Campus Café Showdown

By Christine E Mansour

Reading period is nearly upon us, and with it, the largest span of “unstructured” time since Opening Days and the birth of a new generation of Lamonsters.

But with great power comes great responsibility and we’re here to provide the information you need. If you’re wondering where to go for your daily cup of coffee (or, let’s be honest—your hourly caffeine dose by semester’s end), or if you’re just looking for a good place to make solid progress on papers and final projects, there’s no need to fear—Flyby is here for you, with a rundown of the four main options around the Yard.

(All locations accept BoardPlus or Crimson Cash.)

Lamont Café

Location: Lamont Library (really?)

Hours: Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. - 2 a.m., Friday, 9 a.m. - 8 p.m., Saturday, 3 p.m. - 8 p.m., Sunday 3 p.m. - 2 a.m.

Ah, Lamont Café. Tried and true, home to many a sleep-deprived student, an abundance of Chobani yogurts, and questionable sushi. Standard Starbucks fare here, so no surprises, and by far the best hours of all your options—in fact, it’s literally your only option of the four on the weekends and late nights (or rather early mornings). Sodas, Red Bull, and the usual vending machine fare can be found here in all its glory.

Great for studying, not so great for just a quick drink (have to pass those bag checks on your way out), a real meal, or for those who are driven nuts by the palpable pressure and anxiety of nearby Lamonsters.

Arts Café at Baker

Location: Barker Center at 12 Quincy Street

Hours: Monday - Thursday, 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Friday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Right in between Lamont and the Union dorms, the newly-opened Barker Center Rotunda Café boasts sandwiches, pastries, and salads from Hi-Rise Bakery and coffee from Culture Coffee. You’ll find a great, bohemian ambience with light music, high ceilings, leather couches, and more substantial food than Lamont—the menu includes quiche by the slice, bichermuesli, breakfast sandwiches, and salads. Certainly more pricey than some of the other options though—a single macaroon will run you $2.10, most cookies are $3.15, and salads go up to $10.75. (Note that Flyby reviewed the new establishment back in October, and found the quiche “passing.”)

Good place if you want to do some group work near the Yard, meet with English TFs and friends, or relax. Intensive studying, however, should probably be left to nearby Lamont. For those interested, the café also hosts a number of Art and Humanities-related events in the evenings throughout the semester.

Greenhouse Café

Location: Science Center

Hours: Monday - Thursday 7:30 a.m. - 8 p.m., Friday 7:30 a.m. - 7 p.m. (coffee cart only from 5 - 7 p.m.)

The Greenhouse Café’s Starbucks coffee cart is always busy in the mornings. Later on in the day, of course, Greenhouse offers a wide range of lunch and dinner options, ranging from Indian food and fruit smoothies to burritos and pizza. Fantastic for a quick bite when you’re tired of Annenberg or too lazy to trek over to your House—you can be in and out in less than a minute for most options and the diverse range of food offerings is always reliable.

This place is ideal for hanging out after science and math courses, hosting office hours, working on group projects, or enjoying the sun outside (though certainly not at this time of year). Not really the best place to do intensive academic work, however—best try out nearby Cabot Library, unless you’re enjoy noise, distraction, and the sounds of people rushing to and from LS1a.

Café Gato Rojo

Location: Basement of Lehman Hall, southwest corner of the Yard

Hours: Monday - Thursday 8 a.m. - 10 p.m., Friday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Perhaps the least known (or rather least visible) of the four options, Café Gato offers a small, comfortable space and great prices—$1 coffee if you bring your own mug, and 50 cent refills. The student-run café (which also features student art on its walls) hosts Jazz Jam sessions every week, and Open Mic Nights every other week.

Fantastic if you want to meet up with somebody, enjoy some croissants, or do some light reading, but might not be optimal for work unless you have noise-canceling headphones or enjoy working to “Just a Friend” (Biz Markie) and “Sunshine” (Atmosphere).

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