We've all got our go-to study café (because fuck the library), and many people share the same spots on their list. Café Névé, Replika, Myriade, any of the five café on Parc/Milton, all are on everyone's radar when seeking out place to get some work done, especially students.
And the amount of students taking over the cafés you love to work at is going to get worse now that finals season looms. This isn't anything against students, it's just that for the rest of us, it can get pretty annoying when every café is constantly overtaken by folks cramming for exams. Hell, I even remember hating that when I was in university.
But there are plenty of cafés around Montreal that are off of the beaten track, many of which are right around university campuses, meaning you don't have to travel too far to get some work done. Of course, we're aware of many great study-cafés all around Montreal, which is why we're listing out ten where you won't find tons of students so you can actually get work done below.
294 Saint-Catherine W
Free coffee, free cookies, high-speed internet, and an intimate working space that is a cross between a cafe and an apartment, what more could you want out of a working space? Not much, and that's what makes Anticafé so great. Unknown to most students, Anticafé is run by a few generous folks who simply want to give you a place to be productive. All you need to do is fund the project, with rates going at $3 for the first hour, $2 for subsequent hours, or $9 for the entire day, which is a pretty good deal given that you'll spend way more than that at just about any café for just a latte.
Photo cred - PoYang_博仰
611 Duluth E
Walking along Duluth, you'd probably miss Café Ouvert, even when you're actually looking for the place. Café Ouvert is the definition of a hole-in-the-wall work space, and since so few folks even know of its existence, you can be nearly certain you'll find a place to sit down and get sh*t done. The space itself is kind of small, however, so on the off chance there are people working inside, you might be left without a table.
Le Depanneur Café
A haven for hipsters, Le Depanneur Café is also just a prime study/work locale for anyone in the Mile End. Not only is the food and coffee more than legit, Le Depanneur Café is also large enough to host a fair number of folks, meaning you can almost always find a table, especially when the terrasse is open during the summer. One potential downfall to Le Depanneur Café is the fact that they host live music performances throughout the day. Usually the tunes aren't that distracting, but anyone who requires zero silence might want to look elsewhere.
Le moineau masqué
912 Marie Anne
Tucked away on Marie Anne street in the Plateau is Le moineau masqué, a café hidden well enough that most students don't know to head to the quiet work-space that is altogether conducive to productivity. Not too big and not too small, Le moineau masqué is that "just right" kind of café where you can easily find a spot if you head there early enough. Add in Le moineau masqué's menu of savoury and sweet eats, and you have a solid study spot where you can work for hours on end.
5526 Sherbrooke W
Forget about MELK, Café Shaika is the NDG coffee shop to head to if you really want to work and be productive. Whereas MELK is a bit too trendy and popular, Café Shaika provides the same hip atmosphere you want with less of a crowd, meaning you can actually grab a table. Plus, since you're in NDG, the likelihood of encountering students is far less likely, though the yuppie-population could be an obstacle.
156 Roy E
Most people think of Else's solely as a resto-bar, which makes it the perfect overlooked study spot. Boasting a full food menu, along with espresso, and some libations if you really get fed up with working, Else's has you covered on the food and drink front entirely. Else's is also pretty low-key and quiet during the days (I spent an entire Sunday happily working there this past weekend) but be warned: once the early evening hits, the mass amounts of Else's patrons will come on out, so reserve Else's as a daytime-Plateau go to work space.
Photo cred - cafemilanoinc
5188 Jarry E
Saint Leonard might be a ways away for some of the folks reading, but for those who live in the area, Café Milano should be your new favourite place to study. You're no doubt familiar with the café-eatery, but now try and orient Café Milano as a study spot. Since the cafe has amazing sandwiches, great coffee, plenty of seating space, and is open 24-hours (late night studying FTW), recognizing Milano as a café for working isn't a difficult feat.
1700 Ontario E
For whatever reason, people don't think of bakeries as a place to do work, even though they have everything a café does, and more. Arhoma is a prime example. Not only does the bakery have a legit amount of seating, caffeine to keep you jazzed, and a delectable assortment of sweets to eat, but it's also off the radar enough that you're not likely to find a bunch of students hogging all the tables. Even if you do find folks sitting at that table you really want, they're usually just enjoying a coffee with a dessert, meaning they'll only be eating for like, twenty minutes, rather than the two-hour wait for someone who's studying for exams.
2313 Saint Catherine W
Much like the above, Pekarna is a bakery, meaning it generally doesn't have mass amounts of students taking over the place, with delicious desserts rounding out the list of reasons to study here. As a Pekarna veteran, having spent many days studying there, another added benefit is the fact that the bakery's clientele (at least during the day) is limited to in-and-out orders and old people. Why is this a good thing? Well, you're never really distracted by anyone around you, because old people aren't pretty to look at like young hipster students, and they're conversations are more boring than whatever you're studying.
Caffé San Simeon
Since Little Italy is basically the new Mile End, with oh-so-many students moving northward for the area's cheaper rent, most of the well-known cafés have already been overtaken by frantic finals-ridden folk. Nestled on Dante and Saint Dominique, so somewhat hidden from the walking traffic on Saint Laurent, is Caffé San Simeon, a neighborhood cafe that is a popular spot among Little Italy locals but not so much with students. Don't worry though, because the small-ish café can still hold a fair amount of customers, and is ideal for folks who enjoy a bit of ambient noise while they work.