Nowhere to Go in Downtown Boston

Earlier this week, my cousin, who is a medical resident in New York City, came to visit my office in Downtown Boston after work. After giving him a quick tour of my office, we thought we’d chat over a cup of coffee. I’m not aware of any locally-owned downtown cafés or coffee shops, so we thought we’d have to settle for a Starbucks. The Starbucks across the street from my office, however, had just closed at 6pm. Although I’d been to the Peet’s Coffee around the corner dozens of times, it wasn’t until I actually tried to go there with my cousin that I realized that they don’t have any seating. We attempted to go to five other similar venues, and they were all either closed or without seating (including an Au Bon Pain right near Downtown Crossing that just has a walk-up counter).

Finally, we settled for a Dunkin’ Donuts that had two tables and was open for another half hour. The staff were busy mopping up and listening to a loud radio that was half-tuned to pure FM static.

I realize Downtown Boston isn’t the most residential area, but aren’t there other people who want to meet up after work at some place other than a bar? Isn’t this supposed to be a world class city? What about all the luxury condominiums that have been built recently in walking distance to the financial district… is it all a fiction?

It’s times like this that I have to admit feelings of New York envy.


  1. Dave Jan 28

    The Blue Diner was a great spot a couple blocks south of South Station. I think it’s now a diner under new management, but still open 24hrs.

  2. Another Matt Jan 28

    If you’re downtown and don’t mind a bit opf walking, there’s always the North End. Or Chinatown, if you’re up for something other than coffee (tea?). But yeah, i certainly hear you on downtown shutting down.

  3. Steve Laniel Jan 28

    It’s not Downtown Crossing, but you could have gone over to Newbury Street: Torrefazione Italia, a block or two down from the Public Garden; or Trident, at the corner of Newbury and Mass. Ave.

  4. Ron Newman Jan 28

    I’m surprised by this post. At 10 pm I could understand it, but at 6 pm there are plenty of places open downtown:

    – Borders Books, at Washington and School streets. Open till 9 pm. This would be my first choice.
    Finagle-a-Bagel at 129 Tremont Street (near Winter St)
    – Bagel Plus Cafe, right next to Finagle on Tremont
    – Starbucks, at Tremont and Boylston
    – the CityPlace food court at the Transportation Building
    – the Quincy Market food court has a Starbucks and a Steve’s Ice Cream

  5. Adam Rosi-Kessel Jan 28


    Thanks for the suggestions. The problem is that I work in the Federal Reserve Building, above South Station, and it was bitterly cold and windy and my cousin did not have any gloves. So we were trying to find a place within 3
    minutes walk… I guess with all the time we spent trying to find some place closer, we could have gone to any of your recommendations.

  6. Ron Newman Jan 28

    Another suggestion: the South Station food court. It’s one of my favorite places for indoor people-watching. It has an Au Bon Pain and Boston Coffee Exchange.

    (Adam and I already exchanged e-mail about this; I’m posting the comment for the benefit of anyone else who happens to land here.)

  7. UG Jan 28

    I am very happy that you and my son, your cousin, are still close. Before you drank from coffee cups together, the two of you drank from sippy cups together. Now one’s a lawyer and one’s a doctor. That proves that sippy cups lead to high achievement.

  8. Matt Jan 28

    I hear you have some really cool big tunnel or something.

    (Just kidding.)

    As for me, I like New York, but I’m still partial to Chicago. We love chatting over coffee, here. Of course, now that I moved to the suburbs, it’s not quite the same..

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