I’m old school: when I want to study, I drink coffee or tea to caffeinate intensively, with added sugar for fuel. Some people prefer more advanced forms of brain food, and some actually study on beer (maybe they need the carbs, or maybe they need to ballast their brains because they run too fast otherwise). Still, when all is said and done, there’s no denying the dominance of coffee shops when it comes to sipping and studying. Heavily weighing on things will be seating and atmosphere, since you’re likely not going to want to sit at an outdoor table with traffic snorting past, or in a crowded room with a basketball game on the big screen. Right?
Allann Brothers Beanery Café: Various locations
“The Bean” is a local institution, and deservedly so. They roast their own coffee and they train their servers with care. Their Monroe cafe is conveniently located for OSU students and their downtown location has plenty of room for group sessions. Their prices are lower than most in town, which is impressive considering what they are offering.
Ava’s Caf: Room 307, Linus Pauling Science Center, OSU
Location matters. The only thing better than being able to get coffee inside the Pauling Center is being able to get it inside the Valley Library itself (which you can also do – see below). It’s good coffee, too, and sitting on their retro-futuristic chairs is liable to make you feel sharper.
Beer:30: 1835 SE 3rd St.
A tavern would not be my first choice for a study venue, because they tend to be noisy and beer tends to make me sleepy (I think it’s the carbohydrates more than the alcohol), but Beer:30 is more of a beer connoisseur’s place, and consequently a lot quieter than your average pub. It’s a place for people who know their beer, and the prices reflect that (they don’t exactly have a Dime PBR Night). I think it has earned its spot in the list.
Campbell’s Laundry and Coffee Bar: 1118 NW 9th St.
A coffee bar in a laundromat is not a bad idea. Studying while your laundry runs isn’t a bad idea, either. Beyond that, the coffee at Campbell’s is good enough that I’d stop there any time I was in the neighborhood and had a joe jones. The low rumble of the machines makes a pleasant ambient background for study. The coffee is cheap, too.
Coffee Culture: Various locations
Each location is different, but you can get the same excellent coffee at any of them and they all have comfortable, quiet seating (except for the one which is a drive-through). The one on Kings has the most table space for group sessions. Prices are totally reasonable for what you’re getting.
DIY Tea and Beyond: 1849 NW 9th St.
They have plenty of space most of the time, and their bubble tea and milky tea are nourishing, which are good for crunch time. The prices seem on the high end, but I’m not too into bubble tea, so you’re best checking it out for yourself.
Imagine Coffee: 5460 SW Philomath Blvd
A large space where individuals and groups can study without interruption – except when there’s an event, which happens fairly often. But hey, that’s what you get with a cultural hub (and they are, in every sense of the word). Great coffee and goodies, although kind of spendy.
Interzone: 1563 NW Monroe Ave.
A very popular and much beloved study location near campus that’s been open so long that they took the name from a William Burroughs novel before “internet cafes” were even an idea (don’t worry, they have WIFI these days). Quiet corners, places where groups can set up for a cram session, and they have more than just coffee and pastries – you can get an actual meal most hours of the day. Prices are great. This is also the place to check out if you’re looking for Corvallis’ more interesting live performances in the evening.
Java II: Room 121, Valley Library, OSU
How can you beat being able to get coffee inside the library itself? Just don’t, for cryin’ out loud, spill anything on one of their books.
Java Stop: Memorial Union, OSU
Most places to get coffee in the MU are too noisy for good studying, but the Java Stop is an exception. They don’t have a “quiet study” policy, but there seems to be an unspoken understanding about the place. The coffee is better than at most of the other places, too.
Tried and True: 160 SW Madison Ave & 120 SW Cummings Ave
The downtown location is a bit cramped, and therefore is often noisy. The South Corvallis location is spacious and frequently used for public events… and therefore is often noisy. But when they’re not noisy, they’re really good for studying! Prices are slightly above average, but you get what you pay for.
White Wind Superfoods: 252 SW Madison Ave. #100
Most of the places on this list are coffee shops, and while this is a juice bar, you can indeed do some good studying on a drink dense in energy and nutrients – not to mention the nerve stimulants they can provide, including ginger, cacao, goji berries and good old caffeine. As a lad I heard tales of a thing called “Turkish coffee,” a drink beyond espresso. Well, they have that here, in an almond-milk shake with figs, dates and cacao nibs. Everything they offer is sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, and organic. Quality is high, and the prices reflect it.
By John M. Burt