A Change of Scenery: Café Recs for a Brighter Study Day

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As midterms come to an end and final exams approach, you may be yearning to shake up your mundane McLennan routine. For those who are looking to change their study vibe, here is a list of five great study alternatives around Montreal that can convert the McLennan regular into a lifelong café-studier. If you’re looking for free Wi-Fi, delicious treats, and a break from Toi, Moi & Café, keep reading. 

Livia

Location: Downtown, 1468 Peel

Vibe: Livia boasts modern architecture with its white walls, vibrant artwork, and decorative plants, making it a nice place to escape the bustle of downtown life. This casual coffee shop provides a relaxed atmosphere and plays smooth R&B; if you prefer to work in pure silence, this may not be the spot for you.

Food and Drink: The menu is full of healthy options like avocado toast with smoked salmon, acai bowls, and Pad Thai. They also have a decadent selection of baked goods, including muffins, cookies, and shortbread. Livia meets all your caffeine needs, offering cold brew, cappuccino, and matcha lattes. If you have dietary restrictions this is your safe haven, offering multiple milk replacements such as oat, almond, and coconut.

Tommy

Location: Old Montreal, 200 Notre-Dame West

Vibe: Tommy stuns with Victorian architecture, an opulent aesthetic, tons of greenery and walls filled with mirrors. The multi-level seating offers a spectacular view of Old Port, and the large windows provide natural light, keeping you alert and productive.  This is a popular spot, so be forewarned: finding a seat, especially a large table on the weekend, can be challenging. Tommy might not be the best place for group work, but you will love it if you need a quiet place to pump out an essay or study for an exam.

Food and Drink: Tommy offers a fantastic range of options for tea and coffee lovers. If you find yourself feeling under the weather this fall season, try the turmeric or chai tea latte, perfect for nursing a cold (on top of being delicious). If you’re looking for a dose of caffeine, Tommy offers a fix for the traditional and trendy coffee lover. Whether you try Tommy’s almond milk cold brew or their classic cup of brewed coffee, you will not be disappointed. If you’re hungry, Tommy will satisfy your cravings with a perfectly crispy and gooey grilled cheese, buttery croissant, or decadent Nutella donut.  

Café St-Barth

Location: McGill Ghetto, 3500 Park  

Vibe: Located on the corner of Parc and Milton, Café St-Barth is a McGill Ghetto gem. Quiet, charming, and full of hanging greenery, this café provides a zen environment, ideal for focusing on any task. If you are looking for a quick study break, the enormous rectangular windows make Café St-Barth the perfect location for people-watching. The café also has a combination of individual and shared tables, perfect for a study date, or catching up on some alone time. 

Food and Drink: Stop by Café St-Barth for a classic cappuccino, or to mix it up with a hot chocolate or a freshly squeezed juice. If you’re looking for a reasonably priced breakfast or an afternoon pick-me-up, order the yogurt bowl topped with fresh fruit, crunchy granola, and a drizzle of honey. If you want something more decadent, go for the eggs Benedict, Belgian waffle, or ham and cheese croissant. 

Crew Collective & Café

Location: Old Port, 360 St. Jacques 

Vibe: Crew Collective & Café is the spot for anyone looking to bring some glamour into their workday. The café dazzles with its preserved historical architecture that was once the Royal Bank’s corporate headquarters and the tallest landmark in Canada. The open-concept café is full of large working tables, couches, and small rooms that can be reserved in advance — perfect for group work. The natural light shines through the grand arched windows, creating an ideal setting for you to focus in this breathtaking setting. 

Food and Drink: Don’t be fooled by the historical architecture; Crew Collective & Café’s services are exceptionally modern, especially when it comes to their menu. The café allows you to order online from your table, and the friendly staff bring it over. From espresso-based to brewed coffee, Crew Collective & Café has it all. Pair your coffee with a fresh baked good or a St. Viateur bagel — or both!

Café Olimpico

Location: Mile End, 124 Saint Viateur West; Old Port, 419 Saint Vincent

Vibe: In 2018, England’s Telegraph included Café Olimpico on its ranking of the “50 greatest cafés on Earth.” As the author Chris Moss noted: “Olimpico is great because it’s just a café.” An authentic Italian café with a Mile End twist creates an atmosphere that will make you feel right at home. Take a study break and watch soccer on TV, or chat with the friendly tattooed baristas. Café Olimpico is the perfect spot to have a new cultural experience and still be productive. 

Food and Drink: Café Olimpico is perfect for coffee connoisseurs. It’s an old-school Italian café that serves traditional espressos and cappuccinos. If you want a heavenly experience, order a cannoli or biscotti to dip into the cloud of frothed milk in your cappuccino. Another must-try Italian treat is affogato. The beautiful combination of vanilla ice cream and espresso is the perfect way to treat yourself after writing an essay.  

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