Second-year Wake Forest medical student, Erin Allred was dancing to herself with music coming from her clunky headphones as she took notes in her notebook, on a couch in the furthest corner of Camino Bakery.
City residents deeply value the coffee culture in downtown Winston-Salem and students are no exception. Many downtown businesses serve to students from neighboring high schools, colleges, and universities. Coffee shops in downtown serve as more than just social spots to get coffee, also functioning as study places for so many students.
Although there are facilities to study in at the neighboring schools and colleges, and even a newly renovated downtown library, students are still drawn to do their school work at coffee shops.
Allred was accompanied by friend Olivia Menden, who is also a second-year student at the Wake Forest School of Medicine.
“You’re talking to the right people, we come here every day!” said Allred.
The Wake Forest School of Medicine opened the Bowman Gray Center in July of 2016, a $50 million building. “We do have a new, beautiful school, but we love coming here,” said Allred.
“It is a less academic atmosphere so it is a great place to study when you’re stressed,” said Menden.
“An anxiety resolution,” Allred joked.
In January of 2016, Wake Forest University opened a downtown campus in Building 60, an old Reynolds Tobacco building, in Innovation Quarter. Forty-seven courses are being offered to over 500 undergraduate Wake Forest students at Wake Downtown this fall. Shuttles pick up students and take them to the downtown campus from the Reynolda Campus every 15 minutes on weekdays from 7:25 a.m. to 11 p.m. and on weekends from 10 a.m.to 6:25 p.m. So for many students, getting downtown is no trouble at all.
With 11 coffee shops in the downtown area, students have many different options to use the coffee shops that best suit their study habits and are accepting of long visits.
Notable coffee shops in downtown Winston-Salem.
Liberty Arts Coffee House has been open for only a year on North Liberty Street between W. 6th St. and W. 5th St. Staff there said they love serving to studying students— who make use of numerous electrical outlets, tables of all sizes, and a quiet ambiance. Barista Teresa Prevatte has only been working in Liberty Arts Coffee House for six weeks.
“This coffee house is really, what is the word I’m looking for, oh conducive, for studying. It’s quiet, we have Wi-Fi and outlets. It is a great place to study, a great atmosphere,” she said.
Prevatte didn’t seem too concerned with customers coming and staying for long periods of time. “Most of the customers are regulars and will come and stay for awhile,” she said.
Down a few blocks is one of the most popular coffee shops in Winston-Salem, Krankies. Krankies is located on the corner of N. Patterson Avenue and E. 3rd St. and has been open for 14 years.
Krankies has received a bit of backlash from studying students when it comes to their most recent changes and upgrades. Manager Gaby Cardall addresses these concerns.
“Two years ago, we transitioned from a coffee shop to a café. Some people were like ‘oh no, no more couches, no more outlets,’ but we are transitioning away from being just a coffee shop,” said Cardall.
Krankies is no longer a typical coffee shop to study in. “We want it to be active and energized and if it was filled with people studying we wouldn’t have that,” said Cardall. “We have changed a lot over the years, we added a full kitchen and a full bar and that has pushed some people away.”
Camino Bakery is bustling with people working, studying, and socializing.
Camino Bakery, which serves as both a bakery and a coffee shop sits in the center of W. 4th St. between N. Marshall Street and N. Cherry Street. Manager Jordan Poe-Crawford sees his coffee shop a little differently than Krankies, and thinks it is a great place to study.
“Coffee shops are set up as a third place, a community gathering spot,” said Poe-Crawford. “A lot of people need to get away from campus and take a mental break; colleges are like homes for students, so it can be nice to get away from home sometimes.”
When it comes to the overall coffee culture in the downtown area Poe-Crawford was not afraid to give credit where it was deserved.
“Krankies is a big part of the coffee culture in downtown, we started our bakery with them in 2009 and even used their coffee until this past winter,” he said.