By Megan Trawick
A pile of textbooks on the right. A mile long to-do list on the left. The neighbor’s dog is barking, someone is shouting, laughing, or singing at the top of their lungs. If you don’t get out of there in the next five minutes you might start screaming. And all you want to do is study for your mid-term.
For everyone who is looking for their personal perfect study spot, here are some of the best places to study near COC, specially selected for coffee fanatics, foodies and study sessions. Don’t worry, every place has free Wi-Fi (except Way Station Coffee Shop), an inexpensive menu, is within a 15-minute drive from COC and employees don’t care if you’re there for a quick shot of espresso or three hours of studying.
House Roots Coffee Shop
Address: 28452 Constellation Rd, Valencia
Hours: Mon – Thurs Closed / Fri 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. / Sat 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. / Sun 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Distance from COC: 6.1 miles
Specialty: Amazing latte art
Drawback: Small location in a church
This nonprofit coffee shop has the most bizarre store hours, but it is well worth the hassle. Despite its location House Roots Coffee Shop has been featured in LA Weekly’s Top Coffee Shops. “They have a little space on top to study or just hang out, but the focus are the baristas that make this an experience!” said Jonathan C. on Yelp. You know a café is serious about coffee when cortados on are the menu, and House Roots definitely fits the bill. For those who don’t know a cortado is an espresso drink, roughly 4 ounces, with a 1-to-2 espresso to steamed milk ratio. “There is no doubt, this is the best cup of coffee and/or tea that you can purchase in town,” according to Vinh H. on Yelp.
Address: 22722 Lyons Ave, Newhall
Hours: Mon – Thurs 6:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. / Fri – Sat 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Distance from COC: 3.3 miles
Specialty: $4.50 Iced Salted Caramel Mocha
Drawback: No dark roast coffee or gluten free options yet
Honu Coffee is the place to go for the ultimate study combo: a latte and spinach artichoke empanada. The 10 percent discount for professors and students is just the cherry on top. If that isn’t enough to soothe your stress-frayed nerves the white walls, paintings of turtles, smell of coffee and smiling baristas contribute to a sense of calm that permeates throughout. “Great atmosphere, lots of chairs, couches and outlets upstairs makes it a great place to study and relax,” wrote James N. on Yelp. For all you dark roast lovers, have patience. Your perfect coffee is coming soon.
It’s a Grind
Address: 29641 the Old Rd, Castaic
Hours: Mon – Thurs 5:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. / Fri 5:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. / Sat 6:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. / Sun 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Distance from COC: 5.9 miles
Specialty: Ensuring a high caffeine dose
Drawback: Having too much fun to work
You are guaranteed an amazing, well-caffeinated drink at this Castaic hole-in-the-wall; especially if Brian is your barista. “This is the best locally owned coffee house in Santa Clarita,” said Cyndi L. on Yelp. From the comfy armchairs in front of a fireplace to the bookshelf filled with queer titles in the back, there’s not a homier coffee shop in town. Locals having been coming to this place for years, and it’s not uncommon to find a novelist pegging away at a book in a corner. Chana Keefer, author of “The Fall” and “One Night with a Rock Star”, spent many hours working on her books at It’s A Grind but she never felt pressured to leave or order another drink. “I had so much fun it was hard to get work,” said Keefer.
California Bakery and Café
Address: 23021 Soledad Cyn Rd, Santa Clarita
Distance from COC: 2.7 miles
Specialty: Fresh donuts
Drawback: Small location and coffee comes from a dispenser
For every night owl procrastinator-extraordinaire out there, this is the place for you. Not only are the donuts and the home-made tamales Yelp famous, the café is also open 24/7. According to the café owner Augustine Prieto, prime hours are from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. when the donuts are baking. If you’re a morning sandwich person, head in around midnight for a fresh breakfast sandwich of ham and egg on croissant. You might even catch Master College students rehearsing for a production. With coffee, fresh juices, donuts and tamales California Bakery and Café has “something for everyone,” said café owner Augustine Prieto.
Way Station Coffee Shop
Address: 24377 Main St, Newhall
Hours: Mon – Sun 5:00 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Distance from COC: 3.5 miles
Specialty: Hash browns is the local favorite
Drawback: No Wi-Fi and challenging parking.
If you’re looking for a good western breakfast before diving into a textbook look no further. Walking into Way Station Coffee Shop, the smell of hash browns washes over you. The buzz of conversation and cooking fills up the room. The row of vinyl bar seats, country music playing on the radio, license plates covering the walls and the juke box in the back lets you step into another world. You’ll keep coming back for the gigantic pancakes, piping hot coffee, pie a la mode or the best orange juice you’ll ever have.
Address: 25910 the Old Rd, Valencia
Hours: Sun – Thurs 10:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. / Fri-Sat 10:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Distance from COC: 1.4 miles
Specialty: Out-of-the-box pizza
Drawback: Can be very noisy inside
For the ultimate elitist pizza experience, head over to MOD Pizza. “It’s the steal of the century – for under $8 you can get as many toppings as you’d like,” said Danielle T. on Yelp. You won’t be disappointed with choices like the Tristan with mozzarella, asiago, roasted red peppers, mushrooms and pesto or the Mad Dog with mozzarella, pepperoni, mild sausage, crumbled meatballs and MOD red sauce. With no TV blaring, the only noise comes from other pizza-goers and the kitchen. There’s plenty of outdoor seating too, if a baby starts crying or a kid throws a hissy fit. You could even take your meal to-go and sit in a nearby amphitheater on the warm day!
Address: 26802 The Old Road, Santa Clarita
Hours: Mon – Fri 5:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. / Sat – Sun 5:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Distance from COC: 1 mile
Specialty: Comfortable outdoor seating
Drawback: temperamental Wi-Fi and obnoxious high school kids
Starbucks can either be one of the best places to work, or the worst. The Starbucks on Valencia and The Old Road is one the former; a little caffeinated oasis in the dead brown Santa Clarita winter and summer. Inside is the typical bar with outlets, but outside is a large patio covered by vines, including couches and work tables. A non-fat, decaf, extra foamy latte with one raw sugar and a dash of chocolate should counteract the possible negatives.
Old Town Newhall Library
Address: 24500 Main St, Santa Clarita
Hours: Mon – Thurs 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. / Fri 10:00 a.m. – 6 p.m. / Sat 10:00 a.m. – 5 p.m. / Sun 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Distance from COC: 3.4 miles
Specialty: Meeting rooms
Drawback: No coffee or food
What makes the Old Town Newhall Library great for studying other than the touch-screen TV’s and the fireplace? Upstairs and to your right there a five big meeting rooms, complete with outlets and a big TV that you can hook to a laptop. Not only are hundreds of resources available on the Internet, but now you also have direct access to thousands of books on every imaginable subject. Each meeting room can be reserved if you have a library card; however, rooms can only be reserved for the same day.
Undergrounds Coffee House
Address: 23841 Newhall Ranch Rd, Valencia
Hours: Mon – Fri 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. / Sat 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. / Sun 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Distance from COC: 2.5 miles
Specialty: Iced dirty chai latte
Drawback: Inside a church and weird Sunday hours
If you’re feeling charitable or broke, Undergrounds Coffee House is the place to go. Everything is donation only, so if you’ve only got two bucks in your pocket, don’t worry! Your mocha will only cost $2, and that money funds non-profits and mission trips. It is located in a church, but “doesn’t feel super ‘churchy’,” according to Dave W. on Yelp. Undergrounds Coffee House was set up for groups, as most of the seating is long tables. There’s also a couple couches in the corner, if your study group likes to be cozy and comfy.