The latest installment of Metro Boston’s Best Coffee Clusters is back with a spotlight on Central Square, Cambridge.
But first, if you have no idea what a coffee cluster is, you can find out why every writer needs one here TOP TEN REASONS WHY COFFEE CLUSTERS ARE A WRITER’S BEST FRIEND.
Four writer-friendly cafes make Central Square a writer’s haven. It’s T accessible, Red Line to Central Square, and has several parking lots with meters that accept credit cards. Check out their locations here.
1. 1369 – 757 Massachusetts Ave. Hours: M-T 7am – 10 pm, F 7am-11pm, S 8am – 11pm, Sun 8am – 10
1369 is a great writer’s café with an excellent working vibe. The owners want it to be “your third place” – the spot you head to when you’re not at work or home “to read, hang out, meet friends, or get some work done.” The crowds here suggest that a lot of people have taken them up on their offer. 1369 sells good coffee, amazing baked goods, sandwiches and soups. Power outlets are plentiful and the first forty-five minutes of wifi is free. Look for the password on the counter next to the cash register.
1369’s one drawback is its popularity. The cafe is a long, narrow space with lines of small tables and chairs that fill up fast – which would be a serious problem if there wasn’t another excellent writer-friendly café near by. Luckily, Andala is only a few blocks away.
2. ANDALA – 286 Franklin St. HOURS: M- Sun 8am-11pm
If you’re a morning writer, you might want to start your day here. Andala is less crowded and a lot calmer than 1369 in the morning. The first floor is made up of several cozy seating areas with warm colors, oriental carpets and soft lighting.
There’s additional seating downstairs with old stone and brick walls. The Arabic coffee and fresh Arabic food are both excellent. Plugs are harder to find here but the internet is free and there’s an outside patio in the summer.
3. STARBUCKS — 655 Massachusetts Ave. HOURS: M-T 5:30am-9pm, F 5:30am-10pm, S & S 6am – 9pm
If you can’t find a seat at 1369 or Andala, a medium-sized Starbucks sits on the corner of Prospect and Mass Ave. just down the street. Two walls of floor-to-ceiling windows right on the square make it a great people watching location. If you’re having character trouble, need to figure out a unique gesture or walk for your protagonist, this is the place to be. Starbucks always has free wifi and this store’s wifi seems to work more reliably than others’.
4. AU BON PAIN – 684 Massachusetts Ave. HOURS: M-F 6am-9pm, S & S, 7am-7pm
If you’re writing about homelessness, poverty or mental illness, then Central Square’s Au Bon Pain is the café for you. Otherwise it can be a pretty depressing place frequented by more than the average number of down-on-their-luck patrons. However, on busy weekend afternoons when every other café is full, I’ve been thrilled to find a seat here. Au Bon Pain has plenty of room, free (slow) wifi, lots of power outlets, serviceable food and outdoor seating in the summer.