3 Denton coffee shops and study spots you need to visit

3 Denton coffee shops and study spots you need to visit

3 Denton coffee shops and study spots you need to visit
October 30
21:58 2018

Everyone drinks coffee, but nobody likes those lines at the Union Starbucks.

A lot of freshmen have come to UNT this year without a place to hang out, study and — most importantly — find a warm cup of joe. While there are a ton of places on campus to camp out, exploring areas outside of campus is a great way to feel connected in a new place, and what better thing to explore than to find than a café? After all, Denton is filled with ideal places that also serve your favorite vanilla latte.

If you’re struggling to find your perfect off-campus study spot, do not fret. Below I have complied a list that includes three local cafes you should check out the next time you’re on the lookout for a quiet place to work.

Aura Coffee | 1306 W. Hickory St.

From the mismatched table tops to the erratic color pattern, Aura represents the eccentric part of Denton. It was noisy, exciting and had a buzzing hum of energy I can’t get enough of. I would equate it to being the cafe version of a unique antique shop with an infectious dose of energy and eccentricity. Aura is carefully decorated with artifacts, like the golden elephant sitting on the window sill or like the orange, flowered rug tacked perfectly to the wall. The furniture placement felt pleasantly random yet methodical and organized. Potted plants calmed down the bolder elements of the decorations, but nothing was more welcoming than the baristas’ greetings. It’s also worth noting Aura has gender-neutral and handicap-friendly bathrooms, so all are welcome.

Unfortunately, if you are needing a distraction-free zone, I would not say this cafe is your best bet. However, I would recommend it for writing a paper or working on a project. Since it hums with energy, it is more suited for high-activity, high-creativity assignments. Group up with some classmates, bring your ideas and let the infectious energy get those creative juices flowing.

The best part about Aura is the variety of choices. Not a coffee person? Try one of their smoothies, teas, shakes or hot cocoa. If you’re a coffee fan, Aura has you covered. Iced coffees, espressos, cappuccinos and lattes are just a few of the kinds they offer. The more popular options have quirky names like Ziggy Stardust, Kool Keith and the Horchata Iced Coffee. The Ziggy Stardust was delicious, and it had the right blend of sweetness and coffee with just a hint of hazelnut. If you are not looking for caffeine, try one of their pastries. I was not bold enough to try the Artichoke Strudel or the Spicy Pig, but I’m sure there are students who have the courage to try it themselves.

Atmosphere: 9/10

Studying potential: 3/10

Food/Drinks: 6/10

7 Degrees Fahrenheit | 103 Ave A

I can describe this spot in one word: colorful. You are immediately greeted by a sprawling store-long sticky note mural called the “GNART” wall. It covers every nook and cranny of the shop’s right side, covering the walls with sketch drawings, quotes, jokes and even little pitstop memorials. With each new inspection, something new could be found. It was such a treat to sit there and pick out every reference possible. To the left is a second mural of black and white portraits titled “Campus.” Each face is painted in deep black lines and are traced to perfection, making the work very captivating. The music in the background was loud and boisterous, adding to the rebel artist theme. As far as creativity goes, this place takes the cake. It’s a genuine amalgamation of culture, media, memes, honesty, art and snark — and I love it.

Because the location isn’t a very popular place, the store as a whole is pretty quiet. This makes it perfect for studying. The focused environment is most ideal for low-intensity work or studying (but maybe save those cramming sessions for the library). And if you start to feel like munching, the Pita Pit across the shop is an ideal pit stop (get it) for in between working sessions.

Besides the sticky note mural, the most fun part of eating here is creating your own ice cream bowl. Staying on-brand with the creation theme, you decide the combination of the ice cream bowl. It’s a four-step process of base, mix-ins, toppings and sauces. 7 Degrees Fahrenheit has serious variety — there are a whopping 23 topping options, so there is definitely something for everyone. You can go for a more harmonious combination or create a bizarre concoction of pocky, almonds, bananas and pretzels. Fair warning: These bowls are huge, so splitting one with a friend is advised.

Atmosphere: 7/10

Studying potential: 9/10

Food/Drinks: 7/10

West Oak Coffee Bar | 114 W. Oak St.

The immediate thought I had upon walking into West Oak was, “This is a hipster’s heaven.” The rustic metal posts contrasted well with the old-fashioned wooden table tops and polished, paneled floor. Dimmed overhead lights are intended to draw you in, while the wooden coffee house style convinces you to stay. In contrast to the earlier cafes, there is no obvious menu chalkboard. Instead, they have printed menus at the front. All the decorations were carefully and meticulously placed. Indie/alternative rock played overhead, which complemented the overall style. If you make this stop, be prepared to be charmed into staying into longer than you intended.

West Oak is by far the best option for any independent work you could conjure up, whether that’s night cramming, big projects or even just leisurely writing. The quiet and almost hushed environment resembles that of a library. The aesthetic design is very pleasing to the eye, calming any nerves and putting anxieties to ease, helping you to finally kick that writer’s block.

Aside from its atmosphere, West Oak exceeds expectations with its beverages. Its printed menu offers espressos, pour-overs, organic teas and cold brew beers on tap. Favors like vanilla, mocha, yam spice and “oatmilk” are all available to choose from. Each choice describes the type of body, acidity, sweetness and finish of the drink. The barista working when I visited recommended me to try the Chocolate Cold Brew, which came to me in a glass cup rather than a plastic container. It was delicious, like sipping on a gold-standard melted milkshake. If you are not in the mood for coffee however, they also offer enough food choices to put any bakery to shame. Just a few of the baked goods include cold brew cream pies, avocado pound cakes, ham biscones and veggie quiches. This is a great place for true coffee nerds and espresso buffs or just those looking for a quick and scrumptious pastry.

Atmosphere: 8/10

Studying potential: 8/10

Food/Drinks: 9/10

Featured Image: With two university that call Denton home, there is no shortage of places to grab a cup of coffee and finish that essay. Some of my favorites are Aura Coffee, 7 Degrees Fahrenheit and West Oak Coffee Bar. Photos by Abby Sweatt

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Abby Sweatt

Abby Sweatt

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1 Comment

  1. ThatOneGuy
    ThatOneGuy October 31, 20:17

    All these places are no bueno… BRING BACK JUPITER HOUSE!

    Reply to this comment

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