by SAMANTHA WOODKE '20
Tired of stopping at Dunkin' or Starbucks for coffee each morning? Looking for somewhere to get your homework done after school? Interested in supporting local small businesses? Simply bored of getting that same old drink day in, day out?
If you answered yes to any or all of those questions, keep reading.
Luckily for you, SUA is surrounded by independent, non-chain coffee shops. Some are more well-known than others, but all are excellent choices to get your caffeine fix. The options can be overwhelming-- with so many great places to choose from, how can you possibly decide? How do you know which is best?
The only solution is to try them all. After a coffee-intensive day of research, I have taken the liberty to determine the best coffee places closest to SUA. So without further ado, I present to you my top five coffee locales within five minutes of The Academy:
Urbana Cafe - 0.3 mi from SUA
One step into this aesthetically-pleasing cafe and you will be hit with the aroma of baked goods and fresh-brewed coffee. Urbana is the perfect spot to go after school to unwind, as it is situated on Woodburn Avenue and only a two minute walk away. Its simple atmosphere is reflected in its menu, which features a small variety of uncomplicated options; you can’t go wrong with any drink choice, but try out the cortado if you want a taste of their Italian roots. (instagram)
Caffe Vivace - 0.4 mi from SUA
Coffee house by day, jazz lounge by night. Located on E McMillan Street, Caffe Vivace is a relatively new shop owned by musicians and offers a wide variety of drinks in a classy but relaxed environment. It opened in April 2019 and has grown in popularity since, featuring tasty seasonal drinks in addition to the classics. A current customer favorite is their pumpkin pie latte, and it will be sticking around during the winter months. (instagram)
Cafe DeSales - 0.5 mi from SUA
Cafe DeSales is an SUA favorite because of the low prices, good coffee, and welcoming staff. It operates right next to St. Francis DeSales Church, and a parking lot behind the shop eliminates the need for street parking. Though the popular choice is a latte, many customers will go for one of the delicious smoothie options instead or even stop in to get breakfast or lunch. It certainly deserves its reputation as one of the best stops near school. (instagram)
Bean & Barley - 1.2 mi from SUA
If your carpool likes to stop at the BonBonerie in the morning, consider choosing Bean & Barley instead. The little-known coffee shop sits just across the street on Madison Road, and its menu, though small, has a lot to offer through unique specialty flavors. Don’t fret if you don’t have time to make it before school, because its spacious lower level seating provides an ideal space to get some work done after. They’ll even let you bring your dog inside! (instagram)
Ta’bogo Cafe - 1.8 mi from SUA
East siders who like to avoid Columbia Parkway may pass by this tiny store on Riverside Drive as they drive to school. Ta’bogo opened just this summer after its predecessor Fuel Coffee closed at the beginning of the year, and its future is promising. Though the shop itself is small, its heart is big; you can count on the owner, Alex, to be there every morning with a smile on his face. If he offers you the dulce de leche (which he definitely will), say yes-- it’s fantastic. (instagram)
Say goodbye to loud chain stores, long lines in the drive-thrus, and tired mornings without coffee. With these unique options nearby, you will never run out of things to try. You are now fully equipped to become a coffee connoisseur and forever rid yourself of that mundane caffeine routine. (instagram)