We never get tired of downtown Lakeland. Lake Mirror, Munn Park, a host of restaurants of varying price points. And, of course, the red chairs for getting comfortable outdoors.
So we don’t need our arms twisted to spend time at Black and Brew, the coffee house and bistro across the street from Munn Park (Black and Brew has a fairly new location at the public library branch near Lake Morton, but this time we were at the original downtown location).
Black and Brew has been in operation since 2006. My wife and I have certainly been there many times since living in Polk County. Black and Brew does have a fairly extensive menu that covers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They offer salads, sandwiches, flatbreads, and soups. Black and Brew is popular and gets busy. We’ve been there for dinner a couple of times – both times the food took long enough to prepare that the staff voluntarily offered us discounts for future visits. The food was worth waiting for, just allow plenty of time if you’re there for dinner. It’s worth mentioning that we always enjoy friendly service there.
On this visit, however, we were looking for a coffee shop. The ultra-contemporary interior is spotless and can be a fun place to spend some time. There are also a few tables outside. On this particular beautiful day, we ordered beverages and pastries to go. We sat in Munn Park across the street to enjoy our seasonal hot drinks (this was over the winter holidays). My wife had a peppermint mocha. Being allergic to coffee, I asked for a customized hot chocolate with a shot of peppermint flavor.
A lot of coffee shops seem to have a hard time with hot chocolate. Black and Brew’s is better than average, and with the peppermint this was one of the best local hot chocolates I’ve had. My wife’s peppermint mocha was excellent and not too sweet.
We held on to our pastries to enjoy at home later. The pastry selection changes, but we each had a chocolate salted brownie. These were excellent; dense, chewie and lots of chocolate flavor. The salt was just enough to add a little taste without being the dominant flavor. They were a good size for a snack.
The fact that we enjoyed Black and Brew didn’t surprise us, but it’s always comforting to visit an independent coffee shop that has become such an essential part of downtown Lakeland. With tip, our total was $18. Black and Brew is one of those places you can go to over and over and it’s always a different experience, whether you’re grabbing something to go or spending time with friends. Black and Brew is at East Main Street between Tennessee Avenue and Kentucky Avenue. Enjoy!