Growing up near Portland, I have always been attracted to the cute cafes that offer real coffee and a cozy atmosphere. Since coming up to school in Orono, I feel I’ve really had to dig to find a place with some good quality coffee that still provides that creative atmosphere. There’s nothing like an aesthetically pleasing area to sit and write/work in. In order of my top favorite cafes to honorable mentions, here are my favorite cozy coffee shops in Bangor/Orono:
- Wicked Brew (Historical District, 173 Park St, Bangor, ME)
During the week I first discovered Wicked Brew, I kid you not, I went there a total of 4 times, and I don’t regret spending a penny. From the creative atmosphere to handmade syrup for coffee, you can’t go wrong. For coffee, I highly recommend a honey rose latte, a peppermint mocha, or my go-to order, a maple cinnamon latte. If a latte isn’t your thing, they have different options for drip coffee, french-pressed, and plenty of different teas (including a homemade chai). If you’re a boba fan, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by their bubble tea options.
As for food, their bagels are handmade every morning, along with all their baked goods. Everything or garlic bagels hit differently on a stressful weekday, and a blueberry muffin will fix your sweet tooth. The sticky bun (ask for it heated), is the best sticky bun I have ever consumed. If you head around for lunch, get a gourmet BLT, and if you’re vegan, don’t fret, they have multiple options for you as well. The best part, there’s no upcharge for plant-based milk, as it should be! To wrap this review up, if you go at the right time, you may even meet Hazel, the sweet cafe mascot.
- Bagel Central (33 Central Street, Bangor, ME)
Ah, the classic. Bagel Central has it all – a nice atmosphere, excellent bagels, and low prices. The one downfall would be its limited options when it comes to coffee. They have drip and iced, but no espresso machines, which puts a damper on their options. My go-to order at Bagel Central consists of a blueberry bagel with strawberry cream cheese. If I’m craving something savory, I go for the herb bagel with their olive cream cheese.
- The Grind House (1 Central Street, Bangor, ME)
The Grind House steps up their game in terms of food and coffee, yet they’re a bit more costly than Bagel Central. Their atmosphere is nice, right on the corner in downtown Bangor. Their food is excellent, and I highly recommend their “Piggie Smalls” sandwich and their brown sugar cinnamon cappuccino.
- Nest (24 Main Street, Orono, ME)
Everyone knows Nest. Super close to campus, an adorable interior, it’s perfect for a local study session. I’m a big fan of their ham and cheese croissants, and if I have a free $12 to spend, I go for their black bear smoothie bowl. Their iced Thai tea is my go-to drink, or a plain oat milk cappuccino.
- The Store Ampersand (22 Mill Street, Orono, ME)
This place is a hidden gem despite being so close to campus. Although it seems to just be a small store, it also has a hefty coffee menu and wonderful baked goods. Although they don’t have seating, their coffee is good enough to just grab and go. I recommend any espresso drink (they have a bunch of flavor combos), and a giant chocolate chip cookie, it will brighten up any day. In addition, you can find cute Maine-made gifts, treats, and more in this cute stop. The Store Ampersand will give you all the cozy hometown feels.
Next time you think about going to Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, or Aromas, consider shopping local and supporting these businesses.