Writer – Rachel Eve
We’ve made it. We have passed through the beginning time of syllabi and being talked at about plagiarism, through the age of gawking eyes of classmates as we pick seats that we’ll likely be stuck with for the entire semester, and through the demonstrations on how to access classwork and content that we will need to succeed in each course. The overwrought and long drawn out process is done. The worst is over, now let the work begin!
Except where will the work begin? I’m not referring to your text books or Blackboard accounts, but where will you be when you begin that assignment or study sesh? Yes, there are always the classics: Starbucks, the multitude of libraries to choose from, or your bed because you answered no to pants. But today, skip away from the boring white washed walls of the LLC or the Panera with the cute barista, say yes to those new skinny jeans that you have yet to wear, and venture out to these local alternatives to your routine. I know I work better when I am inspired so, support these local businesses and get inspired (and filled with yummy menu options) by their unique atmospheres.
1. AROMA CORNER
Located one mile from FSCJ’s beloved South Campus, Aroma Corner is a locally owned small chain Taiwanese café offering teas, pastries, coffee, breakfast and lunch items, and Boba tea. They have seating for your comfortability inside with two booth seating areas and a high top table, as well as two café tables out front for you to enjoy the weather on our breezier days. There isn’t music to distract you here, if quiet is your thing or want to be able to listen to your headphones with no other noise. Most people seem to stay here for about twenty minutes to eat briefly or order there food to go. What I like about this place are their range of menu options that fit into the needs of college students. They offer coffee for that much needed energy boost or teas for that light pick me up in the late afternoon. It is very possible to get a drink and food item and still stay under $10 and their pastries look divine. They let their natural light filter in so it is not too bright or too dark but, in the words of goldilocks, just right. Of course they have the two most important things, WIFI and a punch card! Follow them on Instagram @Aromacorner.
2. Sahara Café and Bar
Sahara Café and Bar is in most of Jacksonville’s college age vocabulary of cool hangout spots. They offer a very unique social setting with hookahs, beers, wines, liquors, teas, and Mediterranean cuisine and are in a central location on Southside located at 10771 Beach Blvd. I will make this disclaimer, there are some nights to avoid if you want a place to study without distractions. Mondays are for those with karaoke on their brains and on Thursdays they have a DJ. These are both late events, around 9, and outside so you may have better luck with inside seating if you are studying after the sun goes down. Any day of the week after 4pm (when they open) and until 9 pm (when they pick up) would be prime time to stop by for a good, chill environment for your normally scheduled study hours. They keep a good mix of music to keep the masses happy and service is friendlier than other places. Most tables have hookahs on them but if you don’t partake they have great hot mint tea and an appetizer combo that will fill you up while you read the latest assigned chapter in your Intro to Sociology book. It’s also a great place to go for your people observing assignments, or to make new friends once you hit save on your completed essay. Monday through Fridays they have happy hour until 7 pm on selected liquors, all draft beers, and all of the hookah flavors. And yes, they have WIFI. Follow their Instagram @Saharacafeandbar.
3. Juice Box Jax
This is the youngest entry into the Jacksonville business market on our list, but has made a great first impression. With absolutely no negative reviews, they are quickly growing a huge following. This place is great for the health conscious as they have a substantial selection of healthy options for nutrition and energy including, smoothies, fresh pressed juices, and acai bowls. While they don’t have a large selection their coffee is affordable and strong, guaranteed to get you through your three hour long break in between classes. It is located between the Deerwood and South Campuses on 4479 Deerwood Lake Parkway #4 facing Southside Blvd, next to Larry’s Giant Subs. The inside is bright, cheery, and trendy boasting chrome bar height seating and a mid-century modern sofa, all complementary to the energizing green and yellow color scheme. They play a pleasant and well adusted sound level of top forty music that makes you feel comfortable and welcome to use their WIFI and stay as long as you want. They have a build your own smoothie option as well as a punch card that rewards you with a free smoothie, juice, or acai bowl after seven purchases of any of these items. They will soon add some Pumpkin items to the menu for the fall season. Follow on the IG @JuiceboxJax
4. The Coffee Grinder
Located right across the street from Deerwood’s Open Campus at 9834 Old Baymeadows Rd, The Coffee Grinder is an upbeat and European-esque coffee shop that turns into a pumping music venue three days a night on Tuedays, Fridays, and Saturdays. They have affordable pricing on their strong and delicious coffee items and also offer beer if you stay past their hours that are suitable for studying and want to join in on the party. They have seating outside that fills up fast and four couches inside for premier seating options. The interior is darker and they have done a great job creating a modern and contemporary décor that still feels cozy. While you enjoy their WIFI you can admire the local art that they have displayed on the walls. You can tell it really is a neighborhood cafe as other patrons speak with the baristas and that they frequent this local coffee haunt often. Check out their new website thecoffeegrinderjax.com