Whether you go to get juiced before a bar tour or just camp out for conversation, coffeehouses are ideal down-tempo destinations for a TV-less evening. (Laptops are OK, though.)
A few cafes around town are open late enough to serve as post-dinner hangouts. All four of these have wireless Internet access.
Though its kitchen closes at 10:30 p.m., One World Cafe (100 W. University Parkway, 410-235-5777) serves coffee, tea and other drinks 8 a.m.-2 a.m. Mondays-Saturdays. It's open Sundays, too, just not as late: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The walls are deep yellow, and the crowd -- a lot of Johns Hopkins University students and staff -- is friendly. Most good coffeehouses suck you in and keep you there for an hour or two, but One World has some serious pull. It also has a liquor license, which is fantastic.
The Daily Grind (1720 Thames St., 410-558-0399) has some of the same feel but a little more character. Being in Fells Point is a definite plus, because you can nab a chair outside and people-watch. Inside, the place looks European: a scuffed wood floor and coffee-bar countertops, fake plants in window boxes and a lush yard out back (which is off limits, but you can still look). Hours are 7 a.m.-11 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays.
Across the neighborhood, Bluehouse (1407 Fleet St., 410-276-1180) is a sharper, newer, bigger coffeehouse and retail store inside a huge old warehouse. As such, it has big, exposed wood rafters above and some chipped brick walls. Other walls are painted a light blue, which, along with the ambient background music, made relaxing easy. There are a couple of sections of tables and chairs, but Bluehouse's seating arrangement can be tricky. Some couches, however tempting, are for sale only, not sitting, so make sure to look for price placards before plunking yourself down. Most, if not all, of the food and drink are organic, and a good deal of the furniture and decor is eco-friendly.
Bluehouse's hours are 7:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 9 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Saturdays and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays.
If you're not close to downtown, head to The Evergreen (501 W. Coldspring Lane, 410-235-8118). Its hodgepodge of sofas, tables, chairs and booths gives you a big range of seating options.
The Evergreen has four long shelves filled with free books, which makes for an impromptu exchange. Bring an old novel you don't mind parting with and exchange it for something you haven't read. The Evergreen is open 6:30 a.m.-8 p.m. daily.