Sip & Study: Here’s our four favorite coffee shops in Houston
While the Rice campus has its share of high-quality coffee options, including Rice Coffeehouse and Audrey’s Cafe, it’s also worth sometimes going beyond the hedges for your caffeine fix. So if you’re looking to switch it up from your usual Nutty Bee — which, let’s face it, is hard to beat — there are plenty of options outside the Rice bubble.
Last year, while struggling with virtual classes, the two of us made it our mission to find the perfect spot to study in Houston. Tried and true, these coffee shops are some of our favorite places to study, or procrastinate, with a cup of coffee in hand.
Although Slowpokes isn’t walking distance from Rice, it’s a short eight-minute drive from campus — and offers validation for three-hour parking in the garage next door. As Houston drivers, we’d rank Slowpokes as our favorite based on the abundant parking alone; when you just want to get to the shop and knock out some work, nothing is worse than wasting precious time desperately trying to find a decent spot for your car.
Located just across the street from Levy Park, this sunny spot offers a great getaway for studying. With their trademark animal portraits and front doors that stay wide open, the warm-toned, bustling space will invite you in immediately. This shop offers a wide variety of food and drink options — their empanadas are a must-try, as are any of their espresso drinks.
Retrospect Coffee Bar
If you’re looking to avoid indoor spaces in Houston, look no further than Retrospect Coffee Bar. The breezy spot only offers outdoor seating, but if you hate the Houston heat, fear not — the tables are shaded under a tent, with fans at the ready. Despite being outdoors, this study space is laptop-friendly, with WiFi accessibility and outlets nearby. Like Slowpokes, Retrospect also has plentiful parking, a rarity in Houston.
Any of their lattes are worth a try, though their specialty stroopwafel coffee was ultimately nothing more than a more expensive version of a caramel latte. This spot is best for the morning studiers out there, as it closes at 2 p.m. on weekdays and 3 p.m. Friday through Sunday. The promise of their blueberry muffins or sweet crepes for breakfast, though, make for an excellent motivator to wake up early to work.
Roast & Brew
If you’re willing to venture up to the Heights, the secluded Roast & Brew is worth a visit. Although the ivy-covered roof above the outdoor seating won’t protect you from the rain — trust us — the shop’s vast array and variety of seating makes it one of our top coffee shops in Houston. The terrace wall behind the outdoor seating makes for a picturesque study spot — or background for your next Instagram story.
Open until 11 p.m., Roast & Brew is a great late night study spot — but also a great place to grab a meal with a friend. Unlike many coffee shops, Roast & Brew has a thorough food menu, offering meals at all times of day. We split the pesto flatbread, and the warm bread, melted cheese and fresh vegetables were perfectly accompanied by their well-made lattes.
Located in Rice Village, this shop is walking distance from Rice, perfect for anyone without a car or who just wants to be spared the hassle of parking. There are a few options for seating outside, though for studying, the indoor spots tend to be best, where the quieter ambiance can aid in your more serious work sessions.
The Italian joint features a full espresso bar, along with a variety of gelato flavors to pair with your coffee. (Pro tip: the sweet treat can also double as a self-reward for getting through a particularly tough essay or problem set). Although their coffee was not a stand-out to us, there are several locations in Houston if you want to venture further into the city. Open until 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, their desserts are also great to follow a dinner out in Rice Village.
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