Birmingham’s coziest study venues

Photo from

Josie Robertson, Photo Editor

Tis’ the season to cram for exams. From Railroad Park to the Hills of Vestavia, one can stumble upon an eclectic café or bustling coffee shop to finish any last-minute studying for finals.  Whether you just grab a cup of joe or stay for hours, here are some places in the Birmingham area that are perfect for the last few hours before hell week commences. 

Starbucks – One of the most well-known chain coffee shops in the world. Every time you walk in, the smell of fresh roasted coffee blends with the hustle of the employees. One perk of Starbucks is their festive featured items: Peppermint Mocha, Irish Cream Cold Brew, Iced Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte, and Creme Brulee Latte. Senior Henry Sklar said, “the vibe is nice, and the murals look professional.” 

Red Cat – An authentic “coffeehouse,” The Red Cat is a quiet place to enjoy your studying experience. The Red Cat has an eclectic feel located in downtown Birmingham. With a motto of “coffee for everyone,” The Red Cat evokes a positive experience whether you enjoy a cup of joe or don’t. Senior Svea Erickson said, “I would rather support this local business than go elsewhere. I stay focused because I feel strangers hold me accountable to do my work.” The Red Cat also serves lunch and breakfast if you plan to settle in for a lengthy stay.

Red Mountain Expresso – What makes Red Mountain Espresso notably different from the others is the fast and easy drive-through. It makes it very trouble-free to grab their local coffees such as the “Broadway,” a white chocolate and caramel latte. They have a wide variety of coffee and serve breakfast and lunch, including sausage biscuits, club sliders and chicken salad. Just an easy drive to the end of Downtown Homewood, Red Mountain Expresso is a quick place to grab some food before studying. 

O’Henry’s – For fans of non-caffeinated drinks, O’Henry’s has fantastic peppermint hot chocolate in the downtown Homewood location. O’Henry’s is a popular place to study for students all over Birmingham, so make sure to grab a table while you can. Homewood’s locations also include assorted pastries and a Conecuh Sausage Biscuit. 

Panera – A classic hot spot to focus on work for hours. Even though Panera had some hard times during the pandemic, the company is always reliable for food, coffee and pastries galore.

Church Street – “Go to Church (Street Coffee), or the Devil will get you!” Their motto is from the famous sign one can see driving on I-65 between Montgomery and Birmingham. Church Street Coffee and Books is a cute shop packed with books from all different genres. Another iconic part of this place is The Breakup Cookie. Named for its popular demand after a breakup, these cookies have been dubbed the “Best Cookie in Alabama” by