If you've been reading HTJL for some time and have followed us on, well, ANY of our trips, you know that damn near every day we make a pit stop at a coffee shop. And I must have gotten old AF, because I definitely prefer them to bars. Whenever someone suggests getting drinks to catch up, I inwardly groan because these days, I prefer lattes and morning to booze and evening (a.k.a. PJ + sofa time).
I haven't gotten much traveling in lately, so I figured now is as good a time as any for a little Baltimore Hometown Guide.
Since I work at my real job from home, when I want to get some work done on my many side hustles, lately I've gotten very into parking myself in a cozy corner of a coffee shop instead of staying home. Otherwise, let's face it, Netflix and naps are likely to steal me away from productivity.
Happily, Bmore has a handful of really great places, both new and old. The only thing I reeeeally can't stand is the fact that my own neighborhood, Canton, really doesn't have much in the way of good independent cafes. Correct me if I'm wrong, my Cantonese friends, but as far as I know, there are three Starbucks in walking distance from my apartment, and a whopping ONE non-Starbucks in Firehouse Coffee, and that's on the Square, and let's face it, my days of being 22 and messing with the O'Donnell Square are long since over.
Here are my favorite spots:
3 BEAN COFFEE (FEDERAL HILL)
I'm not sure I've ever ranted about Federal Hill on here. I mean, I must have, because shitting on Federal Hill is practically part of my identity at this point. I'll give you the cliff notes version though -- it's full of bros and there's no parking, and what parking is available is limited by multiple-paragraph signs telling you when and how to park there, and I've gotten more parking tickets in this neighborhood than any other in the entire city.
This should tell you how good 3 Bean is. It is so good, it's my No. 1 go-to in Baltimore, even though as previously mentioned, I live in Canton, and to go from Canton to Fed Hill feels like going from NYC to LA.
OK, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but if you're a Baltimorean, you know what I mean. We tend to stay on our own respective side of the pond (harbor). But 3 Bean is cozy, friendly, and warm, they have good food, and they have a killer Nutella latte.
DAILY GRIND (FELLS POINT)
Out of all the coffee shops listed here, Daily Grind has the best and most extensive menu. They have a lox sandwich that rivals that of THB (an actual bagel place, for those of you who don't know). They're also one of the first coffee shops in my memory to leave simple syrup out for you.
THIS IS A MUST, PEOPLE. Seriously, you cannot serve iced coffee and keep the simple syrup with the baristas only. Sugar DOES NOT DISSOLVE in iced coffee. I've ranted about this so many times that Scott made a travel-sized simple syrup for me to carry in my purse. I'm not kidding. But if places took their cue from Daily Grind, I wouldn't have to go to such lengths.
COMMON GROUND (HAMPDEN)
Throughout this illustrious career of mine, I've had two jobs in Hampden which means I've taken many a trip to Common Ground. It's as hipstery as hipsterly possible, but/and I love it.
As far as I'm concerned, Common Ground has the best chai latte in Baltimore, AND they carry Zeke's Coffee. Pro tip: If you, like me, do not have a coffee grinder, you can buy Zeke's here by the pound and they will grind it for you because they are nice hipsters, not mean hipsters.
This one holds a special place in my heart, and you can find me here if I ever need to run an errand or go to an appointment in Hampden.
CEREMONY COFFEE (HARBOR EAST)
OK, I've only been here once, and I have not been to the Mount Vernon location, but based on those:
I will go back.
This is not the coziest spot. If you take your work there, it'll be more like working in a very sleek Apple store that also has high-end coffee. But I'm not going to go so far as to call that a disadvantage. In fact, it's a beautiful spot with beautiful pastries (as you can see).
Also they have wine slushies.
ARTIFACT COFFEE (WOODBERRY/HAMPDEN)
TBH, I've never worked from Artifact, but I really really like it, so it's getting a listing. It comes to us from those who brought us Woodberry Kitchen, and you know I love my Woodberry Kitchen.
What does this mean? It means A-plus noms, an impeccably rustic interior, and beautiful hipsters.
Unlike some of the other spots listed, this is a sit-down-and-get-served place, but you can also go to the counter and order drinks like maple lattes to go.
Um, plus did I mention the food?
CUNNINGHAM'S BAKERY + CAFE (TOWSON)
A month or two ago, I had a number of appointments in Towson. I knew I had some time to kill between appointments, so I brought my work with me and crowdsourced Towson coffee shops on Facebook. Cunningham's popped up multiple times, so I chose it and I fell in love.
Seriously, I wouldn't typically put a non-city spot on one of these lists, BUT YOU GUYS, IT'S LITERALLY THE BEST OF THEM ALL. Look at the sheer size of that chocolate croissant! And the butter! Forget being able to taste the butter in your pastries -- you can SMELL it.
That right there is another Nutella latte, but I've also fallen hard for the London Fog there (an Earl Grey latte with vanilla syrup), and the food. Of all of these, it is the truest bakery, which means amazing pastries, breads, and biscuits (try the chive and cheddar). I desperately, DESPERATELY want Cunningham's to open a location in the city. Towson is too far for me to get a fix as often as I need it!
So...there are some I missed, some I skipped (I didn't want to shit on any local businesses, but I'm open to some healthy debate). Which are your favorites?