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Study spots and coffee pots

So you want to get serious about your schoolwork — really serious — you mean it this time. Now all you need is a good place to study.

Your room is too distracting, Starbucks is too crowded and the campus library doesn’t have food. Luckily, you go to school in Long Beach and there are little hidden cafes on practically every corner. You don’t have to venture far to find a study spot that fits your needs.

For light studying: Hiccups Tea House

Location: 1946 N. Lakewood Blvd.

Hours: 11 a.m. – 12 a.m.

This place is for people who were gifted with the ability to stay focused despite the amount of noise or people in the room –  or even those who enjoy the extra noise.

Think of Hiccups as a restaurant where it’s not considered rude to do schoolwork. The first thing you’ll hear when you walk in, if it’s not too crowded with talking people, is loud hip-hop music playing throughout the cafe. If you usually listen to music while doing schoolwork, this shouldn’t be a problem. Maybe the constant noise level will help you stay focused; I couldn’t relate.

If you come at just the right time, you may be able to get a table with an outlet next to it. There aren’t many seats  and even fewer with outlets available, though there are some tables set up outside. I was going to cross this place off my list until I saw two girls (with one of the few outlet tables) focused on their work; biology homework no less.

Jozel Salomon, a student at Long Beach City College, values convenience over quiet. She chooses Hiccups because it’s near her friend, and she doesn’t need complete quiet while she studies.

“It’s fine if you’re working with a group because you can talk over the music,” said Salomon. “But if you’re trying to read or work alone it can get distracting.”

Being 10 minutes from Cal State Long Beach, it’s not a bad bargain. The wide windows from wall to wall provide natural sunlight into the cafe unlike most low-lit, enclosed study spots.

The one thing that puts Hiccups over your typical study cafe: the menu. Their mango chamoy drink will strike strong nostalgia in almost every Mexican. Their garlic noodles and shaken beef hits the spot after a long day of studying.

They also have a variety of hot and cold teas, smoothies and coffees. The food alone is worth sitting through loud music and fighting for an outlet.

If you don’t mind the noise and people, Hiccups has the potential of a go-to study spot. With it’s variety of food and drinks along with free Wi-Fi and lots of natural sunlight, it’s the perfect place for group studying, or even some light schoolwork.

For the minimal noise students: The Library: A Coffee House

Location: 3418 East Broadway

Hours: 7 a.m. – 12 a.m.

Surrounded by restaurants and gift shops, The Library is hard to miss unless you’re looking for it. The Library is your typical cafe with a Long Beach zany twist.

It’s plain from the outside and I walked right past it the first time I came. The fun comes once you step inside. There are ornaments hanging from the ceiling at all times of the year, paintings by various artists, brightly colored couches and walls adorned with pictures of various artists and regulars of the coffee house.

Bookshelves line the walls of this cozy cafe and there is a piano in the corner of one room that I’ve been dying to hear somebody play.

The environment is much more suited to a student’s needs. Having studied here during finals week first semester, The Library has been on my list of go–to study spots since then. The smooth, low cafe music combined with rooms packed with people focusing on their work, with the occasional table or two of people talking or playing a card game provides you with all the study vibes you could want.

There are two rooms to choose from when you enter The Library. The first is generally meant for groups or people who want to quietly talk amongst themselves. The second room just past the counter is more quiet and focused.

My favorite spot in what I call the “quiet room” has a green couch in the back corner. It gives the perfect balance of comfort and ambiance to study, while I  sink into the couch and take an unashamed and well deserved cat-nap during my study breaks. There are outlets near almost every table and chair in the room and the music is just loud enough so that you can’t hear the people in the room, but can still hear your own thoughts.

The Library is a local favorite and fills up quickly during crunch time for the surrounding schools. If you plan on studying here during midterm or finals season, try to set up camp early in the day and find a good parking spot since it’s in a fairly busy area. Despite how crowded it gets, there is always a maintained level of noise that allows for studying.

One thing that sets The Library apart is its stamping system that benefits the regulars. Upon request, you can get a card stamped every time you purchase a drink and get your 10th drink free. These stamps can rack up quickly if you find yourself making the 12-minute drive from campus to The Library for every needed study session.

The only aspect of the coffee house that kept me searching for other study spots is the open mic nights. While I enjoy the occasional local artist and stand-up show, there is a time and a place, and my study time is not to be tampered with.

Open mic nights are in the quiet room, where most people plop down for the night to get their work done. While the event doesn’t last more than an hour, that hour is crucial during finals week and it has the ability to ruin the study flow for the rest of the night.

For the easily distracted: Royal Cup Cafe

Location: 944 Redondo Ave.

Hours: 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.

This cafe has something for everyone – a multitude of seat options, not one but two pianos, a chess table complete with giant chess pieces and even a TV set in the back.

Within a few seconds of walking in, I knew I’d be spending the rest of my night here; and it’s not just because of the comfortable looking worn out couches. After coming from two crowded study spots, the large and empty Royal Cup Cafe offered the kind of solitude and quiet required for extensive studies.

First of all, it’s huge. The cafe has a long walkway that stretches to the back lined with coffee tables and sofas. The front area has fewer tables and more couches, designed for social gatherings. The further you venture into the back, the darker and more secluded it gets. The TV volume is low and the people doing work speak even lower.

The cafe is lined with artwork that you can buy and books you can pick up and read. Another quirk of The Royal Cup Cafe is a large vintage desk in the furthest section, which has little drawers that people leave notes in for others to read.

Even if you don’t come here to study, this cafe is a good spot for a date night or a casual hang out, aesthetically pleasing Instagrammable pictures included.

The most appealing aspect, besides the hidden vintage gems scattered around for decoration, is that the cafe has a separate private study session room. Each wall is lined with cushioned seating with tables and chairs in the middle. On Fridays, the cafe hosts open mic night in this room from 6 p.m. – 8:45 p.m. with a featured artist at 8.

For snacking, you’ll find your regular cafe foods along with a special of the day featured in the front. The cafe is known for their various sandwiches and paninis. The food is good enough to get hooked on, which is worthwhile because they also have a delivery service.

Regular customers are also rewarded with points, one for every dollar spent with discounts at every benchmark.

With all these perks, The Royal Cup Cafe was the least busy place I visited for the day. Even with its 45 seats I counted (46 if you count the piano chair), less than half were filled. It might be that it’s difficult to find parking. It might be that the sign is so small I thought my maps led me to the wrong address. It might be that not many people choose to study on a Friday night.

The only possible downside of the cafe is the hours. Many students know the struggle of studying late into the night, or early into the morning. That’s not a possibility at this place and packing up your things and relocating after closing time may be a hassle. Oh well: no study spot can be perfect, but at least its food is cheap and the music is good.

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