I walk by Pavement every time I go to work, and I?ve wanted to check it out for a while. So this past Sunday, I took the half hour I had before work to grab a coffee, much needed for the following shift, and get a first impression of the place.
What first came to mind was a grown-up Espresso Royale. While Espresso Royale comes off a little too strongly for me, like an adolescent needing to prove himself with his ?alternative? music and strong beliefs in organic fair trade, Pavement seemed to have matured into itself and settled into comfortable confidence. The music was by no means mainstream, but it was muted and in the background; local artists were on display, but as a complement to the coffeehouse and not a focal point; the food and coffee there were often organic and fair trade, but more as an assumed default rather than a radical statement.
What cemented this idea in my head was the composition of the?clientele. The coffeehouse was able to attract just about everyone: Berklee kids, Northeastern kids, students, parents, ?dudes,? and slightly-past-middle-age aspiring writers like the gentleman sitting next to me. The staff seemed knowledgeable, if somewhat spaced out, and their tea list (my personal bellwether, as it is what I know best) was respectable. They had a variety of fares from your standard drip coffee to espresso drinks, tea, sandwiches and salads.
I was somewhat pressed for time, and only had coffee. I had what was called ?Spanish Latte,? with which I was unfamiliar, which is a standard latte using condensed milk instead of whole milk. It was well prepared, delicious, had beautiful foam art, and the barista was kind enough to explain to me what it was ? without judgment, no less.
The prices were unsurprising: $2 for your standard drip coffee, and up to $4 for espresso drinks (mochas and such). No more than you would pay at Starbucks, and makes up for the money you lost by not going to Dunkin? Donuts by providing you with a great environment in which to enjoy your drink. The food was priced along the lines of Panera, and the quality looked significantly better.
As far as drawbacks, there were just a few: dirty tables (mostly crumbs), dirty windows, and the staff were in no hurry to fix either, nor were they in a hurry to make the coffee. Overall these did not detract significantly, especially since I was not in a rush.
If you?re into the cafe scene and looking for new places to check out, I highly recommend it. Be sure you have some time to devote, to enjoy the coffee/tea/food as well as the very pleasant coffeehouse vibe.
Category: Boston, featured, Food and Travel