Best Neighborhood Coffee House, South of the Ballpark Phoenix 2008 - Royal Coffee Bar
It's easy to forget about this downtown gem — but every time we remember it's there, we wonder why we don't go more often. True, it's located in a part of town that's usually busy only on game day, but it's worth stepping off the beaten path (by which we mean Roosevelt Row and/or Seventh Street) for a cup from this place. Royal Coffee serves it up just how we like it: fast, friendly, and strong. Like a lot of downtown coffee shops, it also moonlights as an art gallery and hosts special events on First Friday. It's smack dab in the middle of what will (um, probably) someday be the "Jackson Street Entertainment District" and we hope Royal weathers the construction so that when downtown Phoenix becomes the new Mill Avenue, we'll totally have bragging rights to this spot. And so will you, if you follow our advice.