Distance to campus: 7 – It’s close to the south end of campus, but it’s a little far from the main buildings.

Favorite thing: The natural lighting in this cafe is splendid. It’s wonderful place to study during the day.

Least favorite thing: Wi-Fi doesn’t work at all (based on our experience). Cross your fingers for a free table in the front or else there will be no Internet connection for you.

4. People’s Cafe


Coffee, drinks and food: 9 – People’s Cafe has the widest variety of all these cafes by far. There are delicious sandwiches and salads, pastries and goodies, famous hot chocolate, decent coffee and lots of tea options.

Internet connection: 2 – Not good. Don’t waste your time on the Internet here, as it constantly goes in and out.

Space: 5 – You can find a table, but they’re awfully cramped and close to the other tables.

Low noise level: 6  –The “quiet zone” for studying helps keep this place somewhat quiet.

Distance to campus: 4 – Unless you frequent Downtown and like to use BART to get around, this place is a bit out of the way.

Favorite thing: The wall art in the study room is awesome.

Least favorite thing: The spacing of the tables is cramped, and it gets pretty stuffy in the back.

5. Philz Coffee


Coffee, drinks and food: 7 – Coffee connoisseurs rejoice! The coffee quality takes the cake here. There are also tasty vegan and gluten-free pastries, but unfortunately, there are no substantial food options.

Internet connection: 7 – Compared with the other cafe Internet connections, this place is a godsend.

Space: 3 – It’s hard to find tables here because it’s always busy.

Low noise level: 10 – Whether it’s just the quantity of Northside people or the distance between the study area and the cafe, Philz is full of people who know how to study. They’re so quiet, it’s inspiring. If you have a lot of solo work or reading to do, head over to Philz.

Distance to campus: 1 – *Insert tears* It’s so far from campus. So. Far. But it’s definitely worth the trip if you have a good chunk of study time.

Favorite thing: The variety of people here. You’ll find more than just stressed-out college students, which is a nice change of pace. Also, the baristas are super friendly and helpful. Oh, and Cheese Board Collective is a mere 1 minute walk away. So once you’re buzzed up on coffee, you can get your gourmet pizza fix.

Least favorite thing: Did we mention it was far from campus? It is. It also closes pretty early, so come here to study on weekends or during the daytime.

These rankings are just based on our experiences, and each one is great in its own way. Take a trip to each of these cafes, and tell us about your own cafe experiences in the comments below!

Image Sources: Featured Image, Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4, Image 5

Contact Kristen McFadden at [email protected].

SEPTEMBER 19, 2014

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