Other Spots Where There's a Definite Buzz

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

· La Taza Coffeehouse (407-B Monticello Rd.). In Belmont, the up-and-coming neighborhood just over the tracks from downtown, owner Melissa Easter has combined her interest in South and Central American causes and commerce, including fair-trade coffee, with an unbeatable fair-weather patio and a flair for offbeat furniture and smile-inducing decor. And a decent breakfast and lunch menu. And (almost forgot) espresso drinks done well.

· Starbucks (1601 University Ave.). Here at the Corner, the Storefront from Seattle is crowded and the renovated upstairs is a decent place for studying. The WiFi, however, is not free, and your barista has apparently graduated. Again.

· Fox Park Coffee Bar (1325 W. Main St.). Starbucks's newest competition at the Corner is bright and friendly and has free WiFi. Coffee drinks: very good.

· Tea Bazaar (414 E. Main St.). A life-size tree sculpture by artist Rose Csorba greets you at the top of the stairs, then: more than 40 kinds of tea, a hookah bar, a vegetarian menu, an irregular concert and poetry slam schedule, and an endearing, cross-generational hippie vibe. Everything but . . . you know. "Yes. We say no to coffee," smiles owner Gwendolyn Hall, who just bought the place.

· Milano (406 W. Main St.). Best thing about this gelato/espresso bar, besides its dark Italian roast coffee, is the upstairs deck, which offers a free wireless connection to both the Internet and the sun.

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