Coffee Shop Collective
Where to go based on how sick you are of Penn (aka the further the better)
The first in an installment of coffee shop favorites, each time getting progressively farther.
Chapterhouse Coffee (Center City, Philadelphia)
It’s a bit of a trek, but when you’re tired of Penn, isn’t that the whole point? Situated around 9th and South Street, this coffee shop manages the incredible feat of being both cozy and providing ample seating at the same time. Even better? You get to choose between floor-to-ceiling window-side booths looking out into the neighborhood, comfy couches in front of a fireplace (not sure if they light it in winter, but I hope they do), or seats that give a view of the gorgeous backyard (Yes, backyard. It doesn’t get homier than this!. Still can’t find a seat? No problem, Chapterhouse has a lower level as well, and while it doesn’t offer any views, it is no less cozy and comfortable than the atmospheric wood-paneled rooms upstairs.
For drinks, you can settle for your basic (but delicious?) organic and fair trade coffee or tea, but you can also try out their own house-made sodas and smoothies in unique flavors such as vanilla black tea iced soda. And if you’re feeling munchy mid-study session, be sure to snag a scone or one of the countless brownie hybrids from their pastry collection. All that sugar and caffeine is sure to get you somewhere with your cramming.
Menagerie Cafe (Old City, Philadelphia)
Nestled in Old City, where the streets are cobblestone and the crowds are chattering and quaint, Menagerie is a little pocket filled with an atmosphere reminiscent of calm Sunday afternoons. The shop a go-to for the locals, who come in for a catch-up with friends or a quick breakfast with family and fill the cafe with a lively chatter. They perch in individual carrels or in the larger shared tables located further back in the shop — providing the option of laid-back social scene or as optimal, no-distraction space for hacking away at schoolwork. In short, the best of both worlds.
Featuring floor to ceiling windows that let in a flood of natural light, this little shop serves a host of espresso drinks, seasonal lattes (such as their signature turmeric latte), and a wooden cabinet of sugar crusted pastries. Dig into a flaky cinnamon morning bun or try out their yogurts with house-made granola — either will satisfy your cravings, warm your belly, and best of all, warm your heart.
Hungarian Pastry Shop (Columbia University, New York City)
A much beloved spot for students at Columbia, this family-run cafe has been serving handmade cookies and cakes at affordable prices for decades. What really makes the Hungarian Pastry Shop shine is its gorgeous collection of pastries. Head in any day of the week and you’ll step into a charming hubbub rising up from friendly reunions after a long week, “oohs” and “ahs” from customers poring over glass-fronted displays of raspberry linzer cookies and caramel chocolate layer cake, and the clatter of dishes and plates flowing out from the back kitchen.
The shop is not only home to delicious almond croissants that almost always sell out by noon, it is also the birthplace of many a book. Its warm lit walls are decorated with several framed covers of such works.But hey, even if you’re no writer, the shop’s clutter of wooden tables and chairs are a welcome study spot any day. Grab a warm croissant with butter (If you’re going to indulge, might as well go all the way, no?), get a hot latte, and grind away.
Brooklyn Coffee Roasters (Brooklyn, New York City)
A spacious and airy warehouse turned coffee roastery and cafe, Brooklyn Coffee Roasters houses exposed metal beams and wires, rough wooden tables, rows of benches, and old school roastery machines on display throughout the shop. Located right next to the Hudson River, this roastery offers a wide selection of coffees — their expressoes are deep and bitter and rich — in addition to teas and imported pastries. If you’re sick of coffee, though, no problem. Simply head over to the other side of the warehouse to a blue-tiled bar that serves up hot mugs of steaming, creamy matcha. While the view from this roastery isn’t great (mainly run-down piles of equipment), the interior is definitely a go-to for anyone eager for an open-spaced, high-ceilinged coffeehouse.