The Best Cafés for Studying and Working around Boston

Achieve peak productivity at these 20 laptop-friendly coffee shops.

Evy

Evy / Photo by Eddie Vo

Have a big term paper due, studying for exams, or need a change of scenery while working from home? Check out Boston magazine’s guide to the best cafés, coffee shops, and bars for students and professionals alike. We grabbed some coffee and got down to business to find the top spots for (cold) brews, savory bites, free WiFi, and plenty of outlets. So order a beverage—and maybe a bagel—and look at our notes on Boston’s best cafés for studying. After all, espresso and efficiency go hand in hand.

ALLSTON/BRIGHTON

Blue State Coffee

A bonus for the clientele of mainly studious Terriers at this Boston University campus café? Blue State donates 2 percent of its profits to local charities of customers’ choice. Better still, its open until 10 p.m. every night, which means you can stay up just late enough to finish that paper.

957 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 617-254-0929, bluestatecoffee.com.

Fuel America

Why do Boston College students flock to this Brighton gem? No clamoring for outlets in this room, filled with comfy leather chairs and spacious wooden tables. Coffee is the primary focus, but non-caffeinated options include fresh-pressed juice, smoothies, and such handcrafted seltzer drinks as the Earth Tonic, a citrusy concoction that’s like “sunshine in a jar.”

152 Chestnut Hill Ave., Brighton, 617-782-0999, fuelamericacoffee.com.

Pavement

Pavement Coffeehouse / Photo by Gregory Waldo

Pavement Coffeehouse

You’ll find Pavement in neighborhoods all over Boston, but the new roastery/café in Brighton might have the freshest coffee and bagels: The menu staples are roasted and baked here daily. It’s also the ultimate study spot among the local chain, with a sunny seating area inside a revamped warehouse, and a small, seasonal patio to work al fresco.

415 Western Ave., Brighton, 617-766-6052, pavementcoffeehouse.com.

BACK BAY & SOUTH END

Barrington Coffee Roasting Company

This local roaster’s Newbury Street outpost offers both airy outdoor seating and well-lit indoor spots. Study snacks include gourmet doughnuts, the Parlor Ice Cream Co. affogatos, and cold-brew matcha. And if you see an all-nighter in your future, snag a bag of Barrington’s signature roasts to take home.

303 Newbury St., Boston, 857-250-2780, barringtoncoffee.com.

CuppaCoffee

Need a mental vacation? Take a trip down under at this local, Australian-inspired mini-chain and post up with some Lamingtons or Tim Tams, and unlimited Flat Whites. In addition to fast WiFi and ample seating, the South End location provides classic brekky bites like ham-and-cheese croissants and meat pies—Vegemite optional.

57 Traveler St., 857-317-2148, trycuppacoffee.com.

Render Coffee malted cold brew

Render Coffee malted cold brew. / Photo provided

Render Coffee

Need a cozy corner to call your office for a few hours? Hidden among a row of classic Boston brownstones, this South End café has a relaxed atmosphere and a glass-ceilinged atrium. Plug in and get to work—or procrastinate while staring out the window—while the baristas craft your pour-over coffee and rosemary-potato egg sandwich.

563 Columbus Ave., Boston, 617-262-4142, rendercoffeebar.com.

CHARLESTOWN

Charlestown Tea and Treats

This tearoom has quickly won the hearts of Charlestown’s laptop nomads thanks to its intriguing menu and cute interior (see: the Dog Wall of Fame that displays Polaroids of the shop’s furry visitors). Choose among specialty tea blends like black tea sangria and pineapple basil chamomile. As for the treats? Try tea-inspired ice cream scoops, like white chocolate matcha and cinnamon spice—perhaps best enjoyed (in season) on the sunshine-filled patio.

1 Monument Ave., Charlestown, 262-527-3250, Facebook.

DOWNTOWN BOSTON

Equal Exchange Café

This coffee cooperative helps Bostonians stay woke in more ways than one; it sources organically grown, fairly traded beans to roast in a local-worker-owned facility. Fresh-baked goodies and a soothing mountain mural make the North Station-area café a welcoming West End corner to call your own, if only for a few hours.

226 Causeway St., Boston, 617-372-8777, equalexchange.coop.

Jaho

Jaho Coffee Roaster & Wine Bar / Photo provided by Jaho

Jaho Coffee Roaster & Wine Bar

Whether it’s espresso or an espresso martini, this spacious, vaguely steampunk bar has your fuel. Night owls, take note: the Chinatown location stays open until 11 p.m. on weeknights and midnight on weekends, making the transition from caffeine to alcohol all the more seamless.

665 Washington St., Boston, 857-233-4094, jaho.com.

JAMAICA PLAIN

Evy Tea Bar

A garage-turned-tea bar, this urban oasis near the Stony Brook Orange Line station is an escape from the daily grind. It is a decidedly no-rush zone, and that goes for the beverages, too: owner Evy Chen steeps her signature cold-brew teas for 16 hours to impart delicate flavors of herbs, fruits and spices. When the sun’s out, sip a tea latte in the dog-friendly herb garden.

253 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, 857-264-6106, evytea.com.

Ula Café

When Rik Kleinfeldt and Paula Anderson took over this neighborhood favorite in 2016, they forfeited a beer and wine license to focus on coffee, though Ula remains a popular spot to grab a sandwich on house-made bread. The rotating gallery of artwork on the exposed-brick walls might provide a jolt of inspiration, while the New Harvest Coffee drinks certainly will.

284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, 617-524-7890, ulacafe.com.

SOUTH BOSTON & SEAPORT

Brew

Brew / Photo by Gustav Hoiland

Brew

Located inside the innovation community-focused District Hall, this coffee spot is equipped with couches, conference tables, and even dry erase boards for group brainstorming. A constant supply of Barrington iced coffee is always at the ready, plus brain food like breakfast burritos and protein-packed Cobb salads.

District Hall, 75 Northern Ave., 617-982-7230, brewcafeboston.com.

Coppersmith Café

The restaurant and rooftop bar aren’t exactly conducive to productivity, but the 2016 addition of a 10,000-square-foot café—with its own separate entrance—means you can get crowd-pleasing menu items, like jalapeño-ranch-slathered Southie Tots, with a relaxed vibe and high-speed Internet. The café menu also offers healthy options like the kale-and-quinoa Copper Bowl, alongside Blue Fire Coffee Roasters blends.

40 W. 3rd St., Boston, 617-658-3452, coppersmithboston.com.

CAMBRIDGE

Atomic Bean Café

Set just outside the hustle Central and Harvard squares, this small coffee shop offers both ample seating and a quiet working environment. The expansive menu serves up savory sandwiches like Breakfast in Bread (a flaky croissant filled with potatoes, eggs, sausage, and cheese), bright salads, and enough caffeine options to keep you going.

904 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-499-0972, Facebook.

Bourbon Coffee

The New England outpost of this D.C.-spawned mini-chain has become a favorite for folks in Lesley University territory. Coffee lovers will appreciate the direct-trade philosophy behind the Rwandan beans, and scholars will appreciate plentiful seating, the relaxed atmosphere, and easy outlet access. Enjoy a hibiscus-hued Purple Rain iced tea, or a Matcha Monster between classes.

1815 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-868-6500, bourboncoffeeusa.com.

Broadsheet

Broadsheet Coffee Roasters / Photo by Julie Ciollo

Broadsheet Coffee Roasters

Alerting passers-by to the superior espressos, cortados, and lattes from Cambridge’s first-ever coffee roaster is a pink neon “COFFEE” sign. Since opening in July 2017, this café has also pleased crowds with a distinctly Middle Eastern-influenced menu items like the Georgian egg boat—a bread vessel topped with feta, mozzarella, spinach, egg, and your choice of zhug hot sauce or sun-dried tomato tapenade—served up in an open, airy space.

100 Kirkland St., Cambridge, 617-945-2867, broadsheetcoffee.com.

Longfellows

Longfellows at Lamplighter Brewing Co. / Photo by Alisha Fowler

Longfellows

By nighttime, this Cambridge place is Lamplighter Brewing Company, but by day, you’ll find cold brew on draft instead of wild ales and IPAs (but you can always order a flight). Longfellows is named for the bridge that connects Boston and Cambridge, and this community focus informs locally sourced menu, including Union Square Doughnuts, pastries from neighbor Bondir, and specialty drinks like the seasonal eggnog latte.

284 Broadway, Cambridge, 617-945-0450, longfellowscambridge.com.

Revival

Revival / Photo by Gensler

Revival Café & Kitchen

Wonderland awaits not at the bottom of a rabbit hole, but a short walk from the Alewife T stop. The whimsical brainchild of Crema owner Liza Shirazi and chef Steve “Nookie” Postal of Commonwealth Cambridge, Revival has novelties like coffee sangria and sparkling iced teas, plus sandwiches on house-made English muffins, biscuits, and bagels.

125 Cambridge Park Dr., Cambridge, 617-665-5899, revivalcafeandkitchen.com.

SOMERVILLE

Remnant Brewery

This buzzy 2018 newcomer boasts ample seating both indoors and out, including an espresso bar up front and a beer bar beyond. And Bow Market’s café-slash-brewery is also a craft beverage go-to, with options from Barrington Coffee, AquaVitea kombucha, and more alongside house beers like the Dream Pop oat pale ale.

2 Bow Market Way, Somerville, 617-764-0641, remnantsomerville.com.

Winter Hill Brewing

Winter Hill Brewing / Photo provided by Winter Hill Brewing

Winter Hill Brewing

Swing by this brewery as early as 7 a.m. to start your morning with Counter Culture Coffee and a hearty breakfast sandwich. Stoke the mid-day fires of productivity with a spicy falafel-cauliflower sandwich. Then close out the workday with one of Winter Hill’s small-batch brews. We’ll cheers to that.

328 Broadway, Somerville, 617-718-2337, winterhillbrewing.com.


With reporting by Greta Bjornson, Brenna Donovan, Olivia Gehrke, Amanda Madigan, Devon Musgrave-Johnson, Sophie Nunnally, and Clare Zicari.