Best Study Spots in Baltimore

The Best Cafes for Drinking Coffee and Pretending You’re Getting Work Done by Lydia Youngman

Want to explore Baltimore but work’s holding you back? Then this article is for you. Here’s a list of Baltimore’s best cafes for staying caffeinated and focusing on work, in descending order from ones that I like to my absolute favorites.

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A corner of Common Ground 

 

(7) Common Ground

Location: Hampden
Coffee: Standard + Unique Flavors
Atmosphere: Cozy/Intimate
Biggest Drawback: Tiny
Hours: 7am – 5pm

In a word, Common Ground is cozy, with wood surfaces, stuffed pillows and olive green walls. It’s a cute classic cafe that serves both coffee and food. There’s a strip of outlets for laptop users out there but overall Common Ground is quite small. During peak hours, it wouldn’t be easy to get a seat for long-term studying.

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Image courtesy of archinect.com

(6) Artifact Coffee

Location: Union Ave (walkable from Hampden)
Coffee: Standard Flavors
Atmosphere: Rustic
Biggest Drawback: Intimidating/Small
Hours: M-F: 7am – 7pm ; S/S: 8am – 7pm

Artifact Coffee is elegant with its rustic stone exterior and round wooden tables. The location is a bit odd–close to Hampden but basically nothing else. Artifact was bustling with activity even during the day on a Wednesday. The biggest drawback for me was the awkward tension between an establishment trying to be both a classy restaurant and a cozy study space. There was one big table with overhead lights and outlets for studying, but it seemed like it would fill up fast.

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The bar at BAMF Cafe 

(5) BAMF Cafe

Location: Station North
Coffee: Standard + Unique Flavors
Atmosphere: Quirky/Stylized
Biggest Drawback: Screens are potentially distracting
Hours: M-Th: 7am – 8pm ; F: 7am – 10 pm ; Sa: 10am – 10pm ; Su 12 noon – 8pm

BAMF is a comic book explosion with quirky coffee flavors named after TV show characters and superheroes. Every booth has an outlet, which is nice for studying. BAMF has big screens projecting movies which might be distracting if you’re really trying to focus. I’ve been to BAMF several times and it’s never been too crowded.

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The backroom at Latte’da

(4) Cafe Latte’da

Location: Fell’s Point
Coffee: Standard + Exotic Flavors
Atmosphere: Quaint/Cozy
Biggest Drawback: Small
Hours: 7am – 5pm

Cafe Latte’da is the most similar to Common Ground in terms of atmosphere. If the dictionary had a picture next to the definition of “coffee shop,” it would be one of the two. Latte’da features oversized leather couches, tiled floors, white Christmas lights, a hodge podge of different styles of artwork on the wall. I was a little underwhelmed by the coffee, but they do have some exotic flavors (like “Pirate’s Booty” with caramel and buttered popcorn flavors). Latte’da has several outlets and a whole back room for studying but is generally pretty small.

red emmas
Image courtesy of yelp.com

(3) Red Emma’s

Location: Station North
Coffee: Standard Flavors
Atmosphere: Alternative/Industrial
Biggest Drawback: Vegan (sorry)
Hours: M: closed ; Tu-Th, Su : 8:30am – 10pm ; Fr/Sa : 8:30am – 11pm

Red Emma’s is one of the most spacious cafes on the list. Even with a bookstore housed in half of the room, it has a bit of a factory feel to it–lots of tables but lots of empty space too. Red Emma’s serves vegan food. Red Emma’s is always pretty busy, but the large number of tables means that finding a seat isn’t that hard.

ceremony
Image courtesy of dailycoffeenews.com

(2) Ceremony

Location: Mount Vernon
Coffee: Standard + Unique Flavors
Atmosphere: Clean/Minimalist/Bright
Biggest Drawback: Lack of outlets
Hours: M-Sa: 6:30am – 8pm ; Su: 8am – 6pm

My professor calls this place the Apple Store of coffee shops: sleek countertops, sunlight streaming in, everything white, glass, or wood. Ceremony is very open. While most cafes have their bars pressed into a corner, Ceremony places it front and center. They even offer coffee-making classes. Ceremony protects its tables from people with laptops during their peak hours which means that finding outlets/not getting blinded by sun streaming in the many windows is sometimes a challenge.

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Image courtesy of baltimoreeats.com

(1) The Bun Shop

Location: Mount Vernon
Coffee: Standard + Unique Flavors
Atmosphere: Moody
Biggest Drawback: A little grungy
Hours: M-Sa: 7am – 3am ; Su: 7am – 12 am

The Bun Shop is a great place to focus because almost everyone there is doing work too. My friend said, “I like that the Bun Shop has high ceilings because it makes everything feel less cramped. When I’m studying, even my mind feels cramped.” The Bun Shop is big, generally crowded, and a dark space. Their iced vietnamese coffee is the best drink on their menu but they also offer interesting assortments of sweet and savory pastries. They’re also open the latest, generally until 3 in the morning.

Honorable mentions: 3 Bean, Koba Coffee, Charmington’s, Dooby’s, and Park Cafe

Dishonorable mentions: Spro and Carma’s–not that they aren’t good! They just aren’t good for studying. Carma’s is really just a place for food and chatting with friends. (They discourage studying.) And Spro is very tiny and doesn’t have wifi.


Lydia Youngman is a writer from Albany, New York. The facts: Irish dancer. Loves working with little kids. Terrible with directions. Fears spiders like Ron Weasley, unless someone else in the room is fears spiders more, then yes, fine she will kill the spider.

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