It’s a Thursday night as students at the College of William and Mary enter Aromas, the popular coffee shop on Prince George Street. Inside, a 16-year-old guitarist sings his way through the classics of The Beatles and Nirvana as his family and fans look on. The students drop their belongings at an available table and go to order biscotti and coffee at the counter. To a friendly observer, it is certainly a typical Open Mic Night.
“Do you know any Bob Dylan songs?” a student said to the guitarist.
The young guitarist did not know any Bob Dylan songs but began to play The Beatle’s “Across the Universe” instead. The students joined in singing.
But no matter if it is Open Mic Night or an average Monday morning, students can be found stopping by for a cup of espresso before classes or catching up on the latest coffeehouse news from the amiable baristas.
“Aromas is a great place to go on a cold day, or when you just really need a break from studying,” Katie Demeria ’13 said. “It’s even worth the trip when it’s freezing outside. The environment is really calming, and the drinks are amazing. I love to get chai tea from there, and they always play great music, like the ‘Across the Universe’ soundtrack.”
The pastries and drinks are certainly delicious. Throughout the day, patrons can order coffee treats, hot chocolate delights and sweet smoothies with muffins, scones and cakes of their choosing. Menu specials offer breakfast, lunch and dinner entrees.
“The nice thing about Aromas is, well, the lights are never too bright, the room is never too quiet, and the food and coffee are never anything but delicious,” Hillary May ’13 said. “I guess you’d call that atmosphere.”
But Aromas is not complete without the friendly ambiance — the Italian espresso posters, the local artist paintings, even photographs of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall above a stack of menus and newspapers. The business of a Saturday morning or the somber, yet accepting, mood of an Open Mic poetry reading heightens the experience.
“Unattended children will be given an espresso and a free puppy,” Cynthia Arzola ’13 said quoting an amusing sign in the coffee shop.
And so, the friendly observer continues to watch the singing unfold into applause. Poets, pianists and a Star Wars rapper take their turns at the microphone. Finally the Bob Dylan fan approaches the microphone just as a barista calls, “ten minutes until closing.” But even then, the espresso machines can still be heard in the background.