I really can't study in libraries.
February 19, 2012 7:06 PM   Subscribe

I need more coffee shops/restaurants in the Durham/Chapel Hill area to study in. Requirements: decent seating and wifi. Plugs a bonus but not a requirement.

After one too many times being asked to share a tiny table with a stranger at Mad Hatters, I need to change the places I study in. I'm already aware of most of the Durham places (Fosters, Guglhupf, Francesca's, Bean Trader's, etc.). I hang out at Barnes and Noble a fair amount too, mostly because they never bother me when I sit there for hours.

I haven't really ventured into Chapel Hill/Carrboro enough. Which are the best places to study there, with good coffee, wifi, and seating? The reviews on Yelp seem mixed as to whether I could just sit down and study at various coffee shops for a while.
posted by kingfishers catch fire to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Weaver Street! Free coffee. Same with Whole Foods, but the people watching ain't do great.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:42 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I meant to say free refills on coffee.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:43 PM on February 19, 2012

Weaver Street Market charges money for coffee, oceanjesse.

Open Eye and Looking Glass in Carrboro are both also good.
posted by thelonius at 7:52 PM on February 19, 2012

Blue Coffee in downtown Durham by the bull. Lots of seating and free wireless. I practically lived there during the three months I spent working in Durham in 2008. Don't miss the red velvet cake.
posted by fancypants at 8:08 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

i hate to blow up my own spot, but i think Looking Glass in Carrboro is less crowded than Open Eye, so it's easier to get a seat/get an outlet.

I've also been meaning to check out Bread & Butter on Rosemary Street, and Jesse's, which is where Rosemary runs into Main St.
posted by iahtl at 8:09 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding Open Eye in Carrboro. It's also located right next to a large public parking lot so, if you're driving there, it's always pretty easy to find parking.
posted by lucy.jakobs at 8:13 PM on February 19, 2012

Also: Cafe Driade is yummy, but you must pay for wifi. How weird is that?
posted by oceanjesse at 8:15 PM on February 19, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions so far.

Oh yeah! I forgot to mention that I'd prefer free parking. I know I usually have to pay for those tiny lots on Franklin Street. Is there easily available free parking for these spots?
posted by kingfishers catch fire at 8:16 PM on February 19, 2012

The three places I suggested have free parking.
posted by oceanjesse at 8:17 PM on February 19, 2012

Yeah. nthing open eye.
posted by greta simone at 10:26 PM on February 19, 2012

I would always go to the Hillsborough Waffle House.
posted by rainbowbullet at 11:15 PM on February 19, 2012

3 cups, near Whole Foods in CH, is tiny, but you might get a nice spot during non-rush hours. Not sure about the wifi - they may not have it.

This may sound weird, but I think all McDonald's restaurants have wifi. There's one on Franklin St. (free parking for customers).

My favorite place to work has been the Carrboro Cybrary. I guess I'm letting the secret out.

If you're OK with driving a little further, you might want to check out the dessert cafe in Southern Village; there's a Singaporean restaurant right near it, and a lovely lawn too.
posted by amtho at 11:46 PM on February 19, 2012

i like open eye, in part because i like the music they play there (which has been slightly-edgy but quite listenable electronica and alternative r&b whenever i've been there) also they have good bagels. it always looks full but i have yet to not find a free comfy seat *somewhere* in there. and yes, there is a big free parking lot right next door.
posted by messiahwannabe at 2:06 AM on February 20, 2012

On Broad St in Durham there's Joe Van Gogh and Broad St Cafe, too. The latter keeps changing and may not be that great for studying these days, but I have a friend who wrote her entire dissertation at Joe Van Gogh.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:48 AM on February 20, 2012

Former NC resident here, and I did most of my studying at Caribou but.... Are you OK with going into campus? One name not mentioned: the Daily Grind's actually a legitimately good coffee shop, and it's obviously got wi-fi and outdoor seating. Downside, of course, being all the students. Another that hasn't been mentioned is the cafe at Meadowmont, but not sure on wifi.

Your main problem is going to be parking, which Chapel Hill is notoriously terrible for. Weaver Street and Open Eye have it but are almost always packed. Most of the chains that aren't near campus have it but are chains. If you're on Franklin, this is not legal, but nobody ever enforces the University Square lot. Not that you'd illegally park there, you know. I'm just saying. (If you'd rather be legal, you can hope to get a spot on the street -- you won't get a spot on the street -- or wait until after 5 p.m. when most of UNC's parking lots open to the public.)
posted by dekathelon at 12:35 PM on February 20, 2012

I think 3 Cups does not have wifi, amtho, but it's a lovely place to sit.

* There is a Chapel Hill location of Fosters that can be good for studying, but they turn off the wifi during lunch hours (11-2 I think) to discourage lingering students.
* There's a Caribou on Franklin Street next to campus and another on Franklin and Estes--that one has free parking.
* Jessee's in Carrboro has free wifi and good food--the wifi expires after an hour but I'm pretty sure they'll let you renew it. It's small but if you don't go during busy brunch time you will most likely be able to find a seat.
* Johnny's in Carrboro recently opened back up (it shows up in google as a bait shop but it's now also a coffeeshop), and they have lots of room and free wifi.
* If you really want to change things up, University Mall in Chapel Hill is trying to lure people there by offering free wifi and lots of tables and couches in their public spaces. You can get coffee at Southern Season, or you can just set up in the mall without buying anything.
* The Red Bicycle in Chapel Hill is small but usually has seats available. Free wifi.
* I love Looking Glass! But I agree with iahtl, please don't everybody go there all at once!
* And maybe Parker and Otis in Durham if that's not already in your rotation?
posted by aka burlap at 5:42 PM on February 20, 2012

Oh, and forgot to mention Cafe Carolina in the Meadowmont shopping complex. I kind of hate it, but it's got free wifi, it's not too crowded, and you can get a sandwich and sit there undisturbed for hours.
posted by aka burlap at 5:44 PM on February 20, 2012

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