College, as you may already know quite well, is about finding a balance between all-nighters. They must be apportioned carefully, lest you burn out or flunk out, or both.
So while we could have compiled a list of drinking holes that keep you up at least 'til 2 a.m., there's something to be said for other hangouts, where you can do some good ol' studying — or good ol' chillin'. So here's a roundup of some such places, scattered all over Colorado Springs but ordered here alphabetically.
Note that for brevity's sake, we don't mention some worthy destinations that are a little farther away from local campuses, such as Marika's Coffee Shop in Manitou Springs, R&R Coffee Café in Black Forest, and Wisdom Tea House in Monument.
We also make some effort to stay away from the Tejon Street strip. You can definitely find great hangouts (Poor Richard's/Rico's, Wooglin's, Gold Hill Java, etc.) among the bars and clubs down that way. But if you're an upperclassman, you're probably aware of those already. And if you're new to town, you can find a good roundup of that area's offerings in one handy place, via our InSider guide (tinyurl.com/tejonhangouts).
Plus, there's something to be said for keeping temptation out of sight ...
2902 W. Colorado Ave.; agiasophiacoffeeshop.com
A very interesting place, to say the least. Upon entering, Agia Sophia feels warm and welcoming; the downstairs is quaint and cozy, with conversation abundant.
A short climb upstairs, however, leads to a large, quiet area perfect for studying. The noise from down below doesn't breach the upper level, and it almost has a library feel. If you feel the need to speak at all, whispers are sufficient. A couple of meeting rooms up here are actually available for rent for group meetings, Bible studies, etc.
Speaking of religion, if it makes you uncomfortable, you may want to go somewhere else. All of the texts in the upstairs bookstore are religious in nature, and the space is adorned with religious icons. If that doesn't bother you, though, fuel your studies with a delicious chai tea latte and the tapas plate.
Coffee & Tea Zone
3245 Cinema Point; 6628A Delmonico Drive; 25 N. Tejon St.; 12225 Voyager Pkwy., #3; coffeeandteazone.com
With its new Cinema Point location off Powers Boulevard, Coffee & Tea Zone has increased its already-sizeable footprint. The shops sell sandwiches, pastries, smoothies and frozen yogurt, plus drink selections including a pumpkin spice latte and an avalanche mocha. A large cup of coffee goes for $2.25, and you can have boba (tapioca balls) added to any hot drink. The north and Rockrimmon locations also offer ice cream, and all locations offer free Wi-Fi with a purchase.
Oh, and did we mention that they have bubble tea? It's what all the other kids are having.
Colorado Coffee Merchants
302 E. Fillmore St.; coloradocoffeemerchants.com
You might not expect to find a decent coffee shop on Fillmore Street, but Colorado Coffee Merchants is that and more. If you want to see what roasting coffee looks like, CCM prepares a number of blends — led by its locally famous Ümpire Estate — every day from approximately 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Imagine the smell.) The décor is nothing fancy, but the clean, tidy surroundings could be perfect to help you relax or focus. There are about a half-dozen tables, most with a view of the coffee roaster in all its glory.
An 18-ounce latte or cup of joe runs about $2, before tax, but there's one editor at the Indy who claims it's the only coffee that doesn't make her stomach hurt — a worthy investment, we'd say. There's just a handful of food items on the menu (breakfast burritos with Ranch Foods Direct meat, being one), but there is free Wi-Fi for your latest gadgets and knowledgeable service that welcomes you at the door.
Dogtooth Coffee Company
505 E. Columbia St., #100; dogtoothcoffee.com
Dogtooth is a prime study spot, with plenty of tables and a long counter, perfect for laptops, stretching down one wall of windows. With music playing and light conversation unfolding all around, it's ideal for people who like a little background noise while they study. There's also a west-facing patio perfect for fall afternoons. Just be aware that liking dogs is helpful, as they're welcomed out there. (The shop is right off Shooks Run, after all.)
Dogtooth serves coffee, soups and sandwiches, pastries and delicious gelato — all the sustenance you'll need during a day of studying. The staff is extremely friendly and helpful, and won't mind if you spend a while enjoying the couches in the corner — whether you're studying or not.
Glacier Homemade Ice Cream and Gelato
5166 N. Nevada Ave., #100; glaciericecream.com
Glacier's location in University Village makes it über-convenient for UCCS students. The atmosphere is more conducive to conversation, but since there's free Wi-Fi and plenty of table seating, it's also a good study spot.
Ice cream, frozen yogurt and gelato are all made here daily. (Even if you don't have homework or friends, you could be entertained here just by looking at the billions of flavors.) Off in the corner, some comfy chairs are placed around the fireplace for quiet reading, Ümpire Estate coffee-sipping or conversation, and the outdoor seating is perfect for a friendly get-together on a warm day.
Pikes Perk Coffee & Tea House
5965 N. Academy Blvd., 14 S. Tejon St.; pikesperkcoffee.com
Voted Best Local Coffee Shop and Best Local Coffee Roaster in the Indy's 2010 Best of the Springs, Pikes Perk has a reputation for excellence. Both locations offer inviting spaces filled with wide tables (enough to fit a laptop and some books) and chairs, even couches, where you can recline with your homework or a couple friends.
There's free Wi-Fi, freshly made hot and cold sandwiches and beverages, and of course quality coffee — a mega-sized cup for just $1.99. The joe is roasted locally each week, and they'll custom-make any coffee drink you can think up, but don't rule out the chai frappe.
Purple Mountain Coffee Shop
7601 N. Union Blvd.; tinyurl.com/purple-mountain
Purple Mountain Coffee Shop offers a quiet place to hit the books and engage your mind. Actually, we (partially) lie. The store's positioning allows for a gorgeous view of Pikes Peak, so if you are susceptible to beauty, you may want to sit with your back to the window.
The shop has free Wi-Fi along with patio chairs and glass tables that add to the serene ambience. Additionally, it sells organically grown and fair-trade-approved coffee, and offers customers one free refill. Which is helpful when you need some extra brain mojo to crank out that calculus final.
Raven's Nest Coffee
330 N. Institute St.; facebook.com/ravensnestcoffee
This quaint location on the southwest corner of Institute and Boulder streets is just the ticket for the harried student on the hunt for a little peace of mind. It's close to downtown, but removed from the dense traffic, and projects eclectic charm: antique furniture, comfy chairs, a large store-front window. There aren't many tables, though, so you may have to prop a computer up in your lap.
The prices are reasonable — a large cup of coffee costs $2.05 — and there's a selection of comfort foods (bagels, scrambled eggs) and drinks. Raven's Nest is Fair Trade Certified and offers a range of organic brews of that variety. Complementing the community feel are the walls, which feature rotating works created by local artists. You can get a Wi-Fi password from the cashier, and best of all, there's a jar of Red Vines on the counter — just 5 cents each.