Spro, a progressive American coffee shop in the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore, is not your typical coffee shop. Every cup of coffee they serve up is made to order, using artisan beans from a variety of roasters along with a multitude of brew methods. I'm a regular — usually on the run with little time for lounging — but over the weekend I threw all my errands out the door and did exactly that in their bright and cheery patio.Housed in an old rowhouse, Spro's interior is simple and un-fancy. It's all about the coffee here and they make sure it takes center stage. One wall houses a reclaimed church pew, the perfect spot to watch the slow-drip glass pyrex contraption. There isn't WiFi here, but you can reach for the latest issue of Barista Magazine if you find yourself bored.
As you make your way through the first floor, through the back room and head out to the patio, it's quite a stark contrast. A brightly painted DIY picnic-style table sits adjacent to the raised garden bed. Modern metal chairs are grounded in the gravel patio and the red-stained fence offers up privacy while blocking the alley views. Five gallon buckets store the spent coffee grounds that are destined for their garden or yours (there are always free grounds for the taking at Spro, great to add nutrients to your compost or certain acid-loving plants like roses and camellia bushes). My favorite is the suspended string of bulbous lights — and since Spro serves late into the evening, you can unwind under their twinkling glow.
This backyard is a perfect example of what a small urban yard can be turned into, without spending a lot of cash. Are there fancier ones out there? Of course! But if you're a DIY'er without a lot of space or money, Spro's patio is a nifty inspiration. If you do decide to stop in for a visit, I highly recommend you try the haupia cappuccino (a cappuccino made using coconut milk). It's hands down my favorite!
For more information on Spro, you can visit their website here.
(Images: Kimberly Watson)