by Matt Klein
Studying is hard,
dorms are noisy, and sometimes, for sanity-related reasons, you can't hole
yourself up in the library indefinitely. Thus, cafés are often an attractive
option, offering the popular central nervous system stimulant caffeine,
frequently with some modicum of peace and quiet and a 512 kbps wireless
internet connection. Following are descriptions of a few of the many Rochester cafés that serve the area studentry with
caffeine and free wireless internet. A more comprehensive list is included.
Starry Nites 696 University Avenue, 271-2630
During a brief, lucid break from his violent mental illness, Vincent van Gogh created an arguably peaceful painting called "The Starry Night." That makes this café, decorated with wall-size murals of that and other Van Gogh works, an excellent and tranquil place to study. A smaller and quieter (at least when there isn't a band playing) setup, Starry Nites fits the classic cafe mold perhaps better than any place in Rochester. Plentiful sidewalk seating is a huge plus in the right weather.
Even though it's a smaller cafe, Starry Nites serves food on par with many of the bigger outfits. The croissants taste especially fresh, which could potentially make studying French more enjoyable. They offer brewed coffee and a decent selection of hot and frozen espresso drinks, as well as smoothies.
Spot Café200 East Street, 613-4600
Spot seems to be the go-to café for many Rochester students. It's a great place to study. While frequently laden with both the studious and the thirsty, Spot is expansive enough to allow for comfort. Strategically placed curtains even make for some excellent nooks, and the upstairs balcony takes you out of the hustle and bustle should you need to lose yourself in a biology book.
But if distractions are more your thing, Spot will still work. The building -- a former car dealership --could be studied itself for some time. It's committed to its theme of high art-deco with a touch of '50s diner style: columns with decorative designs reminiscent of the ChryslerBuilding stenciled on them; a giant chrome fireplace that stretches up to the ceiling; and even a life-sized bronze dalmation statue that went out of vogue in the '20. Old furniture dominates some of the seating areas and murals whimsically spot the walls.
The ordering process might be called whimsical, too. Things are either "parked" (for here) or "on wheels" (to go). Continuing the auto motif, food orders come with a toy car, or some other sort of tchotchke, which is used to claim the comestibles. The menu sticks mostly to sandwiches and pastries, and most items satisfy (sandwiches especially are simple and crisp). Drink selection is solid unless you are looking for flavored coffee, which they don't brew.
Mykonos Café3423 Winton Place, 475-0400
Mykonos rises from the middle of the large, forlorn asphalt lot at the corner of Winton and Brighton Henrietta Townline Road with all the shiny glowing drama of the Las Vegas Strip. Its polished chrome facade makes it look inviting even at 4 a.m. on a Saturday night, when it is the only place open in town. Since it is open 24 hours on weekends, with humming fluorescent lights and free refills on coffee, this is perhaps the Rochester location most conducive to binge study sessions. A full-service restaurant with an extensive menu, it should provide all the necessary nourishment for finals week. The crowd, as befits an all-night diner, is more eclectic and less student-y than other places, but that means you might actually be able to get some work done before running into and awkwardly nodding at that kid in your Civ seminar.
The menu encompasses both traditional Greek and traditional diner fare. Portions are hearty, and desserts are abundant.
Java's 16 Gibbs Street, 232-4820
An average Java's hipster expressing his thoughts on the café:
"Java's is like, um, pretty low-key, and, artsy, I guess? The drink menu's kinda good; it's, you know, creative -- heavy on strong espresso drinks (The Chaplain, a double shot w/a touch of vanilla over ice, is probs my fave) and lighter on frappy stuff but with tea and such too. The baristas on a whole look studiously disheveled and lanky or whatever. Um, what else? The food is like, authentic; the stuff tastes fresh and the menu updates on a regular basis. I mean, I've really been more into dosas and bajji and stuff since I traveled extensively near Bangalore, but what they've got here definitely doesn't suck. Oh, and the décor? Well...If you picture the cover of Dinosaur Jr.'s "You're Living All Over Me"except with fully formed areas of vibrant saturated Kandinsky-esque color, that's a decent approximation of the space's vibe, which, generally speaking, matches the tenor of the artwork there. Yeah, I'd describe that as, um, high irony and wan amateur self-satire/portraiture, a label that incidentally kind of perfectly describes the crowd there. No, I did not get that from Pitchfork. Also, there is a pool table! And live music! Which are cool, I think."
Canaltown Coffee Roasters6 Main Street, Pittsford, 248-0390
There are plenty of café options for those students going to school outside the city proper. But if fresh coffee is your thing, Canaltown Coffee Roasters may be your best bet. Canaltown roasts its beans right on East Avenue and then hauls them to this small Pittsford cafe. The location is rarely crowded, and seating ranges from comfortable couches to small tables to a long counter with a view of Main Street, all of which would make for excellent study spots. Pastries -- but no other food -- are available.
Below is a partial list of local businesses that offer wireless Internet connections. Note that some of these charge for connections, so call to check on pricing and hours.
Atlanta Bread Company1 E Main Street, 546-1120; 2949 Monroe Avenue, 461-1430
Baird Road Pub1226 Fairport Road, 641-0419
Boulder Coffee Co.100 Alexander Street, 454-7410
Bagel Bin2600 Elmwood Avenue, 461-4475
Bodhi's Village Gate274 N. Goodman Street, 473-2030
Canaltown Coffee Roasters1805 East Avenue, 271-6690; 6 South Main Street, Pittsford, 248-0390
Camille's 657 Park Avenue, 442-4986; PittsfordPlaza, 3349 Monroe Ave, 383-5660
Clover Lanes Bowling Alley2750 Monroe Avenue, 244-1484
Daily Perks389 Gregory Street, 271-2340
The Distillery1142 Mount Hope Avenue, 271-4105; 3010 Winton Road South, Henrietta, 339-3010
Don's Original2545 Monroe Ave, Brighton, 244-2080
Equal Grounds 750 South Avenue, 242-7840
Finger LakesCoffeeRoastersPittsfordPlaza, 3349 Monroe Avenue, 385-0750; 616A Pittsford-Victor Road, Bushnell's Basin, 249-9310
Flat Iron Café561 State Street, 454-4830
George Eastman House
Café 900 East Avenue, 271-3361
Wegmans Geneseo 4287 Genesee Valley Plaza, 243-9000
Java Joe's Public Market, 232-5282
Java Junction56 Main Street, Brockport, 716-637-9330
Java's16 Gibbs Street, 232-4280
Manhattan Bagel1520 Ridge Road West, 663-2740
MonroeCounty Libraries Central Library, 115 South Avenue, 428-7300; many other branches listed at www2.libraryweb.org
Monty's Krown875 Monroe Avenue, 271-7050
MountHope Diner1511 Mount Hope Avenue, 256-1939
MacGregor's Many area locations, listed at www.macgregorsgrillandtaproom.com
Mykonos 3423 Winton Place, 475-0400
Natural Oasis288 Monroe Avenue, 325-1831
Panera Bread Many area locations, listed at www.panerabread.com
Park Ave Laundromat466 Park Avenue, 461-5250
Pita Pit 311 Alexander Street, 454-2510; 1100 Jefferson Road, 475-1040
Starry Nites696 University Avenue, 271-2630
SPIN Caffe739 Park Avenue, 866-774-6223
Spot Coffee200 East Avenue, 613-4600
Starbucks Many area locations, listed at www.starbucks.com
Tim Hortons Many area locations, listed at www.timhortons.com