By: Miranda Babbit
Oh, Valentine’s Day. You swoop into our lives once a year and leave behind a trail of half-eaten chocolates and half-met expectations. The pressure hugging Valentine’s Day is kind of like an anaconda, isn’t it? We see it coming, our palms sweating in anticipation, we fix a look of nonchalance on our faces, but with each casual breath, the grip is tightened. Where’s our friendly little cupid now? Take that arrow and shoot this anaconda down!
Doesn’t look like he’s coming.
But fear not, sweet sweet lovers of McMaster University. Three words will release you from the pressure of this looming creature: coffee shop dates. Your wallet is emerging from a stress-coma, and your tummy is preparing itself for a line of freshly baked pastries. No need to worry about opera tickets or dinners that will leave you homeless, sellers of your caffeinated friend are here to save the day.
1) Mulberry Coffee House- 193 James Street North
On the corner of Mulberry and James Street, distressed brick walls protect one of the most beautiful gems as far as coffee shops go. It feels as if you’ve walked into an old home that has been made into a makeshift coffee house to feed the steady stream of artists and musicians meandering through its doors. The first time I ventured in, the cashier was wearing a candy-striper dress and the barista whipping up my cappuccino was whistling the cheeriest tune. Then I looked at the walls and all this crazy art is staring back at me. I had some serious eye contact with an intricately made cardboard lion mask. The selling point for a potential date here is the general volume of the place. Paired with the bumping music and lively, artsy conversations going on, no one will be able to creepily listen in on your romantic whispers. Who eavesdrops nowadays anyway? (Not me…) All in all this coffee shop receives three out of three shots of espresso for its lively energy- and an extra shot of vanilla syrup for the whistling barista.
2) Johnny’s Coffee- 129 Locke Street South
Locke Street is one of the most charming streets in Hamilton. Home to some damn delicious bagels and out-of-this-world burgers, it’s only fitting it has an equally admired coffee shop. Johnny’s Coffee is as quaint as coffee shops can get. It seats roughly 15 people, which adds to its cozy air.
Now although you’re very close to the tables next to you, somehow there is no judgment from the seats next to you. No eavesdroppers allowed. Damn. A little birdy told me that one of the baristas was recruited from Starbucks for his cappuccino mastery. I can believe it. If you’re going out with an intellectual, please note the chess table in the back, and even if he or she doesn’t play, you can impress your date with a hypothetical knack for logic. Maybe guide their hand with the piece as if you’re teaching them how to play golf (so much unnecessary physical contact). Personally, I recommend the almond croissant, which can conveniently be split down the middle. Or, you could be particularly naughty and feed each other (although nearby customers may vomit at the high dose of PDA in the region).
3) My Dog Joe- 1020 King Street West
Ah, My Dog Joe. How could I leave out our closest friend in the heart of Westdale? For those of you who haven’t made your way in, be prepared to meet your new home away from home. As soon as you’re greeted by the scent of freshly baked cookies warming your chilly bodies, you’ll know what I mean. You may eye the goodies tempting you from behind the glass, but don’t worry, it’s unlikely your date will be jealous unless you start giggling with the cookies.
There’s also always a collection of intriguing local art on the walls, which is nice to stare at when the conversation dulls (that won’t happen to you though, don’t worry). Back to the cookies and baked goods – they will mystify you. You and your date may or may not start daydreaming about the things you would do if you could be alone in a room with just you and the muffin collection. Their famous drink is the White Chocolate Raspberry Mocha. So many delicious adjectives in one drink.
If you stick to one of these spots, the magic of Valentine’s Day certainly won’t be sacrificed. Now get out there and enjoy the chance to be obnoxious with PDA, we’re only giving you this one day.