So, it's finals week and you need to get some work done, but how can you get anything done when your best friend, Netflix, is calling your name? You simply can’t, so venture out. There’s always your local Starbucks or Panera, but why not try a coffee house or bakery with a little character? Northern New Jersey is home to some great spots to help you get on your work “grind” without sacrificing on comfort, most with free WiFi, and all with the most important feature: caffeine readily on tap.
The Fine Grind
Speaking of grind, About North Jersey favorite The Fine Grind offers ample space for you to spread out with a computer or notebook. The shop's dining and coffee menu is not only extensive, but extremely intriguing, from its pages of coffee concoctions to the quiches of the day. Feel free to order some food or a drink and park it all right next to your laptop. When you’re done with your soup-bowl-sized coffee mug, move on over to one of the couches for some chocolate fondue with your study group.
101 Newark-Pompton Turnpike, Little Falls; (973) 837-0199; Free Wifi
The Warehouse Café
Perhaps the you-can-hear-a-pin-drop library just isn’t your scene. Maybe you’re the type who needs some background noise to get you motivated? The Warehouse Café is the spot for you! What better place to jumpstart your brain than among fellow creatives? This hip, recently converted warehouse does not only provide ambiance and Americanos with a capital “A”, but they also offer sustenance in the form of baked goods from the famous Balthazar Bakery in New York City. The large wooden tables make it easy to lay out those books or collaborate on a project.
140 Bay St., Jersey City; (201) 420-8882; Free Wifi
Sogno Coffee House
You're probably ready to get back to hanging with family and friends, but you've still got these last few weeks of school to get through. Thus, it helps if you can hole up at a joint where everybody knows your name. Sogno Coffee House is that place—it’s easy to become a regular at this coffee house and creperie when the crepes (of the breakfast, sweet, or savory variety) are so delectable. Looking for something a little healthier to charge you up for your next exam? Sogno offers a Skinny Lunch—a variety of options served on a low-carb, high-protein wrap warmed on the crepe top.
Don't forget the fresh roasted coffee; we recommend the Black Eye for those late nights: coffee with a double shot of espresso. 425-429 Broadway, Westwood; (201) 497-3628; Free Wifi
Hailing from the motherland of coffee—Italy—Antonio Caré and Elisabetta Febbraro recently moved to Hackensack and opened Coffee Break in late 2015. Have you out-studied yourself and desperately need a vacation? Simply visit this little slice of Europe in Hackensack: the pair not only imports food and recipes from Italy, but they can pull the best espresso shot in the area. Still in need of hitting the books? Plop a textbook under one of the coolest lamps we've ever seen: a cup suspended in air, pouring "coffee" onto the table.
Revered for their croissants (the nutella and pistachio are to die for), pop into CB to start your day or reward yourself with a sweet treat after aceing that test. 72 Main St., Hackensack; (201) 546-1629; Free Wifi
9 Bar Café
Owned and operated by Rome-native Stefania Cocozza, 9 Bar Café has over 20 years in the coffee business behind it. The clever name of the café references the amount of pressure (a 9-Bar) required to pull a perfect espresso shot (yep, they mean business here). We know you're probably looking to escape anything school-related, but this shop offers monthly coffee education classes we think anyone would enjoy. Recharge with a cold brew before diving into the books, and only the books: this spot does not offer Wifi, but we love their explanation: they'd rather see folks talking to each other (study group time!), or taking a minute to themselves with a drink.
18 Erie St., Jersey City; (201) 432-2000
The Able Baker
Recently featured in The New York Times, the Able Baker was started by owner Julie Pauly and her husband, who both lost their jobs in Manhattan at the end of 2008. The Pauly’s rose back up with a little bit of tenacity, love, and support from tons of friends who loved Julie’s baking. Located in the heart of Maplewood, you’ll come for the food and stay for the lovely atmosphere (cute drawings on the wall, bright, open space, slow tunes playing in the background) and surrounding neighborhood. In a recent interview with The Village Green, Pauly reassures us as to why this shop makes its way onto this list of the best coffee shops to study in North Jersey: "Having people in the place brings an energy that attracts other customers, so I never discourage lingerers.
We have free wifi and don’t limit how long people stay. If we get crowded, I’ll ask people working on laptops to share a table, or free up a chair by putting away their briefcase." 187 Maplewood Ave., Maplewood; (973) 313-1133; Free Wifi
bwé kafe, which means "drink coffee" in Haitian Creole, according to the shop's website, works with La Colombe Torrefaction to deliver the highest quality beans into your little old cup in Hoboken. With each mug individually poured over to perfection, patience isn’t just a virtue at bwé, it’s ambrosial. The communal seating is perfect for small groups to work on a project, however there are smaller tables if you're flying solo. Check the café's Facebook page for event information, like open mics!
1002 Washington St., Hoboken; (201) 683-0045; Free Wifi
Van Gogh's Ear
Art History majors will surely appreciate the Starry Night mural on one of the front walls of this spacious shop, as well as the Van Gogh references throughout the menu. Make yourself at home in one of the many seating options, from squishy couches to high-tops to Victorian-esque chairs. They say classical music as a backdrop for studying or doing homework actually helps; we'll vouch for Jazz as well: on Sunday nights a live jazz or blues band plays from 8pm to 11pm. 1017 Stuyvesant Ave, Union; Free Wifi