makes a coffee shop good for a writer?
Good coffee and a congenial staff are a given.
Santa Barbara has many coffee shops that fit this bill but
aren't necessarily good for writing.
Good spots to write – be it a novel, a poem, a journal entry
or a card to your niece – scream, “Linger.”
Key features are space, a laid back atmosphere and other
- Students and laptops are usually a good sign that lingering is
The coffee shop also needs enough light to see by and music
that is soothing but not distracting.
Be an asset to your chosen coffee shop.
Don’t write your novel during the lunch rush
or linger too long if all the tables are taken
and people are cruising looking for a place to sit.
Go when a little bench warming is considered a good
thing. At lunch
you’re taking up valuable
real estate but at 2:30 p.m. you’re keeping the
place from looking like a mortuary.
having said that, here’s our list of the top five coffee shops for
writing in Santa Barbara.
(Corner of Anapamu & Anacapa)
Without a doubt, one of the finest places –period - to sit with a cup
of joe, a bagel, a notebook and one of those really fun jelly pens.
Almost every Sunday morning writers hustle for one of the booths
by the window. It must be
the light or maybe the slightly urban atmosphere.
Coffee Cat also has enough space so a little lingering isn’t a
bad thing. A large latte is
usually good for a half-dozen poems or journal pages if the mood is just
(Corner of Mission and De la Vina)
Indoor and outdoor seating in abundance, lots of coffee varieties and
late night hours make this another local favorite.
This isn’t a contemplative journal writing kind of place
though. It lends itself to writing high-energy things like romance
novels and campy westerns. It
might be the surf theme or possibly the Mission location.
Barbara Roasting Company
(Lower State right near the freeway)
Combine the charm and good taste of locally roasted beans with a
hint of salt air and who wouldn’t be put in the mood to write.
This place is oddly hidden in its high-profile spot but well
worth the hunt. It’s
right next to the highway, but the industrial feel of the décor suits
(Shopping center at Turnpike and Hollister)
Speaking of Goleta if you get the urge for some evening writing, this is
a great spot to linger. Since
it’s so close to the UCSB you may have to wrangle a tired student for
a couch. The homey, living room-like atmosphere makes it a great haunt
for smoothing your transitions and un-dangling your participles.
(Canon Perdido next to Post Office)
From the window you have a view of the Presidio and it has an old world
convoluted kind of charm. If
your goal is writing, stay away at lunch because they’re also a health
food restaurant and can get very busy. (If your goal is lunch – go.
The food is good, too.) However,
this is a charming place to spend a sunny Santa Barbara afternoon with
“Sitting Duck” is restaurant-speak for a
patron that nurses a cup of coffee for a very long time.
The term can be derogatory when the staff feels you’re
interfering with the flow of business.
Sitting Ducks who leave
larger than average tips, however, don’t become
Lame Ducks next time they visit.
SantaBarbara.com Staff Writer