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Best Of 2012

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Best Of :: Shopping & Services

Best Drive-Thru Liquor Store, West Valley

Getting out of the car to pick up a 12-pack of Coors sucks. You have to turn the car off and then walk into the store and, well, it's just a big pain in the behind (that we'd rather be sitting on while drinking). Luckily, someone had the genius idea to sell booze from the window of his store. Family-owned and -operated Henry's Liquor has been around for more than a decade, selling spirits, beer, and wine for much cheaper prices than their drive-thru competitors. The store itself is a little rough around the edges, but the staff is extremely friendly. If you choose to get out of your car, you'll find the the store's interior to be kempt and organized. Henry's has a decent selection of wine, but you're better off sticking to booze.

3439 W. Cactus Rd., Phoenix, 85029
MAP
602-863-0585
Best Shot of Espresso
Press Coffee Roasters

There are three factors that contribute to a good shot of espresso — beans, machine, and barista. If even one of the pieces of that trifecta is off, your shot of espresso can suffer. Luckily, the boys behind Scottsdale Quarter's Press Coffee Roasters have the process down. Created with their bold house-roasted Twitch Espresso Blend and pulled by their talented baristas off their top-of-the-line Synesso espresso machine, the end result is a perfectly balanced earthy shot of espresso with hints of sweet fruit, notes of chocolate, and a slightly smoky finish.A great way to start the day — or make sure it doesn't start too early.

15147 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, 85254
MAP
480-718-9762
Best Coffee Beans
Black Market Espresso

Great coffee starts with high-quality beans, and the folks at Cartel score only the best from Brazil for their impressive Black Market Espresso. The four-bean blend is sourced from a single high-elevation farm in the Sul de Mina region of Brazil, where it goes through its natural pulping process on-site before it is shipped off the farm. Cartel then roasts these beans to perfection, creating a bold-flavored coffee with citrus and chocolate notes and a dash of sweetness.

225 W. University Dr., Tempe, 85281
MAP
480-432-8237
Best Coffee House, Central Phoenix
Carmel's Coffee & Bakery

We were sold on this quaint and cozy coffee shop the second that designer-turned-barista Pat Flanagan opened the doors of his freshly remodeled spot last spring. The warm interior and interesting artwork begs you to take a few minutes out of your day to stay and enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee (beans courtesy of Lux). But Carmel's isn't just a coffee house — it serves a full menu of delicious breakfast and lunch treats. Fresh-baked quiches, scones, and muffins, flaky croissant sandwiches, and even crepes are available. When the weather permits, Carmel's has plenty of patio space to savor your coffee while watching traffic go by on Camelback.

4233 E. Camelback, Phoenix, 85018
MAP
480-626-0020
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455 N. 3rd St., Phoenix, 85004-3924
MAP
602-258-8472
Best Coffee House, Downtown Phoenix
Lola Coffee

All of the sudden, there's a lot of coffee competition on Roosevelt Row. But for us, there's no contest. Fresh house-roasted beans, an in-house bakery, an omelet bar, and a beautiful selection of rotating artwork are just a few reasons why Lola is our go-to downtown coffee shop. Artisan coffee roaster and latte art fanatic Daniel Wayne has created a laid-back atmosphere with a welcoming demeanor — and some of the best whipped cream in town. The espresso-infused whip gives Lola's coffee drinks a sweet and creamy kick. Try the dark chocolate and orange Café Borgia or the coffee shop's almost famous Matador.

1001 N. 3rd Ave., Phoenix, 85003
MAP
602-252-2265
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4400 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 85012
MAP
602-327-1396
Best Coffee House, South Phoenix
Cupz N' Crepes

Crepes and coffee go together like peanut butter and jelly, David Lee Roth and Van Halen, or vodka and Red Bull. Without one, the other is lonely and incomplete. Thankfully, Cupz N' Crepes is keeping the coffee-and-crepe team together at its Paris-inspired shop in Ahwatukee. Dig into a delicate crepe packed full of sweet Nutella and ripe bananas or the savory Veggie Delight, filled with spinach, tomatoes, and goat cheese. The coffee is always fresh and the bold espresso drinks are expertly crafted. A can't-miss breakfast or lunch stop on the south side of town.

4232 E. Chandler Blvd., Ahwatukee, 85048
MAP
480-706-1963
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4030 W. Ray Rd., Chandler, 85226-7254
MAP
480-752-8522
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Best Drive-Thru Liquor Store, West Valley: Henry's Liquors

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