Coffee Shops in Harvard Square

Select Local Merchants

When Harvard and M.I.T. students need a study break, the glowing neon signs of Charlie’s Kitchen guide them to salvation. Usually, that salvation lies in the double cheeseburger—a Charlie’s staple—served with a choice of classic, beer-battered, waffle, or sweet potato fries, or fried green beans. The towering stack of meat is but one favorite from the '50s-style diner's menu. Burgers come in 11 other forms, including the ever-popular double lobster roll, while an entire section devoted to meat-free dishes sates vegetarians. Diners can even pick a live lobster from the tank for an opulent seafood feast. Whether hungry or not, guests can always grab a beer and head upstairs to the lounge, where a jukebox, weekly live music, karaoke, and trivia keeps crowds entertained. They can also savor 18 draft brews in the beer garden, which, like an exhibitionist oyster, stays open year-round.

Charlie’s Kitchen not only invites guests to enjoy nature all year, but also does its part to protect it. Three of its cars run on veggie oil, its dishwasher is solar powered, and it recycles or composts much of its trash.

10 Eliot St
Cambridge,
MA
US

Exposed brick flanks this bi-level Harvard hangout, instilling a warm, homey feel that complements its main draw: pastries baked on-site in a 1,000 square-foot basement kitchen. Pair a cup of joe with an earl-grey cupcake, or make a meal of it with an avocado and sweet-potato sandwich on local Iggy's bread.

27 Brattle St
Cambridge,
MA
US

“It defies logic that one of the beefiest, juiciest, tastiest (and cheapest) burgers in town is, in fact, flat as a pancake,” said Boston Magazine when it named Flat Patties the best affordable burger in Boston. But logic has little to do with it. Chalk up the tenderness, flavor, and juiciness to the freshly ground beef the staff forms in-house every day. And if heft is your thing, you can always order a double. Either way, these thin but flavorful quarter-pound patties were enough to earn not only the nod from Boston Magazine, but _Time Out _ as well—the publication named Flat Patties one of Boston’s best burgers under $10, and recommended the jalapeno- and avocado-studded South of the Border burger. Other specialty burgers come loaded with sautéed mushrooms, smoked tomato jam, and rosemary aioli. And since every burger could use some company, Flat Patties cuts whole potatoes into fries and serves them plain or piled with cheese and chili.

33 Brattle St
Cambridge,
MA
US

In the midst of crimson booths and dark wood tables, the nimble fingers of bustling pastry chefs carefully arrange a medley of sweets atop an open-air dessert stage, their every movement reflected by overhead mirrors to give diners an better view of the decadence they'll soon enjoy. It is this artistic and reverent approach to confections that embodies each dish at Finale Desserterie & Bakery, an upscale sweetness haven initiated by a duo of Harvard Business School graduates. The team crafts each morsel with the grace of a swan's choreographer as they put an inventive spin on classics such as cr?me br?l?e. Although the desserterie specializes in the sweet stuff, savory cravings find satisfaction in salads, pizza, and pasta selections, many of which balance palates with suggested wine pairings.

30 Dunster St.
Cambridge,
MA
US

The best part of getting two amazing pizzas for only 15 bucks is being able to stock up on versatile circular shapes. Pizza—a round bread disc covered with tomato sauce, melted cheese, and edible toppings—is typically reserved for consumption, but with today's deep discount, you can grab an extra pie to use for all your circle needs, including:

1350 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge,
MA
US

Nubar radiates an assured air that comes from the stewardship of three generations of the Guleserian family. Their contemporary approach to classic cuisine manifests itself in seasonal dishes that have included roasted local haddock with saffron and duck breast with cherries and bok choy. Chefs use ingredients from local farms, fisheries, and bakeries to enhance their creations and cut down on the food's jet lag. Nubar's rooftop garden also enriches warm-weather fare with fresh-picked herbs and vegetables.

Set within the confines of the auspicious Sheraton Commander Hotel, Nubar wraps its guests in sleek lines and soothing hues of brown. Behind a bar made entirely of butter-yellow honey onyx, bartenders shake and stir artisanal spirits into classic or modern cocktails. With a cocktail, local beer, or wine glass in hand, patrons can recline on leather ottomans and admire the linear fireplace that separates the lounge from the dining room. Soft light cascades from wide cylindrical lamps and minimalist candelabras that stretch up the wall.

16 Garden Street
Cambridge,
MA
US