Coffee runs through the veins of Northampton, a small city located in western Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley. Cafes dot Main Street; caffeine has even seeped into our marketing. “Welcome to Northampton – Where the Coffee is Strong and So Are the Women!” a downtown sign proclaims. Home to women’s college Smith, and close by to Mount Holyoke (my alma mater), Northampton is indeed full of strong women – who all run on Noho’s coffee.
Whether you’re looking for a study spot where you won’t be bothered, shared family-style tables around which to collaborate with friends or colleagues, or creative smoothies and shelves stacked with board games, there’s a coffee shop in my locally-grown- loving city that can meet your needs – even if those needs are vegan, gluten-free, or (gasp!) decaf. Let’s take a look at these 5 great coffee shops in Northampton, MA.
185 Main St.
The Haymarket holds a special place in my heart – it’s where my wife and I went on our first date! The Haymarket’s narrow entryway collects the delicious aromas of coffee and pastries (and maybe a hint of patchouli) and leads to a barista counter and seating space. Head downstairs for a more robust (and fully vegetarian) food menu.
Known especially for their inventive smoothies and juices, the Haymarket recently made news for their “common account” that funds the cafe’s sliding scale menu for those who cannot afford to pay full price. This project was launched to address local issues of hunger, homelessness, and food insecurity with the goal of donations covering 66% of retail prices (which would be enough to cover food and labor costs for the meal). Three months in, donations covered 90%!
269 Pleasant St.
Part of a local family that also includes Amherst Coffee, Greenfield Coffee, and Northampton’s Tart Baking Co., Northampton Coffee boasts spare design that’s bewitching in its minimalism, a multitude of workspace (both collaborative and individual), and a menu of batch-brewed coffees, plus coffee by the cup from their steampunk machine. The passion for quality coffee is evident in the decor, service, and especially the taste. Grab a stool at the window-facing bar if you don’t
want to be bothered.
Level 1, Thornes Marketplace, 150 Main St.
Formerly known as Rao’s, Share’s coffee is roasted locally and a cafe is located on the first floor of Main St. institution Thornes Marketplace. The coffee drinks (which, by the way, are always exactly the right temperature to drink immediately) are complemented with sandwiches and pastries.
This author’s favorite? Their gluten-free chocolate chip cookie. I check to see if they’re in stock every time I pass by! Take a break from shopping and install yourself at one of Share’s nearby tables or bars, primed for foot-resting and people-watching.
1 Market St.
More hipster than hippie and just a smidge newer than its peers on the Noho coffee scene, the first notable thing about the Roost is its industrial-meets- vintage decor (provided by neighbor Sticks & Bricks). Plant tendrils curl around salvaged wine bottles, which double as light shades. Subway tile throughout and an artfully handwritten chalkboard menu make the Roost almost effortlessly Instagrammable.
They’re open for breakfast (I just have to say: breakfast sandwiches on gluten-free waffles), lunch, and dinner. To name just a few recurring special events: bingo, Library Night (when Wifi is turned off and soft music turned on), plenty of board games (send your winner up to the counter on Game Night for a free dessert), pulp slams, karaoke, drink-and- draw, collaging, movie nights, political postcard-writing, and so many more!
60 Masonic St. B
This family-owned espresso bar is a staple in the Northampton caffeine scene. Made-from- scratch sandwiches and pastries (all clearly labeled and color-coded for those who may be trying to avoid gluten or animal products) pair perfectly with the small batch brewed drip coffee.
A multi-roaster cafe, Woodstar buys coffee from small lots whenever possible. The vibrant interior offers mostly two-person tables, and a few nooks in which to tuck yourself if you’re looking for an ideal reading spot. Don’t leave without a loaf of bread!
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