I was really excited when I first went inside Far Coast, the "independent-looking" coffee shop on Bloor and St. Thomas St, just east of University Avenue. Granted, it did belong to Coca-Cola, but man was it clean and bright in there. Coffee was good too, but above all, the 2nd floor was PERFECT for studying. Not too quiet to put you to sleep while studying, but uuiet enough for you to focus on what you wanted to do, and bright enough with large windows so you don't feel you're imprisoned and being suffocated at one of U of T's libraries (Robarts in particular).
Alas, the place was closed down a couple of months ago (someone told me Coca-Cola's moving it to the CN Tower??!?!), and I'm in search of a nice coffee shop for me to study in. The Lettieri in Cumberland looks nice but is too small and waaay too crowded. Tim Hortons on Yonge (just north of bloor) sucks, but the Second Cup (or was it Starbucks??) right beside it is OK (though I despise both chains, and in particular, their coffees).
So, any idea where a student can hit up some nice coffee shop to study at?
PS. I was in Halifax for more than a year while doing my Masters, and they had so many independent coffee shops over there that now makes me want to cry in Toronto. They were nice too: good coffee, nice furniture, great snacks and desserts, quiet, etc. Yesterday evening, Chuck Swirsky/Leo Rautins (the voice of the Toronto Raptors and the analyst sitting beside him) were saying how much Toronto is like a European city... YA RIGHT!