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Sunday, November 28, 2021

A whole “latte” love. Here's some of the best coffee shops in Gainesville.

Patticakes-2.jpg
Patticakes-2.jpg

The first column I ever wrote for The Alligator was about the best libraries on campus. For this column, I would like to expand on my list of “Best of…” But rather than comparing the best on-campus libraries, I’m going to discuss off-campus coffee shops. This is my attempt at a reprise.

Maude’s Cafe. The first place you’ll have to try is Maude’s, located downtown in the heart of Gainesville, near the historic district and Hear Again Records. It has an abundant amount of outdoor seating in a lovely courtyard next to the Hippodrome State Theatre. Inside the cafe are booths and every board game imaginable. If you need to study, Maude’s is a good place to go, but it’s even better for a board game hang out session with friends and food. Speaking of food, Maude’s offers the usual coffee and desserts, as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner items (some of which are vegan). The coffee shop even has a mascot, Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. I’ve yet to figure out why, but I’m not against it. It’s a place that has something for everyone.

Coffee Culture. Like Maude’s, Coffee Culture has an equal Alachua County resident to college student ratio. They both serve as community hangouts, which is nice in such a college-centric town. You never know who you’ll run into at Coffee Culture. It seems like everyone frequents this quaint joint. My freshman year, I was writing late at night in the coffee shop on a weekend, and I happened to be sitting next to psychics. I learned more about reading tarot cards that night than about the assignment I was supposed to be doing, but I’m not complaining. It could come in handy someday.

Patticakes. The next places to try are the oh-so-cute Patticakes, which offer great cupcakes and coffee. There are two locations: one in Bo Diddley Plaza, closer to campus, and another in Haile Plantation. Both locations have the same delicious menu and positive customer service. I spent many afternoons at the Haile location during my high school years because I grew up in Gainesville. I studied for AP tests and wrote FRQs in the cozy corners of the cafe. You should stop by Patticakes next Wednesday evening while you’re at the farmer’s market in Bo Diddley Plaza. You won’t regret it. Get a blended white mocha for me; it tastes like Christmas.

Curia on the Drag. If you’re feeling something a bit more sophisticated, yet still down-to-earth, try Curia on the Drag. Curia offers a wide range of teas and drip coffees, as well as a plethora of vegan dishes. Unlike other coffee shops in Gainesville, there is no shortage of seating at Curia. You have the option to sit inside at the bar or on groovy couches, outside at lovely tables surrounded by greenery or off in a grassy area with benches and an empty bus that has been revamped with seating. Sit in the graffitied bus and feel as though you’re a part of the Magical Mystery Tour or that you’re “On the Road” with Jack Kerouac. Curia on the Drag is a small part of a larger compound. Also located on the premises is the Auk Market, which hosts a regular “indie flea market” that includes a bar and a food truck. Curia is the hipster hotspot of Gainesville.

If you ever feel cramped on UF’s enormous campus, try to get off campus. Plenty of bus routes go downtown, taking you straight to Maude’s and Patticakes. Alternatively, grab a different route to go down 13th Street where Curia can also be accessed by bus. If you’re feeling more leisurely and are able to do so, take a bike ride to any of these spots, and let me know if you’re aware of any new coffee shops around town. I love new atmospheres to write in.

Hannah Whitaker is a UF English sophomore. Her column appears on Mondays.

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