The Red Cat is Birmingham’s Best Place to Study

SW Red Cat 2

In the contest of the best place to study downtown, The Red Cat Coffeehouse sweeps the board. The coffee shop, located in Pepper Place, creates an atmosphere that is adaptable for what you need, whether it’s a table to spread out your notes or a cozy chair to read for fun.

While everyone and their roommate studies at Starbucks or O’Henry’s, The Red Cat does not have the same crazy crowds. I have never faced the dilemma of not having a place to sit.

And the tables along the sidewalk outside the store just add another dimension of greatness with warmer weather on its way. The street sees little traffic creating a peaceful environment, and the building blocks the sun providing shade.

SW Red Cat 4A cup of iced coffee just seals the deal.

Now for those coffee connoisseurs, The Red Cat’s coffee is not my favorite in town, but it’s in my top five. I love that they purchase free trade products, sourcing the coffee beans directly from the farms and the people who grow them. Once they arrive, they roast the coffee beans on sight.

The baristas can make you just about anything you want. They even have a sign at the register that visually explains the different espresso drinks, just in case you were like me and never knew the difference between a café latte and a café breve.

Along with a spot to study during the day, The Red Cat transforms into a music venue at night. Twice a month, the coffeehouse offers concerts available to the public. Artists like Madi Diaz, Matthew Perryman Jones and the Vespers have performed, and tickets average $10.

Amber Rubarth will perform Thursday, April 4, and Sandra McCracken will play Friday, April 12.

The Red Cat’s biggest set back is its hours. It closes at 5 or 6 p.m. on weekdays and 2 p.m. on Saturdays. The hours work for those who try to get their work done during the day, but for those late-night studiers, I usually transfer to Urban Standard on 2nd Avenue North once The Red Cat closes.

Photos by Sarah Waller