Cafés in Berkeley to check out during this finals week

Ciecie Chen/File

Time sure does fly during the summer break, and it seems to go by even quicker when you find yourself preoccupied with homework, midterms and quizzes from your summer courses. If you’re currently enrolled in UC Berkeley’s Summer Sessions (B through E), this coming week is anything but relaxing — it’s the week of final exams, aka the week of stress, studying and infinite amounts of coffee. When you find yourself in dire need of a caffeine fix and a charming ambiance to rid your mind of the ingrained classroom setting, check out these best-kept secrets around the Berkeley area.

Gold Leaf Cafe


1947 Martin Luther King Jr. Way

Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This cozy and quaint café is a must visit, with both downstairs and upstairs seating to accommodate even the largest crowds and study groups! The comfy armchairs, golden-framed artwork and small potted plants construe a hip atmosphere that’ll make your study sessions the most enjoyable. Served in cute mugs to complement the even more amazing taste, the coffee will leave you impressed. Gold Leaf Cafe is partnered with Counter Culture Coffee to create perfect-tasting coffee while still being environmentally sustainable.

Rating: 5/5

Baker & Commons


2900 College Ave.

Tuesday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday and Monday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tired of eating cereal every day? Baker & Commons has a wide selection of freshly made pastries, savory breakfast dishes, refreshing drinks and sandwiches, great for hungry students in need of a good meal to start the day off right. Located in the cute neighborhood of Elmwood, this café is great for UC Berkeley students who are looking to add a little adventure to their study sessions. Pack your laptop and head to Baker & Commons to enjoy a delicious almond financier or cranberry scone while you type out your study guides.

Rating: 4/5



2120 Oxford St.

Wednesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; closed Monday and Tuesday

Located on the second floor of the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive, Babette is surrounded by the most amazing views for studying. I couldn’t imagine a better place to channel your productiveness than one that overlooks the lively Downtown scene and the beautiful exhibitions of the museum. With the asymmetrical red ceilings and high-seated chairs, you’ll feel immersed in an art installment while you work. The menu is constantly changing, which is great for those looking to return regularly. An additional plus is that all UC Berkeley students can visit BAMPFA for free with their student IDs. After you finish all of your upcoming assignments and have put in the hours for your finals, take a moment to reward your hard work by strolling through the showcased art.

Rating: 4/5

Brewed Awakening


1807 Euclid Ave.

Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

With a friendly staff and an aesthetic indoors, Brewed Awakening is a Northside favorite. There are plenty of tables and chairs to guarantee space to study. Brewed Awakening has a very chill vibe to it that will make focusing a breeze. Along with this, the café has a selection of coffees and treats that are the perfect brain food for cramming in weeks’ worth of class material.

Rating: 5/5

Souvenir Coffee


3084 Claremont Ave.

Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Souvenir Coffee is the study spot for students in search of a classic café vibe. The interior is simplistic and modern, with super fast Wi-Fi connection so you can work on your computer without any problems. There is a variety of pastries and sandwiches for you to munch on when you find yourself craving something sweet or savory. The coffee selection is one of the highlights of the experience, with so many different options to choose from. If you aren’t a caffeine fanatic, the tea selection is also amazing.

Rating: 5/5

Blue Bottle Coffee


2118 University Ave.

Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

If you’re looking for great cold brew and avocado toast that’ll wow your taste buds, you don’t have to travel very far. Blue Bottle Coffee, located in Downtown Berkeley, provides a clean, chic and modern study spot for students looking to escape the crowds flocking to Moffitt Library. During Berkeley’s sunny summer days, the glass exterior is a nice touch, as you can enjoy the view of the outside while you grind. With locations sprawled across the globe, having a Blue Bottle Coffee located 15 minutes away from Sather Gate is extremely convenient for students looking to walk to the café right after their classes end for the day. 

Rating: 4/5

Although the word “finals” may bring forth a shudder or even a sense of fear throughout the UC Berkeley campus, your time spent studying doesn’t have to be a bore. If you’re tired of the long lines at your go-to coffee shop or the lack of space available at the libraries on campus, be sure to check out the hidden gems on this list for all of the great features that you expect out of a café, minus the crowd. 

Contact Erika Lee at [email protected] .