Dickens Coffee and Tea Room hosts authentic British afternoon tea services in a whimsical and refined storefront led by a Welsh proprietor. Elaborate tea settings crown floral tablecloths, incorporating mismatched but complementary china depicting elegant patterns, lush flowers, or Welcome Back Kotter’s quadricentennial. Tiered silver stands stack individual noshes, beginning with a base of ham, cucumber and cream cheese, and egg-salad sandwiches made with local eggs, all spread upon specialty bread imported from Britain. Middle tiers teem with homemade cakes and pastries, and scones await slatherings of jam and cream on their perch atop the tea summit. Steaming pots of tea pour into delicate cups, complementing every sweet or savory Anglophilic bite. While sipping, patrons can fix their eyes on a stately wall mural portraying a Victorian street scene of storefronts, horse-drawn carts, and Dickens besting Thackeray at fisticuffs.
One of the largest locally owned gourmet coffee and tea shops in the U.S., Barnie's offers more than 50 different gourmet coffees with 15 delectable flavors. Barnie's typically brews four different fresh coffees each day, and a ballroom of smoothies and lattes waltzes alongside mochas, espressos, and cappuccinos. Sit and sip a freshly brewed cup ($1.59+) or begin hoarding bags of pre-ground or whole-bean specialties such as Santa's White Christmas ($9.49/12 oz.)—a combination of Barnie's blended coffee with hints of coconut, sweet caramel, and vanilla guaranteed to keep you alert during the season when homes are most vulnerable to invasion by diabolically generous bearded elves. Recently unfrozen British cavemen can warm up with signature teas such as organic raspberry truffle and white-ginger peach, while all others can hose down tongue gardens with summer specials such as the Barnie Palmer ($2.29–$2.59), a blend of strawberry iced tea and mango lemonade.
Steeping each of its locations in colonial Boston-style interior design, Boston Coffeehouse serves a modern slew of specialty drinks, deli-fresh fare, and all-day breakfast items. For starters, munch on mango salsa salad, a leafy medley of mango salsa, dried cranberries, almonds, onions, and cucumbers slathered with mandarin ginger dressing ($5.89). Tender rotisserie chicken—served with baby arugula greens, red onions, and sun-dried tomato mayo on a pretzel bun—mollycoddles midday masticators ($6.50), and a french toast breakfast panini eases groggy taste buds awake after a long night or an afternoon nap with fresh egg, cheese, and ham sandwiched between slices of french toast ($3.50). Pair your choice of various Danish pastries, muffins, or croissants ($1.75) with a 12-ounce espresso ($1) or a specialty drink such as the Yankeedoodle, a mocha-based coffee concoction that features caramel, hazelnut, and macaroni feathers ($2.75/12-ounce), or the Nutty Irish Lady, which starts with espresso and expands into a whipped cream-topped comfort drink with flavors of cherry, Irish crème, and hazelnut ($2.75/12-ounce).
The vibe at Sleeping Moon Cafe suits many personalities as it transitions from a quiet, low-key café to a venue where local musicians can share their tunes. During the sunshiny hours of the day, the dining room serves as the perfect spot to get work done. Guests can sip on Italian sodas or Americanos as they study, or balance typing with eating vegan burgers or ham-and-apple paninis. As the day goes on, guests begin to socialize more. Friends talk as they share appetizers such as the stuffed grape leaves or slices of gala apples served with Nutella. But as the first band of the evening begins to play, the mood shifts to a more mellow tone. Musicians strumming guitars, artwork hanging on the walls, and dim lighting create the ideal backdrop for dates, or hiding the fact that you're wearing the same fruit hat as someone else.
At Smart Coffee HD, each new season brings new batches of java from fair-trade cooperatives around the world. The shop's baristas incorporate those environmentally conscious blends into classic beverages like cappuccinos and frappes, though they happily steep herbal teas and craft fruit smoothies, too. Cooks, meanwhile, assemble local, organic ingredients into house-made comfort foods, from veggie wraps stuffed with portabella mushrooms and sautéed onions to homemade buttermilk biscuits topped with ham, egg, and cheddar cheese. Desserts and pastries from Dimples Delights end meals on sweet notes, while days at Smart Coffee HD end… well, whenever. Rather than keep a set closing time, the staff hangs around until the last guest is done surfing free the Wi-Fi or assigning a name to each of their newly purchased coffee beans.
Stowed away in big glass jars, nearly 100 different types of teas fill the shelves of Tea and Tea. The staff crafts hot, iced, and blended drinks, such as a roasted mate drink with notes of sweet caramel. Guests can pair their cups with fresh pastries and baked goods while they catch up on work using the shop's free wifi and numerous outlets. Tea and Tea also welcomes local artists and musicians to share their talents during biweekly Center Stage events.