I recently discovered this website, run by Ariel Rubenstein of Tel Aviv University, which lists good cafes in university neighborhoods around the world. I then contributed 2 places in
So here is my more detailed list of places that I drink coffee (or tea) in in
This website says the coffee is bad, but I disagree. It’s not the best in the world, but it’s fine. And the snacks and lunches are good. Except on the very hottest days, it’s a nice place to sit and work. They have some tables outside also, but most summer mornings one of them is occupied by a man smoking a rather awful smelling cigar. Kiva Han has another location down
Crazy Mocha, 207 Oakland Ave:
This is around the corner from the Panera on Forbes. Central location on the Pitt campus. The coffee here is a little better than Kiva Han; the food selection is not as broad. Not many tables here so not a great place to work, but it’s a nice place to meet someone for coffee. And there is almost always a New York Times on the newspaper rack.
[Update 8/31/07: For the first time, I was here in the late afternoon--very hot from the exposure to the sun. So pay attention to the timing if you want to sit here in the afternoon.]
Crazy Mocha in the Carnegie Library:
Another outlet of this local chain. The tables here are nice and it’s fun being inside the library but more limited hours (only open when the library is). Same food and drink selection as the other branch. (There are also branches downtown, in Shadyside, and Bloomfield.)
Here’s another reason I often go to Crazy Mocha: For $30, I got a Donor Plus Carnegie Library card which gives me a 20% discount at all Crazy Mocha locations (not only the one in the library). If you drink coffee a lot, you will make back the $30 quickly and the library gets a donation. This is almost too good of a deal and I am probably ruining it by sharing the news.
You can also find Starbucks and Caribou Coffee in
If you want to sit outside in
I don’t pay attention to WI-FI at coffee places in
in Squirrel Hill, from the top of the hill down:
Coffee Tree Roasters,
This is right in the middle of the fancier shopping street and was the favorite of the late Mayor Bob O’Connor if that matters to you. Good coffee plus a free refill on the brewed stuff plus free WI-FI for 2 hours makes this a good place to plant oneself for a while. Limited food choices—mainly sweets. Always a NYT and almost always a Wall Street Journal, plus the local papers, lying around. My only complaints are that there are almost always smokers at the 2 outside tables, one of which is right next to the door and that the place is sometimes over airconditioned.
Decent coffee (although Coffee Tree is better) and pastries. Lots of tables. This is the place that mid-morning will have almost every table taken up by someone with a laptop. Also the place for Squirrel Hill power coffees. A nice outdoor space around the corner (i.e. off the main street), but again smokers flock to it and you have to go out the main door and walk around to get to it. A bit loud when someone orders a smoothie. They also have a lot of teas but if you are a serious tea-drinker you will keep walking a block to the next place on my list.
Go here to drink tea. They also serve coffee and take great pride in the fancy glass brewing thing they have but it tastes no better than anywhere else and they charge more. This is a tea place and there’s a very good selection. Also some nice sandwiches. WI-FI and usually a NYT lying around. Not that many tables but enough.
This used to be my favorite place in Squirrel Hill: a great Israeli bakery, a very generous “double” espresso, and a nice atmosphere. The burekas are still good but they have cut way back on the other baked goods (now they are bringing in a lot of packaged stuff from NY) and the challah was kind of strange last time we got it. But you can still get a decent cup of coffee and there are plenty of tables and the staff is friendly. The name changes back and forth but I think they may now be sticking with Aroma.
Best Argentinean coffeehouse in
I’ve blogged about my visit to
If you are in the Strip District and just want coffee, you go to La Prima. If you want to sit somewhere and work for a few hours, leave the Strip District. Downtown is not a great coffee area: the Crazy Mocha in the Allegheny Building is a welcome addition and apparently they have added one in the Gateway complex—this covers the two ends of downtown, I suppose. The Symphony store, Curtain Call, also has a coffee bar. I’m sure there are other places also but I don’t know about them. There is a Crazy Mocha in Shadyside on
If you want to tell me about other places, leave a comment.