Editor’s note: This is a first in a series of reviews of the restaurant, bar and club scene in Fort Collins that will appear in The Dish.
For students who need a break from the dorms to study and are not quite sure where the library is yet, we decided to search out the best coffee shops Fort Collins offers.
Our first trip took us to the Starry Night Coffee Company in Old Town.
Jessup: I suggested to Chris that we visit Starry Night first, since I had heard a lot about the coffee shop from friends. At first glance the place seemed to have a pretty cool atmosphere – I definitely liked the Vincent Van Gogh theme.
I ordered a tall “Monkey Mocha,” (mocha latte with banana flavoring) which ended up costing Chris almost $3. I had heard that Starry Night hosts live music on Friday and Saturday nights, and for that kind of event this place would be ideal. It didn’t strike me, however, as a prime spot to get any sort of productive studying done. Overall, the prices at Starry Night aren’t anything to get excited about, but it’s still a fun place to grab a good cup of joe.
Chris: Unlike Jessup, I am not a big coffee fan and don’t go into too many coffee shops so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The first thing I noticed at Starry Night was the huge mural of Van Gogh’s painting, which took up one side of the shop. When it was my turn to order, I decided on a Milky Way latte ($3 is a little pricey for coffee in my opinion) and a brownie.
The walls in the shop were a little bare and the tall ceiling didn’t help with the noise coming from the espresso machine which might make studying there a little obnoxious. But if you wanted to bring a group of friends out for coffee and talk up a storm, the Starry Night would work for you as opposed to a quieter place. Like Jessup, I liked the Van Gogh theme and the coffee was satisfying but the place was a little too busy and noisy for me to get lost in a book.
Down the road from Starry Night, D/j/ vu Coffee Shop & Caf/ might be another stop students want to take.
Chris: Walking into D/j/ vu, the atmosphere was a little cozier than Starry Night, but also a lot smaller. I ordered an Om, steamed milk with a choice of flavoring, with caramel, which was delicious. I was much more impressed with the prices here with my drink only costing $2, but of course it was Jessup’s turn to pay. The place looked as if your grandma decorated the place. The front of the shop might be a little too busy for cramming for a test but students might be able to get some reading done in the back away from people coming in and out.
D/j/ vu offers a great little place for students to get cheap coffee and snacks with a little more personal and cozy touch but the place might be too small to bring a study group.
Jessup: I could tell immediately that the coffee house was entirely unique to Fort Collins. Local artwork is showcased on every wall. Everything from the mismatched table clothes to the homemade pastries, D/j/ vu has a certain familiarity – almost like having coffee and chatting in someone’s kitchen.
It was a good thing that I had to foot the bill at D/j/ vu, since the prices turned out to be really reasonable – I only had to pay roughly $2 for a very tasty Oregon Chai Tea. The coffee shop is popular and as the customers flooded in, the room became quite cramped.
D/j/ vu is a unique spot to visit, but the search for the perfect study atmosphere would have to continue.
We ended our search at the Wired Bean Coffee House. Jazz music played softly in the background. People were clustered together on the many soft, inviting couches where they talked and poured over textbooks. This was by far the most student-friendly place I had seen all day.
Chris: The Wired Bean is refreshingly devoid of hip gimmicks. Tastefully decorated in soothing brown hues, it also showcases a selected few local pieces of art. Free data ports are available, as well as a computer and courtesy phone. I paid $3.15 for a frozen caramel vanilla latte – the most expensive drink thus far, but without a doubt the best drink I sampled all day. The Wired Bean is warm, comfortable and ideal for students who want a place to catch up on their reading.
By the time Jess and I got to our last coffee shop, I was a little latte’d out. The Wired Bean resembled a Starbucks a little too much for me to make it my ideal place to sneak away to but for students living in the 21st century, it offers everything a dorm room does minus a roommate. I had too much coffee for one day so I had an ordinary hot cocoa for less than $2.
Jessup: The shop’s location and hours along with its data ports and couches make it the most ideal place for students to get some work done along as they don’t miss the coziness and personal touches D/j/ vu or even Starry Night had to offer.
That’s our take on the Fort Collins java scene; although there are probably lots more good places we didn’t get a chance to visit. Let us know if we left out your favorite spot. Next week: planning a good date in this town on a college kid’s budget.