Escaping Lau: The Best Off-Campus Places To Study

If you’re behind on your work (like me), you must be looking for a place to lock in, grind and study. Assuming the chaos of Lau 2, the awkwardness of Lau 3, the silent cubicles of Lau 4 and 5, and of course, the morbid nature of Lau 1, are becoming overbearing, you’re left with no place to go … considering the HFSC has reached maximum capacity prior to 8 a.m. and the breakout rooms of MSB, well, they’re never open. 

In times of desperation and much needed solitude, I turn to my off-campus staples — places I journey to for the fantastic food, beverage, ambiance and yes, maybe some work. Don’t worry, every single place I have included on this list offers a wide variety of caffeinated drinks. With that said, studying off campus does not mean that you must purchase food or drinks — there are times when I simply go to a coffee shop solely to work and end up buying nothing. 

Until I find a summer job, I probably need to cut back on my off-campus studying trips. But if you’re feeling adventurous or have a few bucks to spare, by all means please consider my personal favorites at each store!

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Saxbys – 3500 O Street NW

Ah, Saxbys — one of the most convenient and tasty off-campus study spots Georgetown has to offer. When I come to Saxbys, it’s for one of (or a combination of) three reasons: I’m lazy and don’t want to walk that far, The Daily Grind or the bacon, egg, and cheese (BAC). 

The Daily Grind is undoubtedly my favorite drink between any of these four locations I recommend. It is an incredible blend of peanut butter, bananas, almond milk, and coffee, making for a great breakfast and serving as fuel for the work I’m attempting to complete. When I get their BAC (and this is relatively infrequent), it’s indefinitely the highlight of my day and exponentially better than Leo’s (sorry not sorry). 

In terms of pricing, both the daily grind and BAC are roughly the same at about $6 each. Most medium sized coffee beverages hover around the price range of $4-6 as well. 

All the food and drink is fairly cheap and the service is awesome, which helps contribute to a more positive experience. Finding a seat or table is never a problem, but the real sweet spot is the big couch they have near the back. However, I will say that at times, I do find myself putting headphones in to avoid distraction from my noisy surroundings. 

Also, if you’re antisocial like I am (sometimes), you definitely run the risk of seeing one, if not more, of your friends from school, which can sometimes make getting work done a bit harder. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a fun and easy spot close to campus, I recommend Saxbys and their Daily Grind and/or their BAC. 

9/10. A phenomenal option. 

Foxtrot – 1267 Wisconsin Avenue NW

My personal favorite. Foxtrot is a place where I can escape the “Georgetown bubble” while enjoying the plethora of amenities they offer. Even before you enter Foxtrot, the walk over is beautiful — headphones in, sunglasses on, letting your eyes wander aimlessly around the beautiful town we call home. What can beat that? 

While locating a spot to work might be difficult at times and, quite frankly, is the one underlying flaw of Foxtrot, I’m willing to overlook it considering how delicious their seasonal couscous bowl is. Not to mention that if you’re feeling in a snacky mood, you can explore their Bodega or mini supermarket. If I don’t go the bowl route, I make sure to order either my iced coffee or mixed berry smoothie. You can’t go wrong with either. 

Sadly, Foxtrot happens to be the most expensive … so I make sure to enjoy every trip here. For the bowl, we’re looking at about $10 with tax, and if you choose to purchase the smoothie as well, it will cost you another $9 (don’t purchase the smoothie unless you really want it … $9 is crazy for a smoothie). Most coffee-oriented drinks are slightly less costly, but still on the more expensive side in comparison to other options. 

Now that we’re all settled in with our food and drinks, let me explain why Foxtrot is really my second home. Between the absolute vibe of a playlist that Foxtrot boasts, the variety of seating options and general ambience of the store, I always find myself at ease and ready to work. I rarely put my headphones in to block out surrounding noise and disruptions, but I will admit that I sometimes stare aimlessly at the passing traffic on Wisconsin. 

9.5/10 – highly recommended. 

Compass – 1351 Wisconsin Avenue NW

In all honesty, Compass is typically my default option if I cannot find space at Foxtrot. But don’t get me wrong — Compass is an absolute mood for vibing, drinking some coffee and getting work done. Like Foxtrot, the walk over is quite relaxing and mentally prepares you to dial in and get your stuff done … and by that, I mean stare at your computer screen for a few hours and occasionally type some words. 

The coffee at Compass is superior to both Saxby’s and Foxtrot, which makes it easier to drink three cups if you’re there on a Sunday with an assignment due at midnight that you haven’t even looked at. Coffee here is one of the cheaper options on this list and will run you about $4-5 on most drinks. While the drinks here are top notch, the food is definitely lacking and I would recommend bringing a snack or two with you on your journey. 

PSA: If you go to Foxtrot and cannot find a table, grab food from there and bring it to Compass — but you might need to hide it from the employees. Perhaps my favorite aspect of Compass is the dynamic of the space. There are a ton of tables and chairs, so finding space to work is never an issue. Noise is never a problem and very rarely do I run into someone from school, so it’s an excellent space for some alone time. 

8/10 – An easy and accessible work environment \

Blue Bottle Coffee – 1046 Potomac Street NW

So, I’ve only gone to Blue Bottle once … but I can promise you that I will most definitely be making many more trips here next semester. Without a doubt, the best component of Blue Bottle is the outdoor seating they offer. Whether that be at the tablesright outside or the swinging benches in the area below their space, there is just something about doing work outside that makes it more enjoyable. 

Although I didn’t purchase a coffee during my one trip to Blue Bottle, I have heard great things about their products. Pricing fluctuates here, with most coffee beverages costing anywhere from $6-8. This is definitely a more expensive option, but keep in mind that your only purchase here will most likely be that one drink. 

The walk over is definitely longer than most options, but entirely worth it on a beautiful day. Not to mention that you’re in the middle of town and can explore some other delicious food options (Chipotle always) if you’re really that hungry. I can’t provide too much insight into the likelihood of being productive at Blue Bottle … but at the end of the day, we all know it’s about the food and drink anyway. 

8/10 recommended – A spot that needs more recognition 

I’m all for the Lau 5 grind or the MSB breakout room. Let’s be real though. Working in the same environment continuously is not sustainable and quite frankly really boring. I’m not saying that studying at Saxby’s or walking to do work at Foxtrot will guarantee you better grades, but I can promise you that a change of scenery will help both the efficiency and quality of your work. 

Not to mention that studying off-campus offers you the opportunity to indulge in some delicious foods and tasty beverages. Even better is the chance to escape the newly reinstated mask police within Georgetown buildings (if you want to remain unmasked). Regardless of studying or not, if you’re just looking for a nice walk and some cheaper food, any of these places will surely satisfy your needs.