You walk into the library and as soon as you hit the learning commons you are hit with the aroma of toasted bread and freshly brewed coffee, there are many people walking in and out of a room to the right. You walk in and see people chatting and employees bustling about, or you turn your head right and notice many people studying and engulfed in their own world. Located in the middle of the Wilson Library on the campus of Western Washington University is Zoe’s Bookside Bagels, it’s the perfect place to find an intimate space to study or pick up a bagel. Zoe’s also offers space to meet up with a professor or a tutor to work on an assignment. Whether you are visiting Zoe’s to enjoy a bagel and coffee, or to work on the latest procrastinated assignment, it is a great place to take a well-deserved break.
They serve a variety of coffee and tea along with bagels and other healthy snacks and drinks. They get all of their bagels from the local Bagelry, a fantastic bagel shop in downtown Bellingham, and their coffee comes from Tony’s Coffee in downtown Fairhaven. As a visitor of Zoe’s I can honestly say that these bagels are like a drug addiction, once you get a bagel you always want more. They offer quality products and they are also helping to support small local businesses within the area. It has plenty of seating and tables for those people who want to sit down and eat, or to study. The functionality of the space really works well and the location could not be better, the library is the studying hub of the campus so it offers a place for studiers to reenergize and enjoy a snack. The bustle in Zoe’s reminds me of a bee hive, there is a constant hum of chatting and socializing. Everyone is busy as a bee. Not to mention the library is located close to the middle of campus so it is easily accessible to everyone around. The workers are all friendly and make sure that you have everything you need. They are always there to greet you with a smile when they take your order no matter how busy they may be. It is refreshing to visit a place where customer service is still important to those who work there.
Although the location, food, and the workers leave nothing more to be desired, there are some things that could be improved upon. Depending on the time of day go you could be in for a long wait. I have noticed the early morning and late evening are good times to go because you are less likely to have to wait in a line. That being said, going in the late morning or mid-day is the absolute worst time to go. Everyone is trying to grab a fast breakfast or lunch, which causes a long line and a long wait. In other words if you need to get to another class within the next 10 minutes you should consider another location. Another thing that can be a problem is the noise. Some people can focus throughout anything, but others need quiet. I think that if it were a bit of a quieter space some would be more willing to study there.
Compared to other cafés around campus Zoe’s has a different environment. The Starbucks has a rushed feeling where people just come in to get a coffee and then they are off to the next destination. On the other side of the spectrum is The Underground Coffee House. The Underground is the type of place you go to for a more relaxed environment, you go there to sit down and watch a live performance or have a study session with some friends. It is in a hidden area and can be a forgotten about since it is not as visible as the other cafés around campus. Right in the middle is Zoe’s, it is not too busy or too quiet. It has the perfect balance between bustling and mellow. Being in the library, it is easily accessible to everyone but it also is in a semi-quiet environment.
No matter what the reason is, visiting Zoe’s is worth a shot. It offers a lot of resources to people, it is also a great place to support local businesses and hang out with friends. With the wait and the noise it may not be the place for everyone, but I can truly say that the bagels are worth the wait. It is just a quick walk across campus into the warm library, which at this time of year has to be enticing to just about everyone. It is a relaxing place to visit and there is always room to plop down and read. It may not be as busy as Starbucks or as laid back as The Underground Coffee House but Zoe’s Bookside Bagels is just right.
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