Cafe Solstice

Cafe Solstice is distinctly collegiate—but not Animal House collegiate, mind you. The scene is far too intellectual for that. Yet it's not a quiet library of studious, solitary minds, either. In short, it's everything college can and should be: The air is thick with passionate dialogue and emotive hands; learners young and old expound on the principles of biochemistry or Nietzsche over generous slices of lemon-poppyseed bread ($2) and equally generous quantities of caffeine; rustic tomato-basil soup ($3.50) and crispy grilled-cheese sandwiches on sourdough ($3.95) provide sustenance for conversational exertion; and graduate students wind down from the intensity of academia with a glass of Kiona cabernet/merlot or Fat Bastard chardonnay ($5/glass). The dark wooden floors and mismatched furniture, accented by local art and pea-green walls, house a thriving community of thinkers, talkers, and typers. (Alas, though laptops are the accessory of choice, there's no wi-fi to be had.) After a winter of minimal entertainment, weekends at Solstice deliver a sprinkling of live belly-dancing, local music, and tango. 4116 University Way N.E., 206-675-0850 UNIVERSITY DISTRICT

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