With finals fast approaching, the scramble to find quiet places to study, on and off campus, begins as well. For students looking for a new place to study that is outside USC’s bubble and can offer a quiet, cozy place to study for hours at a time, the numerous cafes scattered throughout Koreatown offer many worthy havens.
Yellow House Cafe
234 S. Oxford Ave.
Yellow House Cafe features one of the best aspects of cafes in Koreatown: charming, cozy outdoor study spaces, complete with miniature fountains, vine-covered arbors, potted plants squeezed into any open space and Christmas lights that twinkle during the evening.
Yellow House is perfect for daytime study sessions with some fresh air and a warm drink on hand. There don’t seem to be power outlets anywhere, so bring the hundreds of pages of reading you still need to catch up on instead of the laptop.
What makes Yellow House a standout is its food menu, which features a small assortment of foods to stave off hunger, from fusion tacos to kimchi fried rice.
The drinks menu is standard: coffee-based drinks, teas and lemonades. If ordering iced tea at Yellow House, be warned: your tea bag will be placed in cold, iced water and then served to you. So unless you like barely-there flavor, order it hot and wait for it to cool down.
Yellow House, however, goes above and beyond in presentation when compared to other cafes. Entrees are colorful and laid out nicely on your plate, and iced teas come in a white satchel. And if you’re looking for an especially Instagram-worthy drink, the rose iced tea has little rosebuds floating on top.
Coffee House Heyri
755 S. Hobart Blvd.
Heyri is the quietest of the featured cafes, with high school students bent over their books and middle-aged men and women quietly chatting while sipping on coffee.
The interior of Heyri has an English library feel, with stained glass lamps and dark walls. The exterior is very similar to Yellow House: plants everywhere, Christmas lights draped overhead and a small fountain set-up in the center. While it looks nice during the day, it is at night when Heyri is at its most festive.
Like the majority of Koreatown cafes, desserts are hit or miss. If tempted to order, stick with the chocolate-based desserts, as those are generally more flavorful.
Additionally, small amenities, like complimentary blankets for chilly nights, make Heyri a relaxing place to study and enjoy a more peaceful side of Los Angeles.
IOTA Coffee & Bakery
528 S. Western Ave.
Large, spacious and with a contemporary feel, Iota is different from the majority of Korean cafes. Instead, the coffee and bakery feels more like a restaurant, with larger tables in one expansive room. Though there is outdoor seating, the view of Western Avenue — with tiny stores and no vegetation in sight — is less than pleasing, so try to get a table inside.
Though Iota might not have the best views, it does have satisfying coffee as well as a large assortment of refreshing iced drinks (and yes, you can add boba to them). The milk tea is rich and flavorful, and the iced drinks, as well as the teas, are more flavorful and satisfying than the coffee, in general.
Iota features the best dessert menu out of all of the cafes listed, so if you’re looking to satisfy a sweet tooth, this is the place to go. The desserts are decadent and the right size to split with someone if you want to avoid the calorie guilt later on.
What makes Iota really special, however, are its hours. Open until midnight Monday through Wednesday, and until 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, Iota is a great option for late-night study sessions. It is best suited for study groups, since the Top 40 hits played inside can be distracting for students doing Calculus problem sets, and are better geared for sessions with talking and collaboration.
While Koreatown is known to students for its numerous Korean BBQ restaurants (and little else), these cafes offer a way to explore a side of the neighborhood that is still mostly frequented by locals only.