Where to get a hot drink fix

Story by David Taintor and Thom Fountain

Racy D’lene’s Coffee Lounge

by David Taintor

Upon graduating college this spring, there are a number of things I’ll fondly remember: singing in the Symphonic Choir, getting to host a radio show on WUEC and, not least of all, Eau Claire’s array of independent coffee shops, chief among them Racy D’ Lene’s.

I know the idea of pitting a coffee shop and a tea café against each other is sort of counterproductive. But it’s worth reflecting on the reasons why Racy’s, and its counterpart, The Nucleus, attract so many students and keep them for their entire duration at UW-Eau Claire.

The main room of Racy’s resembles an “I Spy” book, with aquariums, vintage lamps and couches that probably look like they came straight from your grandparents’ basement. So, pair that with an eclectic soundtrack and a staff of aloof, but friendly, baristas, and you can waste away entire afternoons downing mug after mug. Speaking of the actual coffee, it’s mellower than Starbucks, and Racy’s always offers a choice between their signature dark roast “Racy’s Blend” and a lighter, organic option. At $1.25 for a mug and 50 cents for a refill, it’s easy to afford.

There’s still so much to talk about, and not much space left, so we better move on to the actual menu. After staying up too late on weekends, doing whatever college students do, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been revived by thick slabs of French toast infused with orange zest and dusted with powdered sugar or perfectly prepared eggs and hash browns. Best of all, Racy’s boasts generous hours of operation, and students can often be found there until around midnight.

Infinitea Teahouse

By Thom Fountain

Let me begin by saying I’m a fan of Racy’s. I really am. However, I’m also a fan of live music. When it comes to finding a place to study on a Tuesday night or something to do on a Saturday, Infinitea is the place to go.

Infinitea, which only opened a couple years ago, boasts a massive collection of over 160 different teas from all regions of the world. And it seems every time I visit, they add more.

For only $2.75, you can get a small pot of any of the teas they have, perfect for two people. If you feel overwhelmed by the selection, don’t worry. The owners are friendly and can help you pick exactly what you want.

In its short time in Eau Claire, Infinitea has already become a hotspot for local music. Every Tuesday night the intimate venue hosts live jazz, usually a mix of students from UW-Eau Claire and Memorial High School.

On most weekends Infinitea has live music or performance art. The room is always crowded and energetic. The walls are lined with rotating local art, often by Eau Claire students.

Infinitea is a calm, quiet place to work on homework during the week and an exciting venue on the weekend. It doesn’t hurt that they have great tea.