What does one look for in a good coffee house? A quality business offers more than just a good cup of coffee. These coffee shops aren’t your run of the mill cafes but add a little something extra to the mix.
Coffee Shop Breakdown
Cafe du Monde - New Orleans
Since coffee first entered the U.S. through New Orleans, the city has devoted its coffee image to the traditional French style and flair of brewing. Cafe du Monde remains dedicated to simple beauty, only offering their coffees black or au lait. This traditional shop, first opened in the French Market in 1862, is one of the oldest coffee shops in the country still in operation. True to New Orleans unique joie de vivre, Cafe du Monde is consistently enveloped in smooth Cajun trombone and saxophone music. Order a plate of beignets, New Orleans famous pillow soft pastries cloaked in layers of powdered sugar, and sit in the open air market with your group and smile. You won’t be able to help it.
Geeksboro Coffeehouse Cinema - Greensboro, NC
Where some cafes cater to the inner hipster, Greensboro is named for the nerdier side of its patrons. Walk in the door and see Doctor Who’s TARDIS and pop culture memorabilia lining the walls. Pikachu, Princess Peach, and King Joffrey sit atop the bar while comic book superheroes and vintage collectibles decorate the shelves around the tables. Not only does Geeksboro serve excellent coffee, they show movies regularly and host game nights. While you may not be able to get a whole lot of work done, the creative and lively atmosphere will unleash your inner geek. Buy a board game, grab a couple of friends, a cup of coffee or a beer, and play an impromptu game of Monopoly next to a life-size Dalek.
The Vault - Valley City, ND
You won’t find gourmet coffee here, fresh beans ground before your eyes by a chatty barista, but what you will find may surprise you. This cafe is completely and perpetually empty of baristas, run entirely on the honor system. The Vault earned worldwide press because of their unique system and surprising success, finding that their patrons are remarkably honest. Instead of exotic coffees, you can grab a Keurig k-cup, some locally baked goods, or a Blue Bunny ice cream treat and sit down in the beautifully renovated bank. The Vault is a place of community, returning to the idea that coffee connects individuals. So sit back with a brownie and a hot chocolate, participate in the scheduled events, and enjoy.
1369 Coffee House - Boston
Having opened over 20 years ago in what used to be the 1369 Jazz Club, Cambridge’s 1369 Coffee House has been named Boston’s best coffee house. 1369’s menu includes brewed coffees, a variety of espressos, specialty, iced and frozen drinks along with freshly baked cookies and coconut macaroons, homemade soup, and locally sourced cider. They even deliver jugs of cold brewed iced coffee to your doorstep. Beyond the coffee, 1369 is wholly devoted to the idea of community and to bringing people together with their services and products. They boast a reputation for their inviting atmosphere, comfortable seating, and friendly staff that has produced over two decades of regulars. If you are in the Boston area, look in the door and find yourself entranced. You might not want to leave.
Heritage Bicycles General Store - Chicago
Nothing says “unique coffee shop” quite like a man building a bicycle by hand in the back of the cafe. Heritage Bicycles General Store regulars will attest that it is not unusual for someone to come in for a latte and leave with a new hand-crafted bike. The aura of Heritage Bicycles is one of eco-friendliness, community cooperation, and airy gentility. Sunlight streams in through the expansive windows, splashing over the community tables, the beautiful wooden bar, and the street-side tables perfect for working on your laptop or talking to a friend. Ride over on your bike or buy one while you are here trying out their coffee blends expertly brewed in a beaker before your eyes.
Little Freshie - Kansas City, MO
Cradled on a charming, tree-lined street in Kansas City among other lovely shops, boutiques, and residences are the petite soda fountain and espresso bar, Little Freshie. Everything Little Freshie sells is made in-house, meaning they put an expert amount of care and attention into every cup and every scone you buy. Try their decadent macarons, the popular pineapple serrano pepper snow cone or the many varieties of espressos served iced or hot. Little Freshie also sells Boys Grow products, a line made to support inner-city boys with business skills, along with salt water taffy, chocolate, and more. Learn about their brewing process from the talkative, friendly baristas and enjoy a blackberry lavender soda on a hot Kansas City day.
Storyville Coffee Company - Seattle
Where better to get a cup of coffee than the city known for it? Nestled in the heart of Seattle at Pike Place Market, Storyville Coffee Company’s mission is to put the best coffees in the world in front of you. The cafe was expertly designed by firms from four cities and three countries to make sure every patron will be transported in comfort by the plush chairs, wood decor, and large metal fireplace. Storyville’s motto is “Love Everybody,” and they believe that their delicious coffees, homemade baked goods, and atmosphere will help you to ditch your troubles and see the beauty in loving.
A hot cup of coffee, delicately brewed, evokes the feeling of calm and familiarity of home in the middle of a wild and raucous world. Visit a quality, unique coffee shop on your next group trip and regenerate your joie de vivre.