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Where to Work Near-ish Duke Campus, Ranked Masterlist

If there’s one thing I’m gatekeep-y about, it’s finding local cafes before everyone else I know does. Now that I’ve graduated Duke, I decided it’s time to share my amassed knowledge and opinions (and anecdotes no one asked for). At the end of this post, check out what I think is the BEST cafe to do work! Note: this guide is focused on which cafes are the best to be productive at.

Disclaimer

All the places mentioned below are local places (i.e. not a certain franchise that begins with ⭐). I strongly encourage the reader to check them out in person and form your own thoughts about them. At the same time, you can support some cool local businesses! Relevant sign I found in Miami:

friends don't let friends drink corporate coffee

I am literally begging you to stop going to Starbucks

Also, I didn’t visit these places alone. I went with Craig, who you should actually ask about specialty coffee. All photos are taken by me. The vibes rating is entirely my opinion, which may not mirror yours.

Table of Contents

List By Alphabet

Boba Baba // Cha House // Cloche // Epilogue // Everlou // Foster Street // Fount // Guglhupf // Heirloom // Jetplane // Liturgy // Meeple’s Brew // Namu // Oak House, The // People’s Coffee // Perennial // Press1


Top Tier

🔥 Liturgy Beverage Company

Durham Food Hall, 530 Foster St Suite 1, Durham, NC 27701 // website, instagram

Working: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌗

Vibes: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌗

Note: This shop is in the Durham Food Hall. Street parking may be difficult, but there’s a parking lot nearby.

Bonus: We went to a coffee tasting event they hosted, and it’s clear they really care about coffee. Highly recommend their seasonal menu. I’d also recommend grabbing dinner at the Napoli Pizzeria.

📰 Press Coffee Crêpes Cocktails

Press picture 1
Press picture 2

359 Blackwell Street, Durham, NC 27701 // website, instagram

Working: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑

Vibes: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌗

Note: If you want to do work here, ONLY go on weekdays. On weekends, it turns into a busy brunch-only place (no pulling out laptops to work). But on weekdays, it’s pretty roomy.

Bonus: Their crêpes are really, really good. Mostly everything else on the menu is great too! On weekend brunch days, they have hash brown waffles, which I’ve never seen anywhere else.

💗 Heirloom Coffee Tea Kitchen

Heirloom picture 1

219 S West St, Raleigh, NC 27603 // website, instagram

Working: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑

Vibes: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌗

Note: I had this saved in my “Want to go” for a while, but I never ended up going until this year. (To be fair, it’s in Raleigh, and the drive there sucks a little bit.) Worth the trip.

Bonus: They serve Laos/Taiwan/Japan-inspired dishes that are pretty tasty. There’s also a collection of Asian beers and wines!

🍵 Cha House

318 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516 // website, instagram, facebook

Working: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑

Vibes: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑

Note: Mostly UNC students here though since it’s in Chapel Hill, but worth the trip. I used to take the RSX every weekend to come here.

Bonus: Possibly the best boba in the area. I often get the taro matcha or strawberry matcha. (The taro is made with powder, but to be honest I don’t mind.) They also serve delicious Taiwanese-style snacks and rice plates. I’d recommend the cheese/egg green onion pancake and the thai chili chicken.

🎍 Namu

5420 Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard, Durham, NC 27707 // website, instagram, facebook, twitter

Working: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌕

Vibes: 🌕🌕🌕🌗🌑

Note: I would come here to work on weekdays - there are so many tables to choose from, including square wooden ones all the way to long picnic benches. Saturdays are very crowded, and the parking lot does not lend itself to easy parking. Their coffee is mid, though.

Bonus: They serve Korean-fusion dishes that are pretty good. There’s also a variety of beers, ciders, etc. on tap, if you’re into that.

🌳 The Oak House Durham

126 West Main Street, Durham, NC 27701 // website, instagram, facebook

Working: 🌕🌕🌕🌗🌑

Vibes: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑

Note: It’s not a huge space since it’s in downtown Durham, but I’ve never had trouble finding seating. Open super late (10pm on weekdays)! No food, but they welcome bringing food from other restaurants in.

Bonus: Lots of alcohol. :)

Worth Visiting

✈️ Jetplane Coffee

810 North Mangum Street, Durham, NC 27701 // website, instagram

Working: 🌕🌕🌗🌑🌑

Vibes: 🌕🌕🌕🌗🌑

Note: I would come here to read or work on an essay since there’s no Wi-Fi (on purpose). Lots of people from the community come here, so if you want to avoid students, here’s your place.

Bonus: They also have food! In the beginning of their opening period, they were in a temporary location (next door), and the owner said the goal was to create a “coffee shop disguised as a restaurant”. Not sure if live jazz on Sunday still happens, but that was very enjoyable.

💙 Foster Street Coffee

530 Foster Street #2, Durham, NC 27701 // website, instagram, facebook

Working: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑

Vibes: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑

Note: I would put it higher on the list if it wasn’t so hard to find a table. It was a great working space, but now it’s so crowded since everyone comes here now. Coffee is not great. Open late, which is nice!

🍫 Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews

109 East Franklin Street #100, Chapel Hill, NC 27514 // website, instagram, facebook, twitter

Working: 🌕🌕🌗🌑🌑

Vibes: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑

Note: Pretty hard to find table space. I “accidentally” spend $$$ buying books in here, as I usually do in local bookstores. (My excuse is I’m supporting local businesses…) Coffee isn’t great, but it’s not primarily a coffee shop anyway.

Bonus: Amazing book selection with focus on BIPOC and minority authors! The churros were fresh and amazing.

👥 People’s Coffee

People's Coffee picture 1

7831 NC Highway 751, Suite 100, Durham, NC 27713 // website, instagram, facebook

Working: 🌕🌕🌕🌑🌑

Vibes: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑

Note: Come here for work and then do some shopping at Southpoint, which is right next door.

Bonus: I haven’t tried their breakfast menu, but the waffles look really good.

🌺 Perennial

401 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516 // website, instagram

Working: 🌕🌕🌕🌑🌑

Vibes: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑

Note: Closes early (2pm weekdays, 3pm weekends). It’s also right across from Cha House in Chapel Hill.

🍞 Guglhupf Bakery Cafe & Biergarten

ADDRESS website, instagram, facebook, twitter

Working: 🌕🌕🌕🌑🌑

Vibes: 🌕🌕🌕🌑🌑

Bonus: Amazing baked goods, especially the danishes and macarons. If you want bread, I’d buy it here.

💜 Everlou Coffee Co.

506 North Mangum Street, Suite 102, Durham, NC 27701 // website

Working: 🌕🌕🌑🌑🌑

Vibes: 🌕🌕🌕🌗🌑

Honorable Mentions

🎲 Meeple’s Brew

9545 Chapel Hill Rd, Morrisville, NC 27560 // website, instagram, facebook, twitter

Working: 🌕🌕🌕🌑🌑

Vibes: 🌕🌕🌗🌑🌑

Note: You can pay $5 to have access to the massive selection of board games. Fun place to hang out with friends who like board games, but it’s a bit far.

👨 Boba Baba

12102 Bradford Green Square, Cary, NC 27513 // website, instagram, facebook

Working: 🌕🌕🌕🌗🌑

Vibes: 🌕🌕🌗🌑🌑

Note: Their boba is good; it’s just quite far. If you make a trip to H-Mart, this place is close by.

🔔 Cloche Coffee

721 Broad Street, Durham, NC 27705 // website, instagram

Working: 🌕🌕🌑🌑🌑

Vibes: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑

Note: They have a wide selection of teas, which is great. When this shop was newer, they tasted really good, but later they dropped significantly in quality. It’s also always super crowded, probably due to its location.

Bonus: I’ve seen a good amount of people bring their dogs!

The Crown Jewel

⛲ Fount Coffee + Kitchen

Fount picture 1
Fount picture 2
Fount picture 3

10954 Chapel Hill Rd Ste 109, Morrisville, NC 27560 // website, instagram

Working: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌕

Vibes: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌕

Note: I found this place by accident when I was taking part in the DukeEngage Durham program during my freshman summer. I went to the government office next door to get my UK Work Visa (the program took place in Durham, NC and Durham, UK), but on the way I peered in what looked like a really cool cafe. I promptly saved it in my “Want to go” list in Google Maps, but we didn’t get the chance to go until junior year. We loved it so much we would Uber there every week before I brought a car. Almost nothing could’ve stop us from going to our weekly Fount trip. Partly why I left my Fridays class-free is to go to Fount (the other reason is self-explanatory).

Bonus: Pretty much the entire menu of food and drinks is delicious. I would recommend anything on the seasonal menu.

  1. I can’t believe it ends at P. 

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