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Cop a Squat

Places in town to study, drink and eat when you need to escape the dorm room or your roommates



Midweek: Your friends are calling. Your roommates are restless. Soon, the people and party favors are on their way over. Nothing like an impromptu, midweek soire to break the monotony, your friends tell you. Problem is, as much as you'd like to partake in the merriment too, you've got a quiz to study for and a paper to finish writing.

At this point of you've got several options: a) Tough it out and try to get the work done; b) be a pain in the ass and whine to your roommates; c) go to the boring library; or d) seek out an alternative setting that is not only conducive to work, but has atmosphere to boot.

If you chose (d), read on. If you didn't choose (d), definitely read on. You probably need to break out of your sheltered little realm.

The fact is, ideal study places can go beyond your traditional library or bedroom desk. Off campus, there are places you can sit a spell, mainline some caffeine and contemplate the finer aspects of higher education. Places you can spread out the papers, plug in the laptop or gather in a group.

Note: We are not suggesting loitering, but rather, squatting. Be sure to at least order coffee, soda, something, and always tip well.

Here are our local favorites:

Pikes Perk (14 S. Tejon St.). Since opening a store downtown a few years back, Pikes Perk has become a main vein for java and a popular gathering spot. With great service and friendly patrons, its two-story setup is ideal for stealing away by yourself into a corner and remaining unnoticed for a few hours. There's an outside deck for the nice days, and a few comfy couches for those rainy afternoons. Watch out though, the couch can suck you in. There's also an outlet in the back corner of the room for those who need to plug in.

Wooglin's Deli (823 N. Tejon St.). The booths, up front and in the back, are comfy and spacious. Good coffee, great sandwiches and urban environment are huge pluses. Again, for those who need to plug in, there's an outlet above the booth near the soda machine. Keep in mind that first thing in the morning (they open at 7 a.m.) and during high lunch hour, this place gets packed and can get loud.

Poor Richard's Restaurant (324 N. Tejon St.). Great place to read or review notes. Most of the tables are too small to totally spread out on, with the exception of a few in the back room, near the giant plastic tree. By day, said rear room is home to frolicking children and their parents. After dinner time though, it's quiet and spacious. People pretty much leave you alone. Bonus: This place is synonymous with good pizza and fine beer.

Boulder Street Coffee Roasters (332 N. Tejon St.). Poor Richard's neighbor, this purveyor of sweet treats, fine coffees and other assorted beverages is hangout to a wide variety of downtown folk: hipster, hippie, high-schoolers and homeless (and everyone in between). Large booths, comfy tables, floor-to-ceiling windows and reasonable prices make you feel right at home.

Acoustic Coffee Lounge (5152 Centennial Blvd.). This is a great morning/afternoon study spot, with huge windows and scattered tables. You will remain undisturbed for hours. The owners are very cool, the coffee is very good, they have a full-service bar for those stressful days, and you can't beat the cheap-ass waffle sandwiches. And rumor has it that DSL lines are coming soon.

Montague's Coffee House (1019 S. Tejon St.). This is a quirky little place, excellent for tea drinkers -- possibly the best tea selection in the city. Its big tables, oversized chairs and overstuffed couches are very conducive to sitting for long periods. However, they are also conducive to sleeping, which is highly discouraged by the folks at the counter. Late afternoon (around tea time), this place can become infested with perfumey older women, most likely from the Broadmoor area. If you can manage that crowd, Montague's is a great little place to pore over your books.

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