Baltimore’s Best Places to Escape When You’re Sick of Writing At Home: A Comprehensive List Curated by Michelle Junot

Baltimore, home to a rich literary community, does not disappoint when it comes to options for local cafes and book havens. Whether you’re a freelancer with an hour to kill between client meetings or a full-time professional trying to fit writing into the cracks of your schedule (so you can finally get that book published so your family stops using air quotes when they tell people you’re a “writer”) or somewhere in-between, Baltimore has a spot for you. 

We polled local writers and did a bit of research ourselves (read: drank lattes, looked for outlets, and judged background music) to create this list of top places to write in Baltimore.

Artifact Coffee

LOCATION: Woodberry

WHAT TO EXPECT: parking lot + indoor and outdoor seating + try mornings or late afternoons + laptop friendly + gluten free and vegetarian options available + Counter Culture Coffee

WHAT YOUR WALLET CAN EXPECT: $$

Located in Union Mill in Woodberry, Spike Sjerde’s Artifact boasts a full coffee bar, spirits, and food that is somehow simultaneously elegant and comforting.

Writers love this spot for early morning meetings or afternoon solo sessions, but you’ll have a hard time finding a seat during lunch and weekend brunch. It should also be noted that this is on the pricier side for the typical writer’s budget, so you’ll want to save it for especially crushing literary (or personal) rejections, days right after payday, or clearly tax-deductible meetings.

Find out more at their website here.

The George Peabody Library

LOCATION: Mt. Vernon

WHAT TO EXPECT: Indoor seating + spacious + best for quiet/solo writing + laptop friendly 

WHAT YOUR WALLET CAN EXPECT: free

Hidden near some of Mt. Vernon’s most cherished places—the Washington Monument, the Walters Art Museum, and the Enoch Pratt Central Library—the breathtaking George Peabody Library is housed within the Peabody Institute of Music. To simply say this space is beautiful is like saying the Hon Bar has a lawn flamingo: it’s an inadequate description. The Stack Room was designed by Edmund G. Lind and comprises of six floors of books with five tiers of ornate columns, arches, and cast-iron balconies. The library opened in 1878 and holds more than 300,000 titles including many that date all the way back to 18th century.

If you need to grab fuel before you sit down, check out one of the many Mt. Vernon cafes: Ceremony Coffee on Park, Doobies on Charles, The Room on St. Paul, Baby’s on Fire on Morton St., or City Café on Cathedral.

(Please note that this venue is so gorgeous, you may actually be distracted by your own daydreaming of future events you’d like to host in the space. That may lead to you looking up venue costs that in turn may cause you to lament your writer-life that brought you to the space in the first place. It’s a beautiful, terrible loop, so try to stay on task.)

Find out more at their website here.

___

R-House

LOCATION: Remington

WHAT TO EXPECT:  indoor and outdoor seating + spacious + great for solo writing and collaboration + laptop friendly + street and validated parking available

WHAT YOUR WALLET CAN EXPECT: $$

This popular new spot in the heart of Remington has everything you need for a long stay: a coffee shop, a bar, plenty of comfortable seating, tacos, dessert, outlets for your laptop, shuffleboard, and did we mention the bar? While you may want to avoid happy hour if you need a quiet space and a bit of isolation, almost any other time you’ll be able to find a comfortable spot to write in this open food court. If the weather is nice, try one of the chairs near the open garage doors or head straight out to the patio.

Vendors include Stall 11, Arba, White Envelope, BRD, Hilo, Amano Taco, Ground & Griddled, BeBim, Blk//Sugar, along with r.bar and a rotating pop-up bar that changes a couple times a month.

If you’re on a tight budget, this may not be a consistent favorite. Still, the space and sheer number of options make this one worth trying.

Find out more at their website here.

___

The Bun Shop

LOCATION: Mt. Vernon

WHAT TO EXPECT: best late-night writing spot in Baltimore + indoor seating + spacious + great for solo writing + laptop friendly

WHAT YOUR WALLET CAN EXPECT: $

Easily Baltimore’s best late-night writing spot, the Bun Shop (at it’s Mt. Vernon location on Read Street) is a staple of Baltimore’s literary community. Besides a front door that sticks and is somewhat embarrassing to try to open if you don’t know the trick (pull, press down, then push), this place is an introvert’s haven. It’s a quiet and somewhat-dim space with large common tables, a few couches scattered throughout, and a large piano in the front window that no one tries to play. There are also extension cords strewn across the floors to each table inviting all to charge up, hang out, and grab a cup of something hot alongside a fresh bun.

Find out more at their website here.

___

Ceremony Coffee

LOCATION: Harbor Point (also an original location in Mt. Vernon, pictured above)

WHAT TO EXPECT: A view of the Harbor + brand new spot + indoor seating + spacious + great for solo writing or collaborative work + laptop friendly

WHAT YOUR WALLET CAN EXPECT: $$

The second of two locations in Baltimore, this brand new location of Ceremony Coffee in Harbor Point is spacious, modern, and stimulating. The staff are friendly and the menu includes coffee cocktails if you’re interested in breaking away from the classics. Seating is similar to that of the other Ceremony locations, with lots of wood, pendant lighting, and open air space. With a view of the harbor on a relatively quiet piece of town since it’s still being developed. Street and garage parking available. It’s a large space with light music playing in the background

Find out more at their website here.

___

Pitango Bakery + Cafe

LOCATION: Fells Point

WHAT TO EXPECT: on the water + indoor and outdoor seating + spacious + great for solo writing or collaboration + laptop friendly + delicious sweets + street parking

WHAT YOUR WALLET CAN EXPECT: $

If you’re looking for sweets and waterfront as well as great coffee, check out Pittango Bakery and Café. The café is large and spacious and full of natural light. Located on Ann street next to the harbor, you have a clear view of the water (and runners if you’re into that thing) from almost any seat inside or outside. With the occasional 90s music playlist in the background, beautiful pastries in the case, and friendly staff, this is clearly one of the best writing spots in the city.

Find out more at their website here.

___

Spro Coffee

LOCATION: Hampden

WHAT TO EXPECT: distraction free + indoor and outdoor seating + great for solo writing + vegan options

WHAT YOUR WALLET CAN EXPECT: $

If you’re looking for a no-nonsense place to sit down and focus, Spro Coffee in Hampden is your place. This humble setting makes no apologies for its lack of wifi or background music. It does coffee—and does it well—and has friendly baristas and staff. If it’s a nice day, check out the back patio garden. You’ll feel like you’ve found a secret hideaway within the city limits. And when you’re done, you can reward yourself for a distraction-free writing session with Dylan’s Oysters, ice cream from the Charmery, or tacos from the Golden West walk-up.

Find out more at their website here.

___

CUPs

LOCATION: Broadway East

WHAT TO EXPECT:  community-focused + indoor and outdoor seating + great for solo writing +street parking + Zeke’s Coffee

WHAT YOUR WALLET CAN EXPECT: $

CUPs isn’t your average neighborhood coffee shop; it’s a place for and of the neighborhood. The employees are youth interns who receive training and mentoring while they work in the café. The small café also hosts Family Nights on the second Monday of each month throughout the summer from 6 to 8 p.m. These are opportunities for the community to share a meal and fellowship together. Not only is the coffee shop affordable, the atmosphere feels more like that of a home—sometimes quiet, sometimes a little boisterous, but always warm and welcoming.

Find out more at their website here.

___

Dovecote Café

LOCATION: Reservoir Hill

WHAT TO EXPECT: indoor and outdoor seating + beautiful setting + great for solo writing or collaboration + laptop friendly

WHAT YOUR WALLET CAN EXPECT: $

From the moment you walk into Dovecote, you’ll love it. The colorful furniture—inside and out—and the huge wall murals create an easy-going environment that’s warm, inviting, and inspiring. Every seat offers a different view and interaction with the space, but the entire environment encourages you to sit and engage with the people around you. Up by the register you’ll also find a shelf full of books by local authors. The friendly staff will help you pick your perfect “shade” of coffee, and you can’t go wrong with any of the food on the menu.

Find out more at their website here.

___


Belvedere Square Market

LOCATION: Chinquapin Park – Belvedere

WHAT TO EXPECT: indoor and outdoor seating + spacious + great for solo writing or collaboration + laptop friendly

WHAT YOUR WALLET CAN EXPECT: $

Belvedere Square Market provides an ideal environment for writers looking to spend a few hours working on a project on a weekday or weekend morning. The Atwater’s coffee bar has an outlet at every seat if you’re working from a laptop that needs a little boost, and the baristas make a close-to-perfect latte with Counter Culture Coffee that will give you a boost as well. There are plenty of food and drink options—Atwater’s, Grand Cru, Ceriello Fine Foods, Neopol Savory, Tooloulou, and more—to keep you full while you’re working. Just be sure you pick one of the other top spots to write if you’re looking to work on Friday afternoon or evening—Belvedere Square Market hosts an outdoor concert series each Friday night until September 8.

Find out more at their website here.

___

Red Canoe

LOCATION: Beverly Hills / Hamilton

WHAT TO EXPECT: best late-night writing spot in Baltimore + indoor seating + spacious + great for solo writing + laptop friendly

WHAT YOUR WALLET CAN EXPECT: $

This part-café, part-children’s bookstore is a neighborhood favorite. The space feels more residential than commercial and features three rooms of available space. Whether you’re on your way to work or trying to finish that lingering essay on your lunch break, you’ll find a spot at the Red Canoe to get your work done. Grab a cup of Zeke’s coffee, browse the beautiful children’s books for sale, and be sure you try one of the homemade muffins or pastries.

Find out more at their website here.

___

3 Bean Coffee

LOCATION: FedHill

WHAT TO EXPECT: indoor seating + great for solo writing + laptop friendly + Counter Culture Coffee + small library for patrons + street parking

WHAT YOUR WALLET CAN EXPECT: $

Convenient to Fed Hill and Downtown neighborhoods, 3 Bean Coffee is a great spot to spend an early morning or late afternoon while you wait out the nightmare that is Baltimore traffic. The space has an interesting modern take on an industrial aesthetic with exposed brick, pendant lighting, and exposed ductwork. The staff are some of the friendliest in the city and the menu includes both vegan options (granola bars made in-house) as well as mini Dangerously Delicious pies. While most of the space is made of common tables and bar space, there’s a small nook in the back of the room with arm chairs and a mini-library for patron use.

Find out more at their website here.

___

Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse

LOCATION: Station North

WHAT TO EXPECT: evening hours + indoor seating + neighborhood-focused + lots of vegan options + spacious + great for solo writing and collaboration + laptop friendly

WHAT YOUR WALLET CAN EXPECT: $

Red Emma’s has become a staple in the Station North community, not just for being an important part of the literary community, but a leader in the large Baltimore community as a whole. This community-focused bookstore and coffeehouse is located just north of Penn Station, MICA, and University of Baltimore. The space has a large, open warehouse feel but still accomplishes a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The menu has many vegan options and the walls display the work of local authors and photographers. When you stop in, be sure to check out the “pay it forward” option at the cash register where you can buy a cup of soup or coffee or a BLT for someone else.

Find out more at their website here.

___

Enoch Pratt Central Library

LOCATION: Mt. Vernon

WHAT TO EXPECT: indoor seating + spacious + best for quiet/solo writing + laptop friendly

WHAT YOUR WALLET CAN EXPECT:  free

Although currently under construction, the Enoch Pratt Central Library is still an excellent option for writers and freelancers to set-up shop. The library is spacious with tables and study carols throughout the building. There’s beauty in the history of the space—even with the construction—that facilitates an energy and creativity you only find when surrounded by rows and rows of books by the world’s writers. If you’re not close to the central branch, check out the neighborhood library closest to you.

Find out more at their website here.

___

Bird in Hand

LOCATION: Charles Village

WHAT TO EXPECT: Charles Village + indoor seating + great for solo writing + laptop friendly + Counter Culture Coffee + bookstore + street parking

WHAT YOUR WALLET CAN EXPECT:  $

In Charles village and on the edge of Johns Hopkins’ campus, Bird in Hand is a café-bookshop you need to check out. With parents like Artifact Coffee and The Ivy Bookshop, this reading and writing haven won’t disappoint. If the weather is nice, be sure to grab a cup of counter culture coffee and a delicious pastry to enjoy on the patio. If you’re looking for inspiration for your work, check out their collection of local authors or attend one of their literary events. Bird in Hand plays host to the Starts Here Reading Series hosted by Jen Michalski and Readings with Ralphie, a reading series hosted by Rafael Alvarez.

Find out more at their website here.

___

Author Michelle Junot is a writer, copy editor, and designer living in Baltimore, Maryland. She was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana. During the day, she works to at University of Baltimore, and in the evening, she teaches graphic design to promising writers. She also drinks a lot of wine (but not while teaching). Michelle is the author Notes From My Phone* a self-portrait in her twenties, and of and the floor was always lava, a collection of essays exploring childhood and memory. Her writing has been published in Welter, Industry Night, The Avenue, Reject,  and Baltimore STYLE.Michelle earned her M.F.A in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts from University of Baltimore and her B.A. in Communication and Dance from Centenary College of Louisiana.

Photos courtesy of each institution.