Shelby's coffee article

I went around to a bunch of different cafes in the Kitsilano area to review them based on how good of a study-space they are. Here are my findings: 

Grounds for Coffee

Grounds is known for having the best cinnamon rolls in Vancouver, which is definitely a perk of going there. Their buns are delicious, they have a good selection of teas, and all their mugs are glass, which is just a nice aesthetic. As far as studying goes, it generally isn’t too noisy, which is a plus, however there is limited space. The café itself is quite narrow, so the tables tend to be on the smaller side and are packed in pretty close. It’s a nice place to go and study by yourself, however if you want to go with a group (or with another person who has a lot of stuff to lay out on the table), it’s not the ideal location for that.

Benny’s Cafe

The beloved Benny’s is a great location for live performances, slam poetry, and delicious bagels (duh). A good pro for this place is that they serve both coffee and alcohol, so you can either wake yourself up or drown yourself in booze as you struggle through that term paper. They have a lot of table space and many food options, which is an improvement from several other cafes that I visited.  Additionally, it has cozy heating for cold days. However, some of the tables are uneven, which can make writing or using a laptop difficult, and there’s a lack of outlets for charging. It also had more of a social atmosphere, so I imagine it wouldn’t be the best quiet space to study, but good for group work that involves a lot of talking and collaboration it's perfect. 

Olive + Ruby

If you have an Instagram account, you’ve most likely seen pictures of this place from your sorority friends. This is that café, with the wall of plants and succulents as well as the hanging basket chairs. The aesthetic is very nice; after going there I understand the appeal and compulsion to post a photo. The staff were also quite friendly and – when I went there at least – most of the people in the café were students who were studying, which creates a nice relaxed atmosphere that makes it easy to focus. The front of the café is all panelled windows, so on a nice sunny day the place lights up, which is just pleasant, in my opinion. Unfortunately, there is a significant deficit in tables, making it hard to get a seat if it’s even a little busy or if you come with more than one other person, and there are very few outlets. The café also seemed quite busy, which can be a problem for students looking for a study space, plus they only takes credit or cash (no debit) and everything is a tad pricey. 


This is a very hipster café just off of West 4th and Vine that you can’t miss because it’s front is a giant yellow brick wall with a raccoon on it. All of their food is gluten free and some of it is vegan as well, plus their selection of drinks is pretty nice too. The café has a very unique look that fits the Vancouver hipster vibe perfectly. The staff are very friendly, though quite chatty, which can be distracting if you’re trying to focus on studying. Overall, it’s a nice café to go to, although it is small and there is limited seating. 

49th Parallel 

This café was by far my favourite, based purely on the aesthetic. The colour scheme of white and turquoise is just perfect; the entire café feels like you’re sitting on the porch of a cute blue and white cottage. There’s plenty of seating, both inside and outside, and you’re not packed in too close to anyone, so you will have ample elbow-room. Their donuts were very good, reasonably priced, and the café also sold merchandise such as mugs and hats (I’ll admit, I was tempted to get a mug just because I liked the colour). Something interesting that I didn’t encounter at any other café was they had restrictions on their wifi. They have open wifi during the weekdays, but on the weekends wifi is not available until after 4 pm. So if you want to study there on a Saturday morning, you won’t be able to use their wifi to do so – which may not be an issue depending on what you want to get done. It could even be a plus if you want to escape the internet for a bit. On top of this, because they have open wifi during the week, pretty much everyone in the café is connected and it can cut out occasionally. But there were a lot of people socializing here, so it can be distracting if you’re looking for somewhere that’s quieter. 


Cornerstone Coffee Bar 

This café intrigued me because, from the outside, it looks like it would have a nice library-like aesthetic. On the inside, it wasn’t really like that, but it still had a nice atmosphere. There were a lot of places to sit but not a lot of tables, which gave me the impression that it’s more of a social place than one for studying. When I went there, there also happened to be a lot of older people hanging out. I’m not sure if this is a usual occurrence or just a coincidence, but I thought it was interesting to note. Due to the lack of table space, I would say this isn’t a place to go if you need the surface to spread your work out, but it’s a nice place to just read or work on your laptop. 


This is another place that’s quite hyped about on Instagram, primarily because of their donuts (which are amazing by the way). However, despite the location being quite large, with tall ceilings and a lot of floor space, there is very limited seating and table space. I’ve been told by friends who have gone there other times that this changes every so often, so it’s not always like that. Other than that, Cartems seems like a decent place to study; it’s not too loud and it’s open relatively late (which is good for students who have classes throughout the day).