COURTESY OF VERONICA REARDON BAMF cafe shows holiday spirit while displaying a Dalek in the window.
If you like Station North, you’ve probably been to Red Emma’s. It’s a great place, offering an inclusive community space that values intellectual curiosity and offers delicious vegan food. However, if you’re anything like as distractible as I am, you’ve probably also realized that Red Emma’s may not be the best choice for studying.
It has many assets: It attracts people from all walks of life, and its status as an open space for public education makes for great conversation. Yet it can be difficult to work there, even if you have a good set of headphones. As someone who likes to do “exploratory studying,” aka studying in as many different places as possible in an attempt to get yourself excited about schoolwork, I needed a solution.
BAMF Café was an option I explored. It’s only been in Station North for about a year. I only discovered it because a friend who’s a comic buff mentioned it to me.
One of the first things you notice when you walk in the door is all the cutouts of characters. Last time I went, they had Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer up. Luke and R2D2 are always there. The bar they serve coffee from is a really cool looking antique wood, with stained glass behind it reading “TEA” and “COFFEE.” It’s covered in figurines and decorations from comics, movies and TV.
BAMF is also maybe the best-smelling coffee shop I’ve ever entered. This is due to their hazelnut coffee, which fills the entire place with a wonderful smell. The feel is homey and warm, like Saturday morning when you’re little and your parents let you watch cartoons.
There’s a TV behind the bar that plays classics like X-Men cartoons and Scooby Doo, which contributes to the Saturday-morning feel, and the shop has a selection of board games, cards and comics for patrons to enjoy.
Their food is good too! I typically go for the Groot bagel, which is a toasted bagel with cream cheese, sprouts, sriracha and carrots, but they have a whole host of items besides that, mainly different lunch items and snacks. Everything I have tried is tasty, and all of their items are named after characters and the like from cult TV shows and books. Many of their options are vegan or vegetarian as well, for those of you with dietary restrictions. Prices are extremely reasonable — the Groot is under $4, I believe.
Events BAMF hosts have included group viewings of episode premieres of RuPaul’s Drag Race and movie marathons. On May 4, they had Star Wars day, because you can’t be a geek haven without May the Fourth jokes.
They’re on Facebook, so you can check out their page for future events. If you go there to study or just to chill with a comic book, you can look at their chalk board to see what’s up.
What does the acronym stand for, you ask? Shouldn’t this place be, I don’t know, hard core? The answer is no. The owner actually intended BAMF to stand for Books, Action figures, Movies, and Friends. Yes, it’s very sweet.
BAMF is located on North Charles Street, between Lafayette and North Avenue, and is easy to get to. It’s a ten minute bike ride or JHMI ride away. The bike lock out front is a little janky so if you bike, maybe lock up down the street, and make sure you use a U lock. Don’t lock to a sign — people can remove the sign and pull your bike up off the top. You can also walk if you want (I wouldn’t in this weather), about 20 minutes to a half an hour up North Charles Street toward Penn Station.