By Clare Myers
There comes a time every spring when we must face a harsh reality. The last keg has been floated, the rugby players are counting their bruises and empty red Solo cups litter the road between campus and Old Mill. Regardless of whether the groundhog saw his shadow, there are nearly six weeks of classes before spring break. We are confronted with the inconvenient truths of comps and theses, and we pop a few ibuprofen and soldier on, as generations of UD students have done before. But that does not mean this phase of the semester — the catching up on schoolwork phase — must be excruciatingly dull. I firmly believe that choosing a good location to study can have an impact on making work enjoyable, or at the very least, tolerable. Off-campus explorers, rejoice, because Dallas has its share of quirky coffee shops to keep your studies interesting.
In the height of my thesis writing, I ventured to The Wild Detectives in Oak Cliff, an indie café that is one part bookshop, two parts coffee shop. All that means is that if you prefer to peruse the neat stacks of titles meticulously curated to the ideal level of eclectic while sipping your $4 macchiato, you can do so accompanied by an excellent background playlist. Luxuriously polished wooden tables populate a small indoor space, along with a smattering of stools around the bar. Keep going past the bar and you’ll end up on a pet-friendly outdoor space with more tables to lounge with a book or a charcuterie board. Scruffy hipster this is not.
All snarkiness aside, the place has an excellent vibe. It may feel a bit pretentious at first (because it is), and the baristas can be more professional than friendly when it is crowded. But the bottomless coffee is slightly above average, the coffee- and tea-based drinks are well crafted and the small bites and pastries are delightful.
On a Saturday afternoon, the café was busy with a diverse mix of patrons, from fathers chatting with their children over slices of Emporium pie to couples in workout clothes rewarding themselves with iced chai lattes after a long run on the trails. Although the noise level rose as the afternoon progressed, it was a thoroughly enjoyable place to get some thesis work done.
As I neared the end of my page goal for the day, I began to notice the atmosphere was changing ever so slightly. The ambience of cool intelligentsia remained, but the mood began to shift away from quiet and comfortable to more excitable chatter. A quick study of the menu gave it away: The Wild Detectives also serves craft beer, select cocktails and a rather impressive variety of wines. In the evenings, the bookshop often hosts live music, poetry readings and author meet-and-greets.
Had I not been too intellectually exhausted from hours of writing to discuss organic gardening or hot yoga (as, from the looks of them, several of my fellow patrons undoubtedly were), I might have stuck around.
Nearest DART station: West End Station
Distance from UD: 12.8 miles
How to get there from UD: Take the Orange Line toward LBJ/Central or Parker Road station for seven stops (West End). Take the 021 bus toward Red Bird Transit Center for 14 stops (about 12 minutes). Get off at Bishop @ Davis. Head south toward Davis Street and turn right at the street. Then turn left at Bishop Avenue, then left onto Eighth Street.