When it comes to coffee around campus there is one obvious choice, Starbucks, but with so many locations how does one know where to pick up their favorite latte or chai? The decision used to be simple; if you lived in the new dorms you had the luxury of crossing the street to the Mockingbird location next to the bookstore, if you were in the north quad there is always Starbs in Sinder Plaza, and for those quick caffeine emergencies you could stop by Café 100 who served Starbucks brew, but oh what a year can change! Now that we have two locations on campus and three additional loactions within a short walk (or drive), how does one know when to go where?
Here is my ranking of each Starbucks, which takes into consideration location, study space, staff, drink consistency, and atmosphere.
Besides the obvious convenience of being located right at the heart of campus, this Starbucks has a great atmosphere and the baristas are super friendly. The lines can be hefty during passing periods, however the new staff seems to be able to shuffle a line through with valiant speed. The study space is undoubtedly top notch. If you don’t want to stick around the coffee counter in the relaxed study space you can always go up a floor or two and enjoy a more peaceful secluded study experience, but if you are meeting a group or just enjoy a little chatter in the room while you study then the large tables with cushioned benches and white boards is defiantly study group #goals. So far the drinks have been consistently subpar, nothing to complain about but the staff hasn’t worked out all the kinks in perfecting their Starbucks spread.
2. Mockingbird Lane
This Starbucks will forever hold a little place in my heart and that may be why I have it ranked so high on my list. The barista’s at this location are most definitely the A team. Not only do they have amazing memories and customer service but they are coffee gods! I swear every other latte I order at any other Starbucks has a 50/50 chance of being burnt but never have I ever had this experience at the Mockingbird location. The study space is great if you can snag one of the two-person tables against the side walls or even the four-person tables that run down the middle of the store, but if you find yourself at the large community style table, the bar tops, or the long bar in the front you may find yourself unable to really get in the grind of your work, the space is either to public or to cramped and at some point you either reach the conclusion that your better off finding else where to go.
3. Greenville Drive-Through
The closest drive through Starbucks to campus is located across Highway 75 on Greenville Avenue. Not only is it best for all your lazy don’t get out of the car needs but if you do venture inside it is pleasantly charming. The store looks much smaller from the outside but once you enter the doors it’s actually decently sized. The tables are big and nicely placed in the location for ample studying. The staff is nice but not rave worthy and the drinks are normally good but as I said 50/50 burn rate of the latte so take your chances.
4. Snider Plaza
This Starbucks gets a lot of foot traffic from both SMU students and the local University Park residents and as a side effect the store always feels dirty. The door to the location cuts off the flow of the line and because of this the tables are all weirdly shoved to the back with a long bar and stools on the opposite side of the coffee counter. The staff at this location are kind of annoying, none of them are top notch and they don’t really ever seem to have their heads in the game. The drinks at this location seem to show the effects of the lackluster staff. Nothing ever seems to have the proper Starbucks taste and they run closer to a 70/30 burn ratio when it comes to lattes. If you live on the far end of campus I understand the convenience but lets be real here your better off walking to Fondy, its probably closer and I guarantee you will have a better overall experience.
5. Dedman Center
When the first “real” Starbucks location opened in the gym last year it was major hype, but when it comes down to it, it’s just not that convenient to have a Starbucks in the gym. Its not an ideal place to study, the atmosphere is just weird, and after working out the last thing I’m craving is a latte. The few experiences I have had at this location have been sub par, the staff seems to be friendly but the drinks don’t have a great consistency, and they seem to have an issue keeping the location properly stocked.