Studying Aesthetics: A visual review of three hot study spots

By and in Culture/Features

It’s easy to feel sore after visiting the same campus studying scene again and again, and research shows that a change of scenery helps the working mind. A balanced level of ambient noise can stimulate the brain and improve performance on tasks. To help you avoid that stale campus haunt, we’ve put together a review of three cafés close to campus.

I have studied at and visited more than half of the cafés Saskatoon has to offer. My friend Josef Beug, a fourth-year engineering student who joined me on my review adventure, is an avid coffee drinker with experience on a wide range of drinks.

Our methodology: We collaborated on a procedure to review the cafés fairly and without bias, brainstorming nine categories that are important to us as students when studying in a café. Then, we created a scoring system to assess each establishment.

Here are the categories we chose, ranking from highest to lowest: study space, number of electrical outlets, atmosphere, wifi accessibility, food and drink selections, service, location, hours of operation and washrooms. We will mainly focus on the top five categories, and the rest will be summarized.

For each location, we spent a maximum of three hours studying, which means our reviews are tailored to specific times of day. However, we’ve done our best to provide you with insight into which cafés will best suit your study needs. Maybe you’ll find your next dream spot.

Mystic Java
Graduate House, 1593 Aird Street

Hours of operation:
Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Visited: 7 to 10:30 p.m.

Highs: Service, food and drink selections and atmosphere

Lows: Number of electrical outlets, location and hours

Great service, a wide variety of food and drink selections, accommodation for anyone who has food restrictions and a wonderful studying atmosphere made us fall in love with this place. The lighting is bright enough for studying, the music is not too loud, and there is a steady flow of customers.

These elements create a lovely ambience, perfect for studying. While the location is hidden in Graduate House, making it difficult to find for those who do not live in residence, the biggest drawback for us was the lack of accessible electrical outlets.

“Like, very few outlets. If you have a short cord, don’t bother unless you got that long B-life,” Josef said, referring to batteries.

Venn Coffee Roasters
830 Dufferin Avenue, Unit 10

Hours of operation:
Monday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Visited: 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Highs: Atmosphere, number of electrical outlets and service

Lows: Food and drink selections, location, hours and study space

This café is small, and we’d say it’s not really made for studying — it’s best for socializing. If you do prefer quieter study time, though, this is the place to go. The lighting comes from large windows that let in sunlight, there are enough outlets available for the amount of stay-in customers the café gets, and the service is fantastic.

However, there is a limited selection of pastries and drinks, and the location is in an alley, making it difficult to find. Otherwise, this café is great for students who need a change of scenery and few distractions.

“Pretty nice place. I enjoyed studying there and felt comfortable most of the time. I also liked my latte quite a bit. We did have to merge two tables to have enough laptop space. So, all in all, a beautiful café but not a lot of room,” Josef said, after enjoying his latte.

Honey Bun Café
167A Second Avenue South

Hours of operation:
Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visited: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Highs: Study space, food and drink selection, location and hours

Lows: Number of electrical outlets

Honey Bun Café is a neat little shop located in downtown Saskatoon. Contemporary lighting, a large amount of space and an excellent selection of food and drink make this café a fine choice. The drawback, however, is the outlets.

There is a single place to charge your computer in the entire café, and even though the placement of it made us sit in a scenic spot, we found it a real problem for studying.

Nevertheless, the service was great, the place was clean and welcoming, and the chairs were comfy. We highly recommend this café, so long as you can last for a while without a plug.

“The lack of outlets could be annoying, but the bathrooms have puns, so that’s pretty sweet,” said Josef, while eating a pizza bun.

All photos by J.C. Balicanta Narag / Photo Editor