13 Cozy Places To Read A Nice Book (And Avoid Awkward Eye Contact) In Cebu
Book nerds love nothing more than to spend a comfy, quiet day in their rooms with a book in hand. Pillows, paperbacks, and pastries— that’s the dream combination, right?
Still, you gotta admit that there are some days where you want to go out and hang out somewhere nice and cozy (and preferably with air conditioning to battle the relentless tropical heat present all year round!)
Lucky for you, Cebu is blessed with a lot of nooks and crannies that can cater to your introvert-who-doesn’t-want-to-interact-but-also-wants-a-fresh-environment cravings.
If you’re a book nerd or someone who just needs a peaceful place to kick back and relax, here are some of the best places for you to hang out in and around Cebu:
Books and Brews Cafe
My first recommendation is a little too obvious, isn’t it?
If you want to hang out somewhere with good books, good food, good WiFi, and a good ambiance, look no further than Books and Brews Cafe.
This quiet little cafe tucked away in a corner of Mango Square Mall holds a special place in my heart, since this is one of the few spots in the city where you can enjoy a wide array of books— from multiple volumes of The Shannara Chronicles to obscure stand-alones. Name it, they’ve probably got it.
Books and Brews also has a section of their shelves specifically dedicated to Filipino authors, which I think is super awesome. I enjoyed reading Summer Feels, a collection of summer love stories from various #romanceclass authors, and A Bottle Of Stormclouds, an anthology by Eliza Victoria. You can’t find these titles anywhere (you’d have to get in touch with the publishers!), so reading them in a cozy cafe with a good sandwich and a latte is such a treat.
If you love joining workshops and events like book launches and slam poetry, they host those, too!
Last but not the least, the place also has a great internet connection, so if you want to be productive and get some work done on your laptop, this is a great place to hang out in.
Books and Brews Cafe is located at Mango Square Mall, Juana Osmeña St, Cebu City, 6000 Cebu
Hours 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Phone: (032) 384 1175
Craft Story Cebu
Okay, I’m cheating. You technically can’t hang out at Craft Story Cebu, but hey, you can’t deny that it’s a haven for nerds who love to collect bookmarks, postcards, stationery, crafts, and other goodies, so it still makes the list.
The things that you can find here will make your little nerd heart full to the brim. My favorites are definitely the watercolor bookmarks, the enamel pins, the Harry Potter music boxes, and the artisanal matcha chocolate bars with local otap. Yum.
And that’s barely scratching the surface. You have to come here to know what I’m talking about.
Aside from these various little trinkets, one of the reasons why I love Craft Story so much is that it supports local makers and creators. Thanks to shops like them, artists and crafters don’t have to wander from one expo to another just to showcase their work and earn from their craft. I think that’s really cool.
By carefully curating the artists and their products, Craft Story makes sure that they offer a wide variety of crafts and products.
So cool, noh? Check out my full post about this little store that could here.
Craft Story is located at Crossroads Mall, Cebu City, Cebu.
Hours: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM Tuesdays – Sundays
My favorite thing about our homegrown cafes here in Cebu? They’re tucked in little peaceful corners, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Case in point: the lovely Marisse Patisserie. Located at the end of 32 Sanson Road in Lahug, this cafe and pastry shop exists like a cottage inside a faerie ring.
The place is quaint and beautifully decorated. One side of the shop offers a refreshing view of the pool and garden beyond— perfect for when you just want to read a nice book or spend some quality time doodling on a journal.
The best part about Marisse Patisserie is that despite its super fancy look and ambiance, their food and drinks are actually pretty affordable. They have a wide array of delectable cakes that you can pair with some tea or coffee— perfect recipe for a quiet day out with a book if you ask me.
Marisse Patisserie is located at 32 Sanson Road, Lahug, Cebu City
Hours 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Phone: (032) 406 3099
Another interesting thing about cafes and restaurants here in Cebu: most of them are built from old houses or are located in residential villages. One of my favorites from this category is Balai.
Blink and you might miss it: this house-turned-cafe-and-resto is located in a corner just off of busy AS Fortuna in Mandaue. Upon entering, you’ll be welcomed by the warm glow of incandescent bulbs strung along the tree branches. Inside, you’ll find a dimly lit and tastefully decorated area where you can hang out with friends or enjoy a nice paperback in peace.
While Balai isn’t the cheapest places on this list, they do have a delicious variety of filling food, and their drinks are pretty excellent as well.
If you want to treat yourself to good food and a rich, homey vibe, you should definitely check out Balai.
Balai is located at 1 Floremer Subd., AS Fortuna St., Banilad, Mandaue City
Hours 6:00 AM – 10:30 PM
Phone: 0917 582 5009
Want good coffee to go with your current read? You definitely need to check out Tightrope Coffee. I fell in love with this place at first sight. Tucked in a little corner near F. Cabahug, this coffeeshop serves minimalist interiors and a cool, industrial vibe.
And have I mentioned that these kids are serious about their coffee?
For a coffee illiterate like me, watching the baristas do their thing was like watching a science experiment. And yes, it was very cool. Your drinks are prepared in front of you, right atop the shiny black marble counter. The baristas at Tightrope know their business, so if you love coffee, this might be the place for you.
I recorded a podcast here, with Julian from The Creator Life. We talked about what it’s like being a book nerd plus a bunch of other cool and random stuff. If you want to give it a listen, you can check it here.
Tightrope Coffee is located at Pres. M. Quezon St., Cebu City
Hours: 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Phone: (032) 346 9617
Okay, so I might have written off Bicester Cafe as another gimmicky, crowded Gen-Z watering hole when I first heard of it. I thought it was the typical instagrammable place, all hashtags, and no substance.
Boy, was I wrong.
Sure, it’s pretty, but there’s more to it than their oft-photographed neon signs. Bicester is actually a good place to hang out if you want to spend a leisurely afternoon reading, or if you want to treat yourself to a filling brunch. Its modern but comfy interiors make for a really good stay.
Like Balai, this is not the cheapest place in the city, but they do have a nice vibe, a delicious all-day brunch menu served in huge portions, fast WiFi, and get this— lots of electric outlets for you to plug in your device. You could probably write your debut YA novel here if you wanted to.
PRO TIP: Try their Berry with Matcha blended drink. It’s so good!
Bicester Cafe is located at Mahogany Arcade, Pope John Paul II Ave., Kasambagan, Mabolo, Cebu City
Hours 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Phone: 0922 890 1779
These are places that I’ve only heard of but haven’t actually visited. They look pretty cool though, so I thought I’d mention them here. If you’ve checked them out, let me know what you think so I know where to go next! 🙂
Their bright and clean interiors look like a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of Mango Avenue.
A peaceful day spent in the mountains of Cebu? Sign me up.
They look like they’ve got the tastiest pies and sandwiches in town. Me needs a bite.
Business-minded? Love self-help books? This might be the place for you!
I’ve only heard good stuff about Bintana Coffee House. Must hang out here soon!
Aside from serving delicious drinks, Coffeeteria also has its own line of tumblers, metal straws, and drip coffee.
Philosophia Library Cafe
I pass by this establishment every time I head for work. What books do you think they have?
Have You Been To Any Of These Nerd-Friendly Places?
If you’ve noticed, I didn’t include big chains like Starbucks, CBTL, Bo’s, and the like. These places are great, don’t get me wrong, but since they’re very popular, they can get quite crowded as well. Who wants to bump into acquaintances and make awkward eye-contact? Not us!
The cafes and establishments I’ve mentioned above have a few things in common, too: they’re cozy and tucked away from the busy city, they’ve tasty food and drinks, and most importantly, they’re all homegrown. Pretty cool, right? Let’s support our local establishments, nerds.
Have you been to any of these nerd-friendly places? Which one is your favorite? Do you have other suggestions that I missed? Make sure to let me know by leaving a comment below!