Atomic Bean Café
904 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
7 a.m. — 7 p.m.
Weekends open 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
When I need a thoroughly non-MIT place to escape to, Atomic Bean Café is one of my favorite places ever. Tooling may be a way of life but I too, need my regular dose of free WiFi, delicious espresso, and even ridiculous pastries made with kale.
Right down Mass. Ave., in Atomic Bean Café you’re as likely to find people working on their laptops as you are to find chatting with the person next to them. Low-key, the background music consists almost exclusively of bands with two names (e.g. Belle and Sebastian), animal names (Grizzly Bear), or names that make no sense (Passion Pit).
What sucked me in here? A chocolate and rhubarb croissant. I didn’t know what rhubarb was either, but Google and my own taste buds quickly informed me that rhubarb is 1) a tart vegetable that is often categorized as a fruit and 2) a delicious complement to chocolate. Since then, I’ve tried a different croissant almost every time I have been there. Special treatment received upon ordering such a pastry includes: toasting it in a panini press, slices of freshly cut pineapple, and deliciously ironic glares from a cashier who looks like the offspring of April Ludgate and Ron Swanson of Parks and Recreation.
What really sets this place apart is the atmosphere. It feels more hipster than Flour, more laid back than Voltage, more relaxed than Tatte. While I love these places all very dearly in their own way, I’ll come to Atomic Bean Café when I need to crank out an essay on my laptop, decide to free-write and reflect eloquently on my life (750words.com is fantastic for this), or sip tea and pretend I’m working while actually catching up on the latest episode of Suits.
Highlights: any of the pastries made with kale — really. Vietnamese coffee.
Staples: chai tea latte, clam chowder, the bacon egg and cheddar pastry.
Good for: writing, coding, catching up on emails, and impressing wannabe hipster friends.