One of the great pleasures in my life is a good cup of coffee. One of the elements that enhances or detracts from that pleasure is the space in which that cup of coffee is consumed.
I stumbled into the Bohemian Coffee House (1821 North Charles St.) a few months ago just before going on stage next door at the Strand Theater for a play reading. I was immediately struck by the Bohemian's quiet atmosphere - not the inert vibelessness of a place that has trouble drawing customers, but rather the muted yet cheery ambiance of a reading room at a large metropolitan library.
A big part of this warmth has to do with the decor and use of space. The Bohemian is decorated in understated retro-chic, with art deco-style light fixtures over the booths and a vintage record player of the sort that my parents had when they first got married. Although the interior is narrow, the clean lines of the booths, the high ceilings, the hardwood floor, and the light blue walls all contribute to the illusion of more space.
I've been there several times now, and I've always found the staff to be friendly and helpful. The owner of the cafe, which opened in summer of 2009, is a graduate of the Baltimore International Culinary College, and clearly has a good sense of what sort of coffee shop works in this part of Baltimore.